Area artists, enthusiasts to brainstorm ideas on enhancing quality of life through the arts

Capitalizing on peninsula's finer points

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2001

Anyone with a creative mind, eye, hand, voice or soul and anyone who simply likes to appreciate art is invited to a first-of-its-kind arts summit meeting Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

The informal organizational meeting is open to anyone with a professional or recreational interest in art. According to Mike Morgan, the president of the Kenai River Council on the Arts, the purpose of the gathering is to bring together the artists and cultural organizations of the Kenai Peninsula for an exchange of ideas regarding the educational, economic and aesthetic impact of the arts in peninsula communities. The goal is to strengthen the ties between art enthusiasts, establish new ties and to establish a peninsula-wide network to enhance the quality of life on the Kenai Peninsula by promoting the arts through education, exhibition and performance.

Meeting organizers hope to do this through small group brainstorming and round-table discussions about the topics of the arts and tourism, the arts and education, and the arts and the economy.

Another goal of the meeting is to gather information to create an arts directory for the Kenai Peninsula.

"We've got some very well-established organizations on the peninsula," said Kathy Tarr, the executive director of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center and a board member of the Kenai River Council on the Arts. "We want to create some kind of directory so that, for example, if we want to know who all the potters on the peninsula are or who all the painters are, that kind of information would be available in an arts directory."

One of the main reasons for the meeting is to discuss the possibility of building a center for the arts and humanities on the peninsula that would also focus on arts education, workshops and performance venues, Tarr said. Meeting participants will be asked to give their opinions on this proposal and on what needs they see in the arts community.

"(The proposed arts center) is such a new idea that I want to be careful that I don't label it in any one part or way or give anybody a preconceived notion of what we're doing because that's what we want them to give input on," Tarr said. "It's a grass-roots dialogue. If it was any more grass-roots than it is we'd be in the dirt, so to speak. "

The meeting will begin with coffee and pastries at 9:30 a.m. The introduction and opening remarks will be given at 10 a.m. A discussion of the proposed arts center will be held from 10:30 to noon. Participants are asked to bring a brown bag lunch to eat during the noon to 12:30 p.m. time slot.

A round-table discussion titled "The Arts: Education and Commerce on the Kenai" will commence at 12:30 p.m. Small group brainstorming sessions and discussions will be held at 1:30 p.m. and the meeting summary and wrap-up session will happen at 2:30 p.m.

"I think it's going to be a really good meeting with lots of discussion," Tarr said. "We have a wide assortment of people: musicians, Kenai performers, arts teachers, artists -- anyone affiliated with an arts organization, even if they just consider themselves a patron of the arts, should come to the meeting."

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