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.
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.
The Kemp serves as a “place we can call home” to over forty different area arts organizations, offering meeting places, exhibition venues and providing organizational support, such as utilizing the mailing and copying facilities. Groups can also request assistance from the Kemp’s professional staff for guidance and counsel for their organizations.
Kemp activities include film series; classes such as art appreciation, ballet conditioning, ballroom dancing, cooking, drawing, oil and watercolor painting for all three galleries display works of local artists and collections of local citizens, which rotate regularly. The Great Hall hosts concerts, wine tastings and more.
If you would like to learn more about The Kemp, go to their website www.kempcenter.org.