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Art in the Park: A unique partnership benefits Kansas parks
The Kansas Recreation and Park Association went a unique route in finding an interested partner with a statewide reach to help promote the benefits of local and state parks throughout the state—a partnership with the Kansas Lottery and renowned landscape artist Louis Copt. The end result was the creation of a statewide scratch-off game called “Art in the Park.” Scheduled to launch in May, the lottery cards will feature colorful scenes from parks in all parts of the state. Participating Kansans will be reminded in impressive fashion over a seven-month period of the variety of opportunities available to them by visiting a nearby park.
Executive Director Doug Vance, working on behalf of the KRPA Board of Directors, approached the Kansas Lottery in last July to explore a partnership that would entail the development of a state-wide scratch-off game focusing on local and state parks.
“Our objective was to work with the Kansas Lottery in creating a game which would both promote our parks in an effective manner and help generate some added revenue for KRPA,” Vance says. “The opportunity to work with the Kansas Lottery helped us achieve both goals, but the end result is actually better than we anticipated.”
Dennis Wilson, new executive director of the Kansas Lottery, embraced the concept originally approved by his predecessor. Wilson indicated that working to promote an organization like KRPA was a good fit in the Kansas Lottery’s philosophy of helping to support industries that also enhance tourism and promote healthy lifestyles.
To finalize the concept, however, the challenge for Vance and KRPA was identifying appropriate prizes for the winning drawings from the scratch-off cards.
Copt, an award-winning landscape artist from Lawrence who had recently been honored as the Kansas artist of the year, was interested in doing a project with the Kansas Lottery. The state organization had recently worked with another group of artists in developing the Kansas 150 game to celebrate the state’s 150-year anniversary and Copt was eager to lend his talents to a future Kansas Lottery project. After discussing the options, the Kansas Lottery, KRPA, and Copt agreed to develop a series of four landscape paintings of Kansas parks serving as grand prizes for the game. In addition, the paintings would also be used as the artwork for the scratch-off game cards.
It was determined that one park from each of three geographic regions in the state–east, central, and west–should be represented. In addition, one “wild card” selection from any of the three regions would also be used as the fourth painting. Vance received a wide variety of park landscape photos from KRPA members which he turned over to Copt, who made the final selections. Copt then traveled to various park locations and took pictures of what he wanted to use as the models for the paintings. The experience helped reinforce his love of Kansas parks.
“I was excited to be a part of this project,” explains Copt. “As a native Kansan, an artist, and photographer, I’ve traveled the state and have an understanding of the importance of parks and opportunities they offer for everyone. It was obvious that both park visitors and those who maintain them take a lot of pride in their parks.
“Even with the budget cuts faced in communities, it’s important that we continue to preserve our green spaces,” Copt adds. “It’s one of the more important uses of our tax dollars.”