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James Oliver, art department chair, works in his office in Porter Hall Wednesday, Aug. 28. Oliver has been appointed to an 11-member commission which is a part of the Kansas Department in Commerce. Gracelyn Haile

Oliver appointed to Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission

Jamie Oliver wears many hats, ranging from chair of PSU’s art department to landscape painter, and can now add one more. Governor Laura Kelly recently appointed Oliver to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.  

“It’s exciting to be appointed by the governor to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, I’m glad to serve,” Oliver said. “I’m glad that we can promote what we do here through that group as well as on a broader level. I think it will allow me to learn more about how our students and the department can interface with the whole state, and so I’m excited.” 

Oliver will sit on the commission with 10 additional members. According to the Pitt State press release, the focus of the commission is on “measuring, promoting, supporting and expanding” the state’s creative industry to boost its economy and nurture jobs within the creative industry. 

“Well, that group wears several hats, as I understand it, in the creative arts area, but the commission sits under the department of commerce, it’s under the commerce secretary,” Oliver said. “It does provide grants for artists, but it does a lot of other things, highlighting the creative industries in the state. So, for me to be on it, it provides us opportunities to one, network, and two, know how the projects and community kind of engagement that we have in the department can broaden.” 

A family friend originally brought up the idea to Oliver of applying for the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which he chose to do. Anyone within the state could apply for the commission, which the application had to be reviewed through the governor’s office. After applying, the director of appointment contacted Oliver, then he underwent an interview before receiving the appointment. 

“Creativity is what makes Kansas an extraordinary place to live. It amplifies everything we find important and celebrates our greatest accomplishments,” Kelly said in a PSU press release. “When our creative arts industry thrives, so does our state.” 

Oliver said he is “still learning” about his position on the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. The position is a three-year term and upon expiration he may be reappointed. 

“… So I don’t exactly know my role yet, but I’m going to learn more about what that group does and be an active participant in that group, he said. 

Along with serving on the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Oliver teaches art classes at Pittsburg State, is part of art-related events within the Pittsburg community like ArtFest, and is a current artist himself. Oliver is a landscape artist primarily but also does some “figurative work”; some of his work is located in a commercial gallery in New York, as his last exhibit there was in December 2018. He said the same gallery will represent his work again in a couple years, as exhibits rotate.  

“… I’m a working artist, so I’m in the creative arts industry, I suppose that helped in my appointment,” he said. “And we’re obviously in the business of creating artists that are going to enter that industry and so that was part of the reason I was interested in serving on this group.” 

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