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Spring 2012 Meeting in Wichita, Kansas

May 7, 2012

The Central Plains Chapter (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas) of the Art Libraries Society of North America held its Spring meeting in Wichita, Kansas from April 25–27, 2012. Our three members there, from the Wichita Art Museum and Wichita State University, did a wonderful job of organizing and hosting the meeting. We had a gratifyingly large number of attendees, including at least one member from all of our states. It was a good combination of long-time and newer members.

On Thursday the 25th, the group met in the late afternoon to explore a restored historic section of downtown, “Old Town”, and eat our traditional get-reacquainted dinner.

On Friday morning we met at the Ablah Library at of Wichita State. During the Business Meeting we again discussed ways of increasing chapter membership and consented to have a chapter Facebook page created. We also discussed the recent ARLIS/NA conference in Toronto and the chapter’s travel awards. For a change, the next two meetings have already been scheduled or spoken for. The Fall meeting will be held in Lawrence, Kansas from September 27 – 29, and the meeting next Spring will be in Omaha, Nebraska.

The program portion started with a presentation by chapter member Rachel Crane about the project to document and keep up with the outdoor murals and other street art of Wichita. View her website at:

Next, chapter member Ron Michael presented a program on artist Henry Varnum Poor, a well-known early 20th century painter and ceramicist who had ties to Kansas. Ron spoke about Poor’s life and work, and an upcoming exhibit of Poor’s work at the Birger Sandzen museum that he curated.

After lunch at the student center, we returned to the library where we were treated to a slide talk from Dr. Jerry Martin, distinguished anthropologist on the WSU faculty. Dr. Martin has traveled the world collecting artifacts (legally and ethically), and had wonderful stories and incredible photos of his adventures. In particular, two cultures in Papua, New Guinea that until just a few years ago were still headhunters and cannibals proved to be quite challenging.

We then adjourned to the Wichita Art Museum where the group enjoyed viewing the current temporary exhibits, the permanent collection, and of course the library. The last time the chapter met in Wichita, the new wing of the museum was under construction and we had only glimpsed the unfinished library space.

At the group dinner at the end of the day, we had time at leisure to discuss the fine presentations we saw and the various issues brought up in the Business Meeting.

Saturday morning, a smaller group met for breakfast at Rachel’s home before touring more of Wichita or returning home. All felt that this meeting was a very successful combination of strong programming and fun socializing.

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