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Head Of Kansas City's Public Art Program Leaves For Lawrence

Porter Arneill, public arts administrator and director of the Municipal Art Commission. He's accepted a new position as director of arts and culture in Lawrence.

Porter Arneill, public art administrator for Kansas City, Missouri, and director of theMunicipal Art Commission since 2002, is leaving for a new position in Lawrence, Kansas, where he'll be director of arts and culture. His last day on the job in Kansas City is April 22. 

"The past 13 years with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, have been tremendously rewarding for me and it's clear the city is moving in a good direction, particularly through the realms of art, craft, design and culture!" Arneill wrote in an email.

A native of St. Louis, Arneill trained as a sculptor and earned his master's degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. But in the 1990s, he turned to arts administration. 

Arneill moved to Kansas City from St. Louis, where he'd served as the curator of education at Laumeier Sculpture Park and as director of public art and education at the Regional Arts Commission. 

An article in the Kansas City Star described Arneill's approach: "Arneill has built a reputation for competence and straight talk.... He’s also known for his equanimity in negotiating egos, politics, money and issues of taste and public safety."

These qualities will come in handy in Lawrence. In December, the first director of arts and culture left after only three months. In this position, Arneill will be in charge of creating a new citywide cultural plan, as well as coordinating the city's role in a controversial ArtPlace grantfor East 9th Street, among other duties. 

Arneill begins work in Lawrence in early May.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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