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The purpose of the Arts Council is to Nurture and Strengthen the Artistic, Cultural, and Educational quality of our Community and surrounding areas.
Feeling the need to increase the importance of the arts in this community, The Arts Council was launched in 1993 as a local grassroots movement. At that time, no one envisioned what is now the Kemp Center for the Arts. The mission of the Arts Council then, and still today, is to nurture and strengthen the artistic, cultural and educational quality of the community.
In 1998, David White challenged the Arts Council to create an art center out of the historic Kemp Library. White also put his money where his mouth was and committed $1 million to help with the renovation. The City of Wichita Falls jumped on the bandwagon by approving the project and leasing the building to the Arts Council for 50 years and provide water and lawn maintenance. With the financial support of several other organizations as well, the renovations were completed and the Kemp Center for the Arts opened in March, 2002.
Since its opening, the beautiful and historic Kemp Center has continued to gain momentum and has become one of the jewels and cornerstones of downtown Wichita Falls. The Kemp is modeled after the Sammons Center for the Arts in Dallas. The two buildings are both 19,200 square feet, and both have historic designations. The Sammons Center was built in 1910 as a pump station for the city of Dallas, and the Kemp was built as a public library in 1917. While the Sammons Center is home only to performing arts groups, the Arts Council expanded on the role of the Kemp to include all the arts disciplines in its planning.
- Ashleigh Palmer-Wynn
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