Margaret Weisbrod Morris‘s background in arts education and art therapy makes her an eloquent advocate for the arts. She relishes her work as Chief Executive Director of the Lawrence Arts Center.. She and her staff strive daily to bring joy to residents of Douglas County and beyond.
Morris explains that the arts sustain the infrastructure of culture, preserve democracy, and record who we are. Involvement in the arts correlates to improved school success, employability, and civic engagement. The arts have an impact on health and wellness and build the trust and empathy that can bring people together.
In addition, the economic impact of the arts is substantial. The arts make up 4.3% of the U.S. economy and employ 2.04% of the workforce. In Douglas County, the impact is proportionately even higher. A dollar spent on the arts in Lawrence has an impact of $24.25. Arts generate $1.25 million in local revenue.
The Lawrence Arts Center has been able to avoid staff and programming cuts during COVID because of a particular benefactor. As a result, it has continued to deliver activities and performances that sustain community well-being. In addition, Morris notes, the organization has found it needed to be creative in a whole new sense, re-inventing its delivery systems to include online tools and devising strategies to become accessible to distant and wider audiences. Innovative programs include Kitty City and a youth theater production of “The Big One-Oh” in a video-on-demand format.