Q&A with Lenexa Arts Council member Judy Tuckness

Q&A with Lenexa Arts Council member Judy Tuckness
Posted on 04/24/2019
Judy TucknessJudy Tuckness was originally appointed to serve on the Lenexa Arts Council in 1988. Over the last 31 years, Lenexa’s population has grown considerably, and so has the community’s support for the arts. Mayor Mike Boehm recognized Tuckness’s extensive volunteer efforts during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner this week.

We sat down with Tuckness to talk about her interests, why art is important, and how Lenexa’s arts programming has evolved over time.

Q. What is your arts background? 
A. I have always lived with creativity. I was always an artist. As a child, I was the one the teachers would ask to do art projects. I don’t have an art degree, but I’ve studied with various individual artists in their studios. I’ve always been too busy being an artist to take the time to learn to be an artist.

Q. What is the Lenexa Arts Council’s role? 
A. The Arts Council brings a world of creativity to our community through a variety of arts programs and experiences.

Q. Why offer arts programming to the community? 
A. Our role on the Lenexa Arts Council is to provide an environment of creativity. Art keeps our community viable; it’s what keeps the community progressive.

Q. Why did you originally get involved with the Lenexa Arts Council? What’s kept you engaged for more than three decades? 
A. I wanted to be involved in the community and share my love of art to help enrich the community. I’ve stayed with the Arts Council because we have such a positive environment in Lenexa. The Governing Body is so supportive of the arts and they understand the value a quality arts program brings to our community.

Q. What is unique about the arts programming in Lenexa? 
A. Lenexa is known for its creative environment. What is unique is the wide variety of programs offered to the community. The Arts Council works hard to provide local art-related opportunities for our residents.

Q. How has arts programming changed in Lenexa over the last 30 years? 
A. The program has grown and we offer a greater variety of activities and experiences in all the arts. When I was first involved in the Arts Council, most of the activities we supported focused on art in its many forms by providing opportunities in “hands on” experiences.  We also began to build the extensive public art collection located throughout the City. Now, in addition to the beautiful art gallery at City Hall, and the public art collection, the Arts Council also offers numerous other activities and events including outdoor concerts, the community orchestra, Theatre on the Trail, poetry events and more. The Arts Council works together to come up with a wide variety of activities so there is something for everyone.

Q. What program or effort are you most proud of? 
A. I would have to say the Lenexa Artists’ Show. This event is one of the longest-running events the Arts Council has organized (2019 is the 28th annual show). I love this event because it encourages Lenexa residents — many who might not otherwise have ever shown their art — to participate in a gallery show. I am also very proud of the public art collection that Lenexa continues to build.

Q. What’s the best feedback you remember hearing from the public? 
A. We have been receiving a lot of great feedback about the art displayed in the new gallery at City Hall. The Governing Body understands the value that art has in our community. When the new civic campus was built, the gallery was designed to be a key focal point in the new City Hall.

Q. What’s your favorite piece of public art in Lenexa? 
A. The Serpent at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. It’s the children’s favorite.

Q. How can other Lenexans with an interest in the arts get more involved? 
A. All are welcome to be involved. Volunteer your time and energy. If you have a great idea, the Lenexa Arts Council would love to hear from you.

Q. What’s the next art project in your life? 
A. Theater is a big part of my life. I create/design and teach students to build sets for the theatrical productions at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. I am a multimedia artist and always have a creative project in the works. Art is my world. It’s always there.

Published April 24, 2019