Salina Art Center
The Salina Art Center was founded in 1978 by artists, educators, and community members who envisioned a gallery and education center that would actively engage North-central Kansas residents in art experiences of high quality and intellectual integrity. Housed originally on the Kansas Wesleyan University campus, the Art Center increased its capacity for exhibitions and education programs in 1988–1989, when the Board of Trustees purchased and renovated a larger, more accessible new home in downtown Salina. In 1997, the Art Center Cinema was created one block away from the main facility, and in 2004, a downtown warehouse building was donated for renovation as a live/work space for extended artist residencies and education.
Backstory and Context
The Salina Art Center is has grown from a volunteer-based organization with one part-time employee to a nationally recognized institution offering a comprehensive menu of exhibitions, art education, film, and artist-community interaction.
The Galleries are located in the heart of downtown Salina, at 242 South Santa Fe. This facility houses three flexible and attractive exhibition spaces, a large multi-purpose area and classroom, and the ARTery, a hands-on arts lab for children and their families. Free gallery tours of SAC exhibitions may be scheduled by groups of five or more. Trained docent educators lead discussions that nurture insightful observation, spirited inquiry, and conceptual understanding among participants. Interactive tours are accompanied by guided hands-on art activities based on works or techniques seen in the exhibitions.
Tours for school groups also include resource materials for teachers who wish to build upon the gallery experience to enrich learning in traditional classroom subjects. Preliminary resource information can be emailed upon request, allowing teachers to introduce students to topics that will be discussed during the tour. To encourage deeper thinking about the relevance of concepts presented in the exhibition, teachers who bring their students for a tour receive a list of 6-trait writing exercises that can be integrated with learning in other subjects after the tour. These resources are developed by SAC education staff in accordance with Kansas State Curricular Standards and are designed to help students achieve the following goals:
- active participation/engagement in discussion of ideas and objects presented in the exhibition
- visual communication of personal ideas through the post-tour artmaking activity
- connecting exhibition subjects, themes, and concepts to relevant aspects of their own lives
Administrative and exhibition offices are also found here.
The Cinema is located just a block away from the Galleries. The Art Center Cinema presents a wide range of comedy, drama, and documentary films which are original, imaginative, exciting, thought-provoking, and memorable – movies as a visual art form. This provides area residents the opportunity to see films that frequently are not available at their local multiplex. Selections are made with input by a committee of community members, with a new film each week screened two or three times daily. The Cinema features a 90-seat theatre, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, including Dolby surround sound, and a concession area in the main lobby.
The Warehouse is a quick walk from either the Cinema or the Art Center. The 6000 sq. foot Warehouse serves each year as creative headquarters for three or four residency artists working in a variety of media and disciplines.