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.”
Submit ideas for the lightning round here.