Our Town

Lawrence Arts Center

Lawrence , Kansas




Grils behind a camera shooting another girl at a bench in a park.

An experimental filmmaking class, such as pictured above, will be among the planned activities in the Free State Cultural Connection Project. Photo by Marlo Angell

The NEA grant will support the Free State Cultural Connection Project, a series of film and digital media arts activities that will activate the Ninth Street Corridor cultural district in Lawrence. Project activities will build upon the annual Free State Film and Music Festival, expanding festival events to unconventional sites in East Lawrence and to underserved audiences at hospitals, retirement homes, correctional facilities, and public schools in rural counties surrounding Lawrence.

In addition, the project will feature a year-long residency during which digital video and music artist Luke Dubois will collaborate with area artists, musicians, filmmakers, and neighborhood residents in the creation of digital shorts focused on the people and places in East Lawrence. In collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club and Van Go Mobile Arts, the Lawrence Arts Center will also offer digital filmmaking courses for at-risk teens. The resulting works will be screened at the 2014 and 2015 festivals, and projected along the Ninth Street Corridor to animate vacant building facades, alleyways, and sidewalks. East Lawrence is a low-income, working class neighborhood in which 77 percent of the children enrolled in the public school system qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.