90 Years of Art – Wichita Center for the Arts (2010 Exhibit)
Wichita turned fifty years old in 1920. The city of almost 100,000 people had supported an intimate local arts community including artists, connoisseurs, and students. Many of these citizens felt that the time had come to create a larger organization dedicated to bringing the visual arts to Wichitans in a formal and concerted manner. Through their efforts the Wichita Art Association was established.
The concept of bettering the community through art was part of a broad progressive movement that included among its ideas the promotion of public parks, health programs, and transportation systems. This new approach altered previously limited access to the arts. In the first decades of the 20th century, art itself constituted the primary medium; the arrival of new virtual mediums such as radio and television were still pending.
Public access to art has expanded unbelievably in the past ninety years. What has not changed is the knowledge that success in developing a superior community with a high standard of living requires the deliberate cultivation of the arts.