These are a few snapshots of the past year at the Salina Art Center: a year filled with images, voices, emotions, reflections, changes, challenges, and successes. And—as it is at every year end—we take stock in what has happened and what we have learned from the experiences made possible through the Art Center’s exhibi- tion, film, education, and artist programs.
We learned that artists love the new Warehouse with its spacious studio area and efficient apartment and find it extremely difficult to leave Salina when their residency is over. We learned that the majority of people who participated in Robert Bubp’s workshops would like to see more growth, development and improvement in the north part of our community. We learned that hot chocolate is very popular and adds to a family evening of storytelling, even on an unusually warm winter night. We learned that abstract art is experiencing a rebirth and that video artwork focusing on individuals in a minimalist environment is visually compelling. We were reminded about how creative and insightful children are and that Art Center Cinema films are terrific vehicles for generating conversations about important issues of our time. We learned that a generous group of donors, a dedicated board of trustees, a supportive corps of volunteers, and a committed, passionate, determined staff can provide meaningful, memorable, and thought provoking experiences inspired by contemporary art during a year of transition.
I wish to thank the staff, board, and volunteers for moving the Art Center’s mission forward while we searched for the next visionary leader of the Salina Art Center. Finally, I am grateful for board president Sydney Soderberg whose never-ending optimism, can-do attitude, and organizational expertise brought strength and confidence to us all during this year of change.
Interim Director Salina Art Center
FROM THE DIRECTOR
I am elated and humbled by the opportunity to contribute to my first Annual Report as the Salina Art Center’s Executive Director and Curator. As I read the draft content for this report, I am amazed by the impressive quality of programs the Art Center offered to the community of Salina over the course of the past year. And, let us not forget, the Art Center was able to provide these important art experi- ences and maintain its position as a leading cultural institution without a director, which illustrates the steadfast commitment and perseverance of its professional staff, volunteers, and board of trustees. Hence, I feel it is appropriate to take this moment to extend my gratitude to these individuals for meeting the demands of a challenging year, and for making my transition into this leadership position smooth and streamlined. I look forward to closely working with all of you for many years to come.
Since I am unable to provide credible details or poignant reflections on the Art Center’s noteworthy offerings in 2008-09, I offer you an abbreviated interview I conducted with Salina Journal reporter Gary Demuth on my fifth day as Director. The following, I hope, will provide a window into my experience, passion, and optimism for leading the Salina Art Center toward a promising future.
AND Q A
with Christopher Cook
Gary Demuth: What do you see as the mission of the Salina Art Center?
Christopher Cook: The Art Center creates a lot of freedom as far as the types of programs it can explore in contemporary art. I not only want the art center to be able to sustain the success it’s already achieved, but to be able to amplify that success by increasing the number and caliber of exhibits organized here. I have what I believe to be two tangible goals: I’d like to increase the visibility and caliber of artists that participate in the residency program, and I’d like to continue the community’s participation in the arts.