Tim Caboni
Office of Public Affairs

KU partners with Lawrence Arts Center for 2014 Free State Festival

Wed, 06/11/2014

LAWRENCE — This June, the Lawrence Arts Center will host headlining musicians, outdoor films, and indoor and outdoor art installations as part of its annual Free State Festival. The event represents a significant partnership between the Lawrence Arts Center and the University of Kansas.

The Free State Festival will be Wednesday, June 25, to Sunday, June 29, throughout downtown and along the 9th Street Corridor in the Lawrence Cultural District. The festival is designed to bring the Lawrence community together in a celebration of art, film, music and ideas. KU joined the Free State Festival planning team this year to co-create the inaugural “Ideas” portion of the festival, featuring a story slam, panels on various topics and a fast-paced lightning round.

As part of the Ideas portion, Kevin Kling, acclaimed storyteller known for his work on National Public Radio, will offer special commentary at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at the arts center, 940 New Hampshire St. KU faculty and staff, as well as community members, will join panels on subjects such as art, water and democracy.

“The Free State Festival represents a significant partnership between the Lawrence Arts Center and the University of Kansas,” said Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU. “We are looking forward to all of the festivities in downtown Lawrence that will showcase and bring together our fine community, and we are equally excited to see KU’s representation in the Ideas panels and lightning round.”

The lightning round, hosted by Caboni, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the arts center. The round will include rapid-fire, eight-minute presentations on various topics. Submissions for the lightning round are still being accepted. The Office of Public Affairs encourages interested Jayhawks to submit a proposal for an eight-minute presentation about their research or KU experiences by Friday, June 13.

The “Film” portion of the festival hosts a selection of documentaries, shorts and featured films, such as “Kings of Summer,” “Stand by Me,” “American Interior” and “Ernest and Celestine.” Films range from children’s fiction to films for older audiences about boyhood journeys and romance. Throughout the weekend, art exhibits will display the innovative workings of national and regional artists, utilizing space, sound, light and image.

Wednesday through Sunday, varying musical selections will fill the streets of downtown Lawrence. Headlining will be the legendary Johnny Winter, who will perform outside the arts center following a screening of his self-titled documentary, “Johnny Winter: Down and Dirty.” The free concert will be at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25.

“The Free State Festival is a time to celebrate the very heart of what makes the community of Lawrence such a unique place — our creative spirit,” said Marlo Angell, the art center's director of new media. “This year, the Lawrence Arts Center has been joined by so many entities, such as the city of Lawrence, the university, media outlets and business sponsors, that the Free State Festival has truly blossomed into a communitywide celebration of our shared experience. Audiences will treasure local artists, be inspired by visitors and share ideas through the connective bridge of enjoying warm days and nights in June.”

For more information about the festival, including how to get VIP passes, a schedule of events, and videos about artists and performers, visit the festival website.

Submit ideas for the lightning round here.

KU in the news
The Daily MailSat, 04/25/2015
CNNMon, 04/13/2015
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here:
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. #KUworks
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.

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