The Lied Center of Kansas serves the state’s flagship university, students and the greater community by functioning as a catalyst for the arts, creativity, engagement and community building through the following core activities:

  • Presenting a series of diverse, relevant and world-class artists which activates our community to strengthen its connection with the arts. Constant public feedback and conversation shape the Lied series.
  • Engaging our community through experiential learning in the performing arts and our world by providing opportunities to attend, explore, participate and create.
  • Serving as a communal gathering space for shared experience, connection, conversation and the celebration of achievement.


We envision a world in which the arts are universally valued as essential to the human experience and the Lied Center is a catalyst for realizing this ideal.

- Lied Center Mission



We envision a world in which the arts are universally valued as essential to the human experience and the Lied Center is a catalyst for realizing this ideal.

Alignment with University-Wide Strategic Initiatives

1. Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World

  • Throughout the Lied Center’s history, we have presented many artists who support the ideals of this initiative. Recently, these artists or programs include KODO, Armitage Gone! Dance, and red, black & GREEN: a blues.
  • We have implemented several staff policies related to recycling and energy conservation resulting in our designation as a Level 2 Green Office.
  • With guest artist hospitality, we strive to utilize recyclable materials such as refillable Igloo water jugs instead of bottled water. For patron and donor gifts, we strive to provide only reusable items (ex. refillable water bottles, tote bags).

2. Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures

  • Throughout the Lied Center’s history, we have presented many artists who support the ideals of this initiative. Recently, these artists or programs include Pilobolus, ETHEL String Quartet, and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
  • In providing free access to the performing arts for all pre-schoolers through 5th graders in our community, these students are inspired by creativity and receive a much more holistic education.
  • In providing free access to the performing arts for underserved constituents of all ages in our community, their well-being is impacted in a very positive way through the transformative power of the performing arts.

3. Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities

  • Throughout the Lied Center’s history, we have presented many artists who support the ideals of this initiative. Recently, these artists or programs include the Soweto Gospel Choir, Andrea Gibson, Scott Turner Schofield, Rohina Malik, Frank Waln and Rennie Harris Puremovement.
  • Annually, we provide age-specific, free access to the performing arts for all pre-schoolers through 12th graders in our community regardless of socioeconomic background. We are honored to connect with over 10,000 students attending Lawrence Public Schools every year.
  • Annually, we provide over 1,500 free tickets to underserved constituents of all ages in our community.
  • Our Lied Across Kansas initiative supports our statewide community through annual residencies by international touring artists in Sabetha, Russell, Hays and Salina-area.
  • Since 2016, we have hosted and produced the KU Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival in partnership with the First Nations Student Association. This annual event now attracts ~4,000 members of the community to celebrate contemporary and traditional Indigenous culture.
  • Annually, we facilitate dozens of workshops, master classes and conversations between world-class artists from around the globe with university and K-12 students and community members of all ages.
  • Initiated during our 2014-2015 season, our annual Jayhawk Live series pairs international performing artists with university ensembles for intense experiential learning residencies that culminate in special performances. Participating ensembles include the KU Symphony Orchestra, KU Jazz Ensemble I, KU Wind Ensemble, University Dance Company and KU Percussion Group.
  • Annually, we serve as a communal gathering space for shared experience, connection, conversation and the celebration of achievement for dozens of campus and community organizations.

4. Harnessing Information, Multiplying Knowledge

  • In September of 2014, the Lied Center launched its webcasting initiative. To date, we have live streamed over 100 events featuring such entities as the School of Music, Business School, Dole Institute, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences which have attracted tens of thousands of viewers from all 50 states, 90 countries and 121 cities in the state of Kansas.
  • In September of 2014, the Lied Center introduced the “Beyond the Stage” mini-documentary video series. These episodes, viewable on-demand, demonstrate the profound impact of Lied Center engagement and education events featuring world-class artists working with members of our university and regional community.
  • In addition to providing teacher training workshops for local educators, the Lied Center works with USD 497 to provide educational materials related to schools-only performances through the use of technology via Blackboard and YouTube.


Beginning July 1, 2017, state law allows for the concealed carry of handguns at the University of Kansas, which includes the Lied Center of Kansas. Visit www.concealedcarry.ku.edu for details.

Land Acknowledgement

The Lied Center of Kansas at the University of Kansas resides on the ancestral territory of the Kaw, Osage, and Shawnee peoples. It is our responsibility to acknowledge the peoples of these lands, the treaties that were used to remove these tribal nations and the histories of dispossession. We recognize, support, and advocate for the sovereignty of the four federally recognized tribes of Kansas, the Prairie Band Potawatomie, the Kickapoo in Kansas, the Sac and Fox of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. This acknowledgment has compelled us to work closely in support of our First Nations Student Association providing support for their annual Powwow, assist in the creation and ongoing work of the Indigenous Cultures Festival and partner with the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission on the Indigenous Arts Initiative.


The Lied Center of Kansas opened on Sept. 28, 1993 and was built through the generosity of the Lied Foundation Trust and the Lawrence community. It is dedicated to Ernst F. Lied’s parents, Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied. The inaugural performance of The Secret Garden set the stage for the important role The Lied Center now plays for KU, Lawrence and the people of Kansas. Today, the Lied Center is the home of two outstanding performance spaces: the main auditorium, with a capacity just under 2,000, and the Pavilion, a flexible space with seating for 200.

Past Performances

Art of the Lied

2018 Dedication ceremony for Jan Gaumitz' BLOOM outside the Lied Center of Kansas

2018 dedication outside the Lied Center.

“BLOOM” by Jan Gaumnitz

The Lied Center commissioned a new piece of visual art for the 25th Anniversary—a physical landmark to memorialize the significant milestone. Local artist Jan Gaumnitz conceptualized and created the nearly 20-foot-tall sculpture that now resides in the circle drive at the main entrance of the Lied Center.

Note from the artist

The seeds of thought for the sculpture “BLOOM” were planted many years ago in my grandmother’s flower garden and in the fields of my farming uncles. There, I observed the cycles of planting seeds, nurturing growth and the season of fruition. The seasons were the clock that guided everyone’s lives.

In choosing “BLOOM” as the theme for a sculpture to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Lied Center, I likened this endeavor of planting to the mission of the Lied Center: planting seeds of discovery, nurturing the development of receptive minds and talent, and the fruition of awareness, self-confidence and commitment to each person’s ability to “bloom” in whatever way is their destiny. I hope that “BLOOM” will be a symbol for aspiring to have beauty around and within us.

In choosing the design and materials for the fabrication of “BLOOM,” I considered the environment that was to be its home—open spaces with challenging winds, visibility from long distances, as well as seasons of sun, rain and snow. Simplicity of design seemed important, as did color, to bring the focus to the front entrance of the Lied Center, in addition to the strength and durability to withstand the elements. Welded sheets of steel seemed to provide the answer to all the requirements, as well as ease of maintenance and receptiveness to color. The location of “BLOOM” in the midst of a Kansas garden is the ideal home.

– Jan Gaumnitz

Click to see larger view.

The Susan and Doug Rendall Garden

The beauty of the sculpture is perfectly complemented by the lush flowers and plants surrounding it. The sustainable pollinator garden was designed by Susan Rendall, and planted and cared for by she and her husband, Doug Rendall, both master gardeners. Every detail of the garden, designated as a monarch waystation, was meticulously planned, including the position of each plant in relation to the sun, the color scheme and visual aesthetics, and the origin of each plant to ensure it would thrive.



As a major university presenter, the Lied Center of Kansas is proud of its two-decade history of engaging internationally renowned artists and more than 100 years of performing arts presenting at the University of Kansas. In its 21st season (2014-15), the Lied Center inaugurated a recognition program to honor one artist or group per season for distinguished service to the performing arts.

Furthermore, the Lied Center of Kansas has partnered with the Lawrence School District (USD 497) in support of arts education for over 20 years. In celebration of this partnership, the Lied Center will also honor one educator per season for distinguished service to arts education. As we all know, every educator has to be creative in the classroom to truly engage their students. There are some, however, who go far beyond the norm and create a space of imagination, creativity and innovation in their classrooms.


After a season is booked, the Lied Center administration will select up to five artists/groups to be considered for the Lied Center IMPACT Award based upon the criteria below. Each August, all current and former Friends of the Lied board members will vote for one of the nominees via electronic survey. The winning artist will be announced at the Friends of the Lied Annual Dinner in September. The honoree will be presented the award on stage at their Lied Center performance.


Each fall, the Engagement-Education Director will contact members of the Adventures in Imagination Board and the Lied Center School Ambassadors asking them to make note of possible educators for the upcoming year’s award. Early in the spring semester, the Board and Ambassadors will be asked to send in their nomination for the Creative Educator Award. A slate will be created and voted on by the Adventures in Imagination Board and School Ambassadors. The winning educator will be announced at the Friends of the Lied Annual Dinner in September.The honoree will be presented the award on stage, along with the winning artist, just prior to the winning artist’s Lied Center performance.


The artist or group who wins this award has made an indelible impact on the performing arts in the following areas:

Leadership. The artist is celebrated for initiating programs or projects that ensure the future of the arts. Integrity. The artist is committed to the highest artistic standards. Education. The artist is deeply engaged in performing arts education. Discovery. The artist is a trailblazer through the creation of new and innovative work.


The educator who wins this award provides support, encouragement, and inspiration to their students. In addition to providing various arts experiences for their students, this individual is committed to integrating the arts into the classroom curriculum through creative or innovative teaching practices.

IMPACT Award Recipients

USD 497 Educators

2019-20: Peter Gipson

2018-19: Johannah Cox

2017-18: Deborah Woodall Routledge

2016-17: Sara Bonner

2015-16: Dani Lotton-Barker

2014-15: Lois Orth-Lopes



2019-20: Samuel Ramey

2018-19: Joshua Bell

2017-18: Black Violin

2016-17: Imani Winds

2015-16: Branford Marsalis

2014-15: Wynton Marsalis