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Our Story

2000- 2011

In March 2000 Tish Rogers, Director of the Manhattan Arts Center, and Lorne Render, Director of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art,  invited a group of ten cultural organizations from the Manhattan area to meet and discuss forming an organization to promote mutual interests.  By July 2000 twenty organizations had joined the discussion    The Arts and Humanities Association of Manhattan (AHA! Manhattan) was formally founded as the Manhattan Area Arts and Humanities Coalition (MAAHC) in 2002 with the following mission:

The Manhattan Area Arts and Humanities Coalition is a forum to exchange ideas and information amongst its members and to create a greater awareness of the arts and humanities in the community.

The first officers of the organization were:  Lorne Render, Beach Museum of Art, President; Scott Shoemaker, Sunset Zoo, Vice President; Deborah Minner, Urban Designs, Secretary; Barbara Nelson, Strecker Nelson Art Gallery, Treasurer. 

In 2009 the name of the organization was changed to the Arts and Humanities Association of Manhattan(AHA! Manhattan) and the group adopted the mission statement:

Creating community connections through the arts, humanities, and our natural world. 

AHA! Manhattanhas generally met eleven times a year since organizing and communicates through an e-mail list serve.  Membership was open to all arts, humanities, and natural history organizations (museums, zoos, gardens, libraries, galleries, bookstores, music groups, etc.) and the associate groups who support the mission of AHA! Manhattan.  Members were required to be located within a thirty mile radius of Manhattan, Kansas.

Organizations participating in 2002 were:

Claflin Books and Copies
Columbian Artists
Columbian Theatre
Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale
Kansas State University Department of Art
Kansas State University Department of Dance
Kansas State University Gardens
Kansas State University Historic Costume and Textiles Museum
Kansas State University Department of Music
Kansas State University Department of Theatre
Manhattan Arts Center
Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Manhattan Mercury
Manhattan Public Library
Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art
McCain Auditorium
Riley County Historical Museum
Side by Side Theatre and Music
Strecker - Nelson Gallery
Sunset Zoo
UFM Community Learning Center
United States Cavalry Museum
Urban Designs
U.S.D. # 383
Varney’s Book Store
Wolf House Museum

Additional members added 2003 - 2010:

Alteca
Bates Dance Studio
Country Stampede
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Flint Hills Opera, Inc.
Junction City Arts
Kansas State University Department of Architecture
Kansas State University Department of English
K-State Libraries                                     
K-State Student Union
Manhattan Area Weavers and Spinners
Manhattan Arts Center Watercolor Studio
Manhattan Music Coalition
Manhattan Parks and Recreation
Manhattan Broadcasting
Movies on the Grass
The Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave (disbanded 2010)
Washington Dance Studio

Notable activities and programs of AHA! 2001 - Present include:
A panel exhibit of member organizations which traveled the community 2001- 2009, funded by a $5,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Month activities; cooperative advertising programs; KMAN radio arts calendar beginning in 2003 with sponsors M&S Plumbing and Yorgensen –Meloan -Londeen Funeral Home; participation in City Arts Magazine sponsored by the Manhattan Arts Center; development of an award winning brochure through a grant from the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau and through a grant from Realty Executives; development (and re-development) of a web site; participation in the Kansas Sampler Festival; participation in National Tourism Week; organized Arts and Humanities month recognition with the City of Manhattan; assisted with surveys and discussions concerning arts, education, and leisure needs of the community; 2005 Manhattan Chamber of Commerce May Business After Hours sponsor; offered cooperative discount card to member organizations; supported Newspapers in the Classroom project 2006; advertised with Flint Hills Tourism Visitors Guide; participated in strategic planning facilitated by Llewellyn Crain, Executive Director of the Kansas Arts Commission 2008, 2009; developed idea for a Manhattan Cultural Commission which led to the 2011 Manhattan Arts and Humanities Advisory Board; development of a facebook page; development of promotional banners; and advocacy for arts and humanities through editorials and individual communication; 2013 addition of specialty workgroups; 2013 regularly scheduled guest speakers, including: Jim Sherow and Tom Phillips; 2013 Addition of an intern who assisted with statistical analysis and created promotional videos; 2014 Regular representation and attendace at Arts Advisory Council meetings.

OFFICERS 2002- 2016

President:
2002, 2003: Lorne Render, Beach Museum of Art
2004, 2005: Scott Shoemaker, Sunset Zoo
2006, 2007: Thom Jackson, McCain Auditorium
2008:  Karen McCulloh, K-State Libraries
2009, 2010:  Cheryl Collins, Riley Co. Historical Museum
2011: Nora Lewis, Kansas State University Department of Music
2012: Penny Senften, Manhattan Arts Center
2013: Richard Prudenti, Mariana Kistler Beach Museum of Art
2014: Beth Bailey, K-State Student Union
2015: Kayla Oney Savage, UFM Community Learning Center
2016: Danielle Schapaugh, Manhattan Public Library

Vice President:
2002,2003:  Scott Shoemaker, Sunset Zoo
2004, 2005: Thom Jackson, McCain Auditorium
2006, 2007: Karen McCulloh, KSU Libraries
2008: Allie Lousch, Sunset Zoo
2009, 2010: Nora Lewis, Kansas State University Department of Music
2011: Penny Senften, Manhattan Arts Center
2012: Richard Prudenti, Flint Hills Discovery Center
2013: Beth Bailey, K-State Student Union
2014: Kayla Oney Savage, UFM Community Learning Center
2015: Danielle Schapaugh, Manhattan Public Library
2016: Lucas Shivers, Manhattan USD383

Secretary:
2002:  Deborah Minner, Urban Design
2003 – 2010: Penny Senften, Manhattan Arts Center
2011-2013: Deborah Murray, Kansas State University Department of English
2014: Danielle Schapaugh, Manhattan Public Library
2015: Chelsea Eimer, Manhattan Arts Center
2016: Allana Parker, Riley County Historical Society

Treasurer:
2002 – 2016: Barbara Nelson, Strecker-Nelson Gallery

Intern:
2013-2014: Brent Weaver
2014-2015: Nicholas Cady
2016: Sarah Edwards