City of Lawrence names Porter Arneill assistant director for arts and culture

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Post updated at 1:19 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10:

Porter Arneill, spokesperson for the City of Lawrence, will be moving back into an arts and culture-focused position soon, the city announced Friday.


Arneill joined the city as director of arts and culture in 2015. But since the city made budget cuts in 2017, he’s worked in a dual role that also includes coordinating communications.

“With increased need in both areas, he has agreed to return to his passion and expertise to lead arts and culture for the City of Lawrence,” according to a news release from the city. Arneill will take on the new role as assistant director of Parks and Recreation — arts and culture. The transition between the two positions will occur over the next few months, according to the release.

The news release stated that “Lawrence is poised to further its unmistakable reputation as a center in the Midwest for arts, diverse culture, fun and a quintessential downtown.”

“This is an exciting time to join the Parks and Recreation team as we will soon begin developing a comprehensive plan to fully integrate arts and culture into our Unmistakable Identity,” Arneill said in the release. “I look forward to the work ahead and to continuing my role as a champion for arts and culture in our community.”

Arneill will also resume the role of staff liaison to the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission, he confirmed via email.

Prior to his time in Lawrence, Arneill served as the director of education and curator at Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum and as the director of public art and education for the Regional Arts Commission, both in St. Louis, according to the release. He served as the director and public art administrator for the Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Art Commission before taking the position of director of arts and culture in Lawrence.

Lawrence City Manager Craig Owens said Arneill is “the epitome of a servant leader and team player,” according to the release.

“He has adapted and done whatever was needed for the city since he came here. Turning back to his experience and passion for arts and culture will help take Lawrence to the next level,” Owens said in the release. “With his leadership in our renowned Parks and Recreation Department, I expect the community will quickly feel progress towards the ambitious goals outlined in our strategic plan for our Unmistakable Identity.”

The city will begin recruiting for a director of communications and community engagement immediately, according to the release.

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Note: This post was updated to swap out the photo for a more recent one.

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