A recent PBS "News Hour" story highlights the role Wichita State University plays in the arts community of Wichita.
Among the Wichita State connections featured are Kristin Beal, a lecturer in the Masters of Arts Administration program for the WSU College of Fine Arts and special projects manager for Strategic Communications; and Mina Estrada a lecturer for the dance department. Dr. Timothy Jones, assistant professor of violin, is shown performing for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.
For Music Theatre Wichita, assistant professor of musical theatre Richard Biever, and student Sophia Hillman are pictured during rehearsals.
“Wichita State has a hand in almost every arts entity in the Wichita metropolitan area, from the symphony to the art museum,” said Dr. Rodney Miller, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “For example, 90% of the members of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra are students, faculty, staff, or alumni from the WSU College of Fine Arts. Our fine arts alumni saturate the school districts, our faculty are involved in every aspect of the visual and performing arts in Wichita. In a very real sense, we are the arts in Wichita.”
The PBS segment documented how Wichita’s arts community is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes interviews with Music Theatre Wichita artistic director Brian Marcum; Don Reinhold, chief executive officer for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra; Holly Mulcahy, partner for audience engagement for the orchestra, Beal and Estrada.
Thirteen members of Wichita State’s faculty and six graduate assistants perform in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. The Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras rehearse weekly during the school year at Wichita State and is conducted by faculty and alums.
In 2021, Wichita State’s Center for Economic Development and Research, part of the W. Frank Barton School of Business, published a Arts and Culture Impact Analysis
It found that the total employment impact of arts and culture was 351 jobs in 2020. The impact of the arts community also includes 590 volunteer events, 7,394 volunteer hours and an attendance of 57,000 people at events.
"The arts culture is ingrained in this community and in some ways people don't recognize," said Jeremy Hill, director of the CEDBR. "They create amenities that we don't see, but improve our quality of life."