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the website is great. Love the history.
John Jones
Keller, TX
SE Kansas
Iola Explorations
Learn more about Iola by following the links below:

The Thomas Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Address: 205 E. Madison Avenue
Iola, KS 66749
Telephone Number: 620.365.4765

Email Address:

About this Exploration:

Iola citizen and banker Thomas H. Bowlus had his will  written by Iola attorney, Tony Immel, and in it, Bowlus directed a million dollars from  his estate be used to equip and to build a fine arts center on his home site. The mission of the center is defined in the will as "to broaden the cultural background of area youth and make available to the citizens of the area facilities, programs and entertainments not otherwise available."

The Thomas Bowlus Fine Arts Center is nearing 50 years old and has entertained and enlightened southeast Kansans, as well as visitors from all over the world.
The Center has a 1960s decor as you will notice when you first enter into the main lobby, and in the main theater, there's over 700 seating capacity, with ample walking room. Throughout the building, there are many hidden treasures waiting to be seen.
The Mary Martin Art Gallery is in another area that features four or five artists a year during the school year.  The Dale Creitz recital hall is where you will find speakers, chamber music and various other genres perform. The other rooms house classrooms for learning the various arts.
On the "big stage," you will see musicals, international performers, concerts, community theater productions, dance studio recitals and school programs.  The performances are spectacular and geared towards the young and old alike!
For special tours through the entire building, or to be put on their mailing list or ask about tickets, contact the director, Daniel Kays (see website and phone number above).
The Bowlus Fine Arts Center celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2014 and soon after a lot of beautiful construction began on the east side of the building. One issue the Bowlus began to suffer from over the years was not having an elevator. This new construction on the east side took care of that and along with handicapped parking on the east you can also enter the doors and find the new much needed elevator.
This now the location for the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce, as well! 

contact info
Donna Houser
205 E. Madison Ave
Iola, KS 66749
Phone: 620.228.0439
Kansas Sampler Foundation   Kansas Department of Commerce - Travel Kansas   Get Rural Kansas