Lyons has long cherished its reputation of being a community of artists, musicians, and creative people. As a town of roughly 2000 residents, we are fortunate to have our own world-class music and festival venue Planet Bluegrass, host nationally known concert acts such as the ones at the Lyons Outdoor Games June 4, support a top-notch dance studio Mayama Movement Studio, and have opened a new art gallery Western Stars Gallery/Studio this year. Live music by world class musicians, many of whom actually live here, can be heard in any number of local restaurant venues several nights every week. Incredible artwork hangs on the walls of our eateries and coffee shops. Lyons is fortunate to not only have a high concentration of these “art centric” residents, but locals are working hard to reinforce our reputation as an art destination.
There have been challenges for the art community in Lyons in recent years, notably the lack of affordable housing. The Flood disproportionately affected many of our artists in residence. While there is no eminent solution for this roadblock, the expressed desire to work towards the goal of more affordable housing stock is expressly stated by local residents and government officials.
Supporting the arts has always been a tenant of the Lyons Community Foundation’s mission to enhance the quality of life in the greater Lyons area. In 2015, LCF allocated over $16,000 or more than a third of its Community Support Granting to support art-based projects and events in town. The Lyons Film Festival was able to successfully launch last summer with some assistance from LCF and is returning for a second run June 3-5. The three- day festival will highlight the rich talent in local film making, music and art and will coincide with Lyons Outdoor Games festivities. The Sandstone Summer Concerts Series, a popular free program put on by the Town of Lyons Parks and Recreation Department, would likely not happen without LCF’s annual support. The Lyons Clarifier Community Art Project was completed in 2015 after granting helped continue its 10 year journey. Chase the Music a local non-profit that coordinates original music compositions for critically ill children, was also a 2015 grantee.
The Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission (LAHC) has been a benefactor of LCF’s Community Support Grants for years. Historically, this group has produced events in town such as the Art Walk, art shows in Town Hall and commissioning the public art installations visible throughout downtown Lyons. The LAHC led by Chrystal DeCoster and Betsy Hubner has been very active as of late, helping to launch Lyons Last Thursdays/Art Stroll. This is a collaborative effort between LAHC, The Lyons Economic Development Commission, the Town of Lyons, The Lyons Chamber of Commerce and various business entities.
The idea is to get visitors and locals to “Linger Longer” in town, enjoying the venues that promote local art and music and to provide increased tourist traffic and benefit all area merchants economically. Participating businesses plan to offer extended hours and a voucher program offering buying discounts. The first of this series will launch on May 26th and will occur on the last Thursday of the month through September.
The LAHC also recently championed a group of students in their quest to bring a commissioned art piece to Lyons Elementary as their 5th grade legacy project. Local artist and environmentalist Coco Gordon has provided her own unique contribution to the art community and LCF. She hosts a creative project called Artbox Stylista roughly every other month for which she collects contributions that she donates to LCF. All of these various efforts are a great of example of the power of combining a variety of resources with our own residents’ enthusiasm for enriching our community through art.
The Lyons Community Foundations exists to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons Area. We serve as a catalyst for connecting people who care with important projects in our community. For more information on any of our art-centric grantees or the variety of other community based funded projects for 2015, visit www.lyonscf.org/community-support.