A renovated lumber yard brings live performances to Baldwin City – Kansas City, Missouri



Art Center Holzplatz. // Photo by John Knepper.

Baldwin City isn’t known for live music. That’s strange when you consider that Baker University is based here, with more than 2,500 students. It’s less than a tenth the population of the nearby University of Kansas at Lawrence, but you’ll think there’s an open mic night or something at a local drinking fountain. Unfortunately it isn’t.

“When I first moved here, my first thing was, ‘Oh, I found a place to play in Baldwin,’ and the only place was the worship music group, it’s mine. Not ”, a resident of the city for three years.

She says the salt mine, the only dive bar in town, has just closed. The only talking bars are The Nook, a bookstore, and The Office, a lounge in the lodge of Baldwin City, a big city drug.

Luttrell, Lumber Yard Arts CenterThe renovated Ives-Hartley Lumber Co in downtown Baldwin City. It’s in the building of. As the director of the art center, Jeanette Blackmar, says, this has been working for a few years. After some strategic planning work, the Lumber Yard Arts Center has found ways to diversify, grow, and expand its audience and better serve its mission.

“That started a conversation about our mission and what we do and who we serve,” the Art Center said last year, pointing to the real increase in community interest in more live music. Blackmer went on to say.

“The Lumberyard Arts Center has never done a music or touring group, and it doesn’t focus on that,” says Blackmar. “We use music as a funding mechanism, so we have bluegrass barbecues when we raise funds for the arts center. This program developed by us is a sustainable live music program. I really wanted to make it. It was like the beginning and we wanted to do it very well. “

Thanks to a planning grant from the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Center was able to hire someone to lay the foundation and develop the program during the planning period. That person happens to be Meghan Luttrell. The musician immediately admits, but was very surprised at what that meant.

“They said to me, ‘Oh, we got this scholarship to do a live music program,’” laughs Luttrell. “At the time I did not understand that I was supposed to work as a consultant with the scholarship. I said, “Oh, so I’m going to volunteer. Cool. “And they said,” No, no, I’m going to hire you as a real adult to help you with this. “This plan grant funds me to become a program developer to help me realize my dreams of live music. That’s what they said: “I’ll just do what you’ve always wanted to do.” And now I can. “

The plan is dictated by Luttrell’s knowledge of the local music scene (a variety of open mics for several years and a monthly women’s music showcase at Lawrence’s Kaw Valley Public House) as well as feedback from the Baldwin City community. I’m going. The Lumberyard Arts Center and Luttrell have put together two separate studies.

One is a general community survey to understand the genres of music people like, the types of events people are interested in, their concerns, how often they attend, and why they don’t attend if they choose not to attend . That was it. To.

“The only concern people really had was COVID-19. This is of course also very important to us, ”says Luttrell. “But everyone was overwhelmingly excited and positive. I’m really excited, “I’m very excited that this is coming to Baldwin! “

Megan Rutrell. // Photo by John Knepper

Luttrell conducted a second survey specifically for musicians. She wants the arts center to be more than just a live performance center, but one that supports the growth of amateur and professional musicians. The survey asked what kind of music they played, whether they would play at the center or run a workshop, and where they needed the most help in terms of development.

“Of course we have a Folk Alliance, but not everyone can participate,” explains Luttrell on the development side. “Maybe it’s a copyright workshop for the original music because it’s complicated to navigate and it’s a way of doing a streaming service or a songwriting workshop. I want to do a music career panel. That’s it. “

Given that the Lumberyard Arts Center has been in existence for over 20 years, Luttrell has confirmed that live music initiatives are tied to other programs in the center’s program. “Of course I don’t want to escape what’s already happening there,” says Luttrell. They plan to combine the program with the 3rd Friday Art Walk. We can also provide music for the event. That way, it’s one event of one another, rather than reverse programming against it.

“We just make sure we plan events that are already planned so we don’t compete or get distracted,” says Luttrelll. “We are considering doing some workshops as a class offered by the Art Center. We are currently working on that. We came up with a format and said, “The actual course that people sign up for. Will it or will it be another workshop? “

Luttrell plans to collaborate with others in the community on their live music program. They want to partner with Baldwin City Dance and Voice Academy to play live music in dance classes where people can learn salsa while playing a live salsa band.

“We don’t have anything to compete, we work within the community and we work with people,” says Luttrell. “We just don’t want to come here and pop things. Live music and that’s all! ” It’s an art center and music is the only art. “

Although the mask requirement has been weakened and vaccinated people can now mix sand masks, some people find it uncomfortable to walk in. Fortunately, Baldwin City recently built Sullivan Square, an outdoor space that is right next to the Lumber Yard Arts Center. There is a covered stage and an area for blankets and folding chairs.

Blackmer explains that the ultimate vision of the Lumber Yard Arts Center is to form a public-private partnership. She envisions a partnership between Sullivan Square and the Art Center. Partnerships turn it into a complex of creative arts. Design it in a way that ties in with the story outside the Ives Hartley Building, home of the Art Center.

“Sullivan Square is named after Lucy Sweet Sullivan, Baldwin City’s first female mayor,” explains Blackmar. “In 1889 she was mayor. There was a house there, it was a meeting place for cities and clothes. It brought Baker students into the community and they had parties, music, and events. So here we are fully aware that in 2021, especially for live music events, we will be returning to Sullivan Square, the hub of community activity. It’s really exciting. “

The plan for the Art Center’s live music program is to feature in as many genres as possible. Not only is it known as Folk Americana, but there are artists in the community, Baker University, and the surrounding area.

From Johnny Cash Karaoke after the screening Walk the line To play jazz under the starry sky, the sky is the limit from a design point of view. Thanks to a second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kansas Creative Arts Industry, the Art Center and Baldwin City worked together to fund the performance, and Luttrell is looking to book more acts in the coming weeks. is.

“It’s for the Baldwin people, but we want to bring them to Baldwin and start the local economy,” says Luttrell. “There aren’t many tourists other than the Big Maple Leaf Festival, so we want to help make Baldwin an art destination.”

“We would like to offer advertising, support and awareness to new artists who are just starting out,” says Balckmar in support of Luttrell. “The hope is to show local talent, and who knows? Maybe they were found here and started their beginnings at the Lumber Yard Arts Center. “

A renovated lumber yard brings live performances to Baldwin City Source link A renovated lumber yard brings live performances to Baldwin City



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