By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
Approximately 6 percent of Baker Arts Center’s funding, in years past, has come from the Kansas Arts Commission. With Kansas budget cuts recently decided upon, Kansas Arts Commission funding is no more.
Executive Director Adriane Hatcher said “…it’s business as usual” with Backyard Blast right around the corner. Dubbed “An All-American Friday Night,” beginning at 4 p.m. June 10, the annual support drive will begin – regardless of state funding.
“This is one of the fundraisers we use to get operational dollars,” Hatcher said. “As far as grants go, they are usually project-specific funding. So, operational dollars are a little harder to come by. Obviously we will not be receiving an operational grant from the Kansas Arts Commission this year.
“Basically, the governor decided he did not want public funding of the arts in Kansas,” she explained. “One thing I have tried to stress is the Kansas Arts Commission funding and assistance was very important to us, but fortunately we have a board and former staff that have been smart enough not to put all the eggs in one basket.”
Hatcher said Backyard Blast serves as a “Thank you” to the community and is intended to be a family night for all involved.
“The Friday, June 10 event is open to everyone and includes an American car display, free children’s art activities from 4 to 6 p.m., a meal at 6 p.m., and the annual meeting of the membership at 6:30 p.m.,” she said. “ An open-mic karaoke beginning at 7 p.m. featuring Stars and Bars Music will begin the entertainment for the evening. Over 12,000 songs will be available for singer selection and performers will be eligible for prize drawings.”
Hatcher said an all-American meal of hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cookies and apple pie will be free to all making an annual contribution. The theme of the evening will also carry over to the grand prize to be won during the evening’s festivities.
“The theme is ‘All American,’ so echoing that theme is the meal,” she said. “Then we will have a donation drawing. It is a trip for four to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. The winner will get eight wrist bands, a two-night stay and also four tickets to a Kansas City Royals game. We will also have some cool American cars on display.”
Hatcher would like to acknowledge the Baker Backyard Blast sponsors: Bank of Beaver City, Best Market, Dillons, Edward Jones- Greg Bird, Gamestop, Great Western Dining, Lee and Teri Harp, Hibbett Sports, KSCB, Liberal Parks and Rec, Liberal Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mitchell Theaters, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Southern Office Supply, Mark and Laura Strange, Subway, Trailers & Trails, Vargas Restaurant and Wal-Mart.
Hatcher also grately appreciates the members of Baker Arts Center. Without them, she said, it would be impossible to keep the arts a priority in Liberal.
“Of course there are the perks that go along with being a member, you get a subscription to the quartly newsletter, discounts to things like the gallery, workshops and things we charge for, personal invitations in the mail to events – those are the perks for an individual or business,” she said. “Then you are doing your part to make sure we keep the arts alive in Liberal.”
Anyone interested in further information regarding obtaining membership or Baker Backyard Blast is encouraged to visit the center’s Web site at www.bakerartscenter.org, call 624-2810 or e-mail