Fine Art in Greensburg
By State of the Re:Union
While Greensburg, Kansas, is rebuilding as a green community, it is also constructing new cultural cornerstones. The 5.4.7 Arts Center is a nonprofit organization that is fascinating in both look and mission. They are another important and quiet exciting piece in Greensburg’s rebirth and were kind enough to answer some questions:
SOTRU: What is the mission of the 5.4.7 Arts Center?
5.4.7: The Mission of the 5.4.7 Arts Center is to provide opportunities in the arts to our community through classes, exhibitions, and performances.
SOTRU: When was it started and what was the inspiration?
5.4.7: The 5.4.7 Arts Center opened on May 4th, 2008 on the 1st anniversary of the tornado. The inspiration of this project came from Stacy Barnes and other community members. The building was designed and built by KU’s Studio 804 student architecture group.
SOTRU: How important is access to fine art for a community?
5.4.7: It is very important for us to provide opportunities in the arts not only to our community but also to this region. The arts provide quality of life and enrichment via performances, classes, exhibits and other events. The arts are also an economic driver, for every $1 invested in the arts, $9 are generated for the economy in Kansas.
SOTRU: Would most people outside Greensburg be surprised by the support of fine arts in the area?
5.4.7: Yes, this is something we hear repeatedly. Many people that visit us are surprised and impressed that we have an arts center.
SOTRU: How do the arts tie in to the community’s rebirth after the devastating tornado?
5.4.7: I feel that the arts are very important in our rebirth following the tornado. The arts center provides a place for people to view beautiful artwork, take a class for a creative outlet, come to hear a concert, or watch a movie on the lawn during the summer. The arts center also is working to provide more opportunities in the arts for the kids in our community. Currently, the K-8 students do not have art in the schools and we are trying to fill that gap.
SOTRU: What exactly can someone do when they go to the 5.4.7 Arts Center?
5.4.7: Visitors to the arts center can get a tour of the LEED Platinum facility, view the current gallery exhibit, and see our collection of Larry Schwarm’s photographs of Greensburg following the tornado. Depending on the timing of their visit, they might be able to take a class or see a performance.
5.4.7: The building was designed and built by 22 graduate architecture students of the University of Kansas’ Studio 804 program. The students came up with the concept and design for the building, but it was our idea for it to be an arts center. I really feel that the architecture of the building goes hand in hand with the purpose it serves. The building itself is a work of art and beautiful to look at. It draws you in and then our programs keep you coming back. Studio 804 designed this to be a multi-use facility. It has been used for classes, exhibits, performances, parties, meetings, luncheons, and more. It is truly a community space.
SOTRU: Where do you see Greensburg in 5 years?
5.4.7: Many people ask me when we’ll be ‘done.’ My answer is always, “what does done mean?” I think we’ll always be changing and working for the future. In 5 years I see us as being a thriving rural community, with new state of the art sustainable buildings, a great place to live, and a wonderful place to come visit.
SOTRU: How can people find out more information and how they can help the 5.4.7 Arts Center?
5.4.7: For more information, please visit our website at www.547artscenter.org, or contact me at the info below. To help the arts center, we can accept donations via paypal on our website or by contact us. We are a nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible.
Contact Director Stacy Barnes at:
5.4.7 Arts Center
204 W. Wisconsin
Greensburg, KS 67054