How nifty, the Bowlus is turning 50



September 18, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Fine arts supporters from across the country will return to the Bowlus Fine Arts Center Sept. 26 and 27 to celebrate the center’s golden anniversary.
The Bowlus stage will have a blast from the past.
In 1964 the Kansas City Philharmonic played on the Bowlus stage. Ticket prices were only $4.
The Bowlus has brought in the Kansas City Symphony for the same ticket price. Tickets for that portion are already sold.
From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday there will be guided or self tours through the Bowlus.
“This gives people the opportunity to see parts of the Bowlus they’ve never seen,” Bowlus executive director Susan Raines said.
Local organizations will help serve birthday cake and punch in the band room before the rededication ceremony at 6 p.m. Attendees can tour a special art exhibit from Omer Knoll. Knoll taught art in Iola and was the first visual arts instructor to teach in the Bowlus.
The rededication ceremony will start at 7 p.m.
The Iola High School Marching Mustangs will parade on stage to play “The Victor” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The presentation of flags and flag salute will be led by Boy Scout Troop 55.
Tony Leavitt, the USD 257 school board president, will give a speech re-accepting the building.
Presentation of proclamations will be given from Iola Mayor Joel Wicoff and Allen County Commissioner Dick Works.
Derek Schmidt, Kansas attorney general, will give the rededication address from Gov. Sam Brownback.
Thomas Bowlus’ nephew, Burton Bowlus, will attend to represent the Bowlus family.
“Ten Bowlus family members will be attending and many of them were here at the first dedication,” Raines said.
The variety show will quickly follow the rededication ceremony, showcasing a long list of talented Iola alumni.
Singers, dancers, actors and musicians will return to the Bowlus stage to entertain the crowds. Tickets for the variety show are $10 for the orchestra; the balcony is free.
“We are so grateful for the entire community we have so many coming to help,” Raines said. “This has been a three-year process. We are celebrating the people who are the recipients of the gift and then the gift changed their lives.”

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