In 2016, the City of Lucas noticed something was a little off.
Despite being a shining example of a true grassroots art community—the city is, after all, home to the Garden of Eden sculpture garden and the Grassroots Art Center—Lucas’ downtown looked a little bare. So Rosslyn Schultz, a community leader with all things artistic in Lucas, turned to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC).
“We just felt the town was at a crossroads, just on the verge of creating an artistic downtown, but not quite there yet,” she recalls. “So we brought in a consultant with the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission … and that has led to a resurgence in downtown building occupancy.”
The KCAIC consultant helped with an artistic vision for downtown revitalization. Local partners, including the Russell County Area Community Foundation, Russell County Economic Development, local area artists and entrepreneurs, community resident donors and the Lucas Arts and Humanities Council, invested, in part, by filling downtown buildings with a series of vibrant and colorful storefront displays. Russell County Economic Development and CVB provided storefront/signage grant funding on two of these projects.
The community went one step further and began to decorate the wooden electric poles in front of the buildings. Ideas for decorating the 16 poles were accepted from across the nation, and now work has begun on making these ideas reality.
“It’s going to change the landscape of Downtown, and it will draw people,” Schultz says. “You’d want to look at the next pole.”
Schultz says the next step is to expand the city’s selection of accommodations and restaurants to encourage all-day adventures in Lucas.
“It’s just getting a life of its own here—and if you see a little bit of it happening, someone else is likely to buy into it, too,” she says. “It encourages others to see the future of the community.”