ArtsConnect helps create positive change in communities through the arts

Community

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Topeka organization is using art to inspire people to make positive changes.

If you drive around Topeka, you’ll find several murals. The group behind it is an organization called ArtsConnect.

“We are responsible for representing the arts of all disciplines and types here in Topeka,” said Executive Director Sarah Fizell.

They work to promote the arts through projects like the Topeka Mural Project, in which they partner with the Topeka Police Department and other community organizations.

The project’s goal is to help cut down on property crime and building community pride by turning something not so pretty into something beautiful.

“All those things can be addressed really successfully through art,” said Fizell.

They invite community members to come out and help paint murals around town.

Officer Joe Perry with the Topeka Police Department is a member of the ArtsConnect board and helped get the project started.

“If you bring something to a neighborhood that people want to look at that they want to see and be a part of like a mural, they can have a little bit of ownership in that,” said Perry. “They want to protect it and then as the mural is painted with the blood sweat and tears of everybody in the community, then people want to improve their neighborhoods.”

Perry said the project is also a way to build connections between the police department and community members.

“We’re no longer that guy in the blue uniform that is out to get me or give me a speeding ticket next time they see me,” Perry said. “It makes us human. We have that connection.”

For ArtsConnect that’s what it’s all about — creating positive change through art.

“The arts also have that power to bring people together and build that consensus and to help people understand each other.”

ArtsConnect will also be hosting the grand opening of their new location at 909 N. Kansas Ave. in Topeka’s NOTO District Friday, March 6 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. It’s open to the public to attend.

For more information about ArtsConnect, click HERE.

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