Members of Lawrence Central Rotary gathered with spouses, children, and other guests at S&S Artisan Pub and Coffeehouse to celebrate the club’s birthday. Established in March 2003, the club currently has 38 members.
President Audrey Coleman presented the Becky Castro Award for Community Service to Kate Campbell during the program.
KU’s Max Kade Center is one of a number across the United States. Located in the former Sudler House in the northwest corner of the KU campus, the historic stone building features turrets outside, walnut paneling in the interior, and a secret room in the basement. The building is now owned by the German Department,
The original purpose of all Max Kade centers was to foster the study of German-speaking immigrants from Europe and their contributions to America. In recent years, the scope has widened to include the study of the influence of Germans in America more broadly and the impact that their presence had.
The Max Kade Center at KU flourishes through collaboration. The German Department promotes teaching, research, and programs about migration from German-speaking Europe to American. It supports KU international inititiaves for exchange and engagement.
There is also a close working relationship with Spencer Research Library on campus and its archives. Although there are many books at the Max Kade Center, it is not a library. Books are transferred to the Spencer where they can be catalogued and preserved.
The German Department and the Center also collaborate with the Watkins Museum of History. In 2017, they lent artifacts and expertise to create an exhibit and related events about the Turnverein association in Lawrence and the Turnhalle that they built in east Lawrence.
In another collaborative effort, Watkins Museum Director Steve Nowak is teaching a class in museum collections management in the Max Kade Center space. The students in the course are creating a structure for the collections in the Max Kade Center, labeling shelves, and developing a risk management plan.
Margaret Weisbrod Morris, Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Arts Center presented the Culture Track 2017 report. Culture Track was launched in 2001 as a longitudinal study of cultural habits in the United States. After September 2011, researchers observed the dramatic impact the event had on American culture. The study is used to help institutions know how to position themselves to best reach and engage with their target audiences.
Weisbrod Morris explained that the study was originally only conducted every seven years. However, technology changes have speed up cultural change. The survey was updated to being conducted every four years and is now conducted annually.
“I’m sharing it because it contains some of the foundational thinking we use at the Arts Center for how we serve the community and what we consider.” said Weisbrod Morris. “It also shows why the arts are so critical during times of political upheaval.”
The 2017 survey collected data from 4,035 respondents representing the demographic makeup of the United States. At the same time, 2017 responses were heavily collected from residents of the Midwest and South. Weisbrod Morris explained that with changes in cost of living, “cultural consumption is becoming more concentrated” in these areas.
“Technology has radically shifted our whole paradigm on what we think of as culture. It has democratized what is considered to be ‘culture.'” While the definition of “culture” may be in flux, Weisbrod Morris argued that “its value has never been greater.”
In comparison to 2014, which Weisbrod Morris explains as a time of cultural consumers being “locusts,” gobbling up any opportunity available to them, we are now “experience omnivores.” This change in expectation and purpose challenges organizations to plan in a different way to engage with old and new audiences.
Organizations typically follow one of two approaches: Singular focus or Portfolio approach. The Lawrence Arts Center follows the portfolio approach, keeping their interests and opportunities broad. “At our core we are a community space with arts as our means.”
With all the factors the Lawrence Arts Center considers when determining programming and exhibits, a key element is evaluating the “mood” that the opportunity will inspire.
Stan Hernly, with Hernly Associates, joked that people don’t always understand historic preservation projects when the end results ends up looking “a lot like it did when you started. People get confused and wonder, ‘what the heck did you spend $2.5 million on!’.”
The recent renovation of Lawrence’s Santa Fe Station is a triumph in partnerships given the number of local, state, and federal partners and funders involved.
Hernly reviewed the structure, explaining what elements were replaced or restored in order to meet historic preservation requirements, energy efficiency needs, and ADA compliance, among other considerations. One unique aspect of the project was that the building was occupied during the entire construction process.
The Kansas Department of Transportation was heavily involved in the project, providing 80 percent of the funding. Hernly shared that they were great partners, even while they are “used to working on roads, not buildings.” Because of funding, the project required using all American-made supplies.
In addition to interior improvements, the project also involved several exterior changes, such as replacing the previous sidewalk with a new 10 foot wide sidewalk. Efforts are being made to tie this sidewalk into the shared-use path in Lawrence.
The building will now be listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. While it will continue to serve as the Amtrak station, the City of Lawrence is also considering secondary uses for the building.
Megan Luttrell, Human Trafficking Program Coordinator for The Willow Domestic Violence Center knows what it takes to serve and advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations. Prior to joining Willow Domestic Violence Center she worked in a substance abuse treatment center in Topeka.
Luttrell works with human trafficking advocates serving Jefferson, Franklin, and Douglas counties. She explained that human trafficking is a significant problem within Lawrence and the surrounding area. While the Lawrence Police Department is fully on board to partner in addressing the issue, Luttrell said they simply don’t have the capacity “Sting operations are needed, which would take time and energy away from community policing.”
Luttrell explained that human trafficking occurs anywhere there is a vulnerable population. More often than not, trafficking occurs within intimate partner relationships, with individuals being trafficked by their partner or someone they trust.
“Victims will often think they are going crazy. The perpetrator has gaslighted them.”
Of all forms of human trafficking, sexual acts are the most common, with individuals being groomed. “Everything is great in the beginning. They get hep with rent and child care. Food and clothing is given.” Luttrell explained that often these vulnerable individuals are recruited by women called Bottom Girls, who have often been trafficked themselves.
Across America, 83% of all victims of sex trafficking are US citizens. Of that, 50% of trafficking victims are boys.
Luttrell said the profile of a trafficker can be anyone who is in touch with vulnerable populations: pastors, teachers, social workers, foster care families.
During 2018, The Willow served 72 survivors of human trafficking. Luttrell looks forward to strengthening her relationship and providing education for are hospitals and other agencies to help professionals understand and spot the warning signs of trafficking.