As the artists gear up for their two-week Garden City residency, it's important to acknowledge and thank the generous sponsors who are helping to make it possible. We are grateful for the sponsorship support of several members of the Garden City community. Read on to get to know them a little better. 

George Hopkins -  Drs. Hopkins, Hopkins and Ackerman Optometrist, LLC

George is the Senior Optometrist at Drs. Hopkins, Hopkins and Ackerman Optometrist, LLC

What made you want to be more involved with Arts-FI, specifically?

Even as important as the arts can be to a culture or a community or even an individual life, it is shadowed by the obligation we all have in nurturing the relationships and supporting the actions of those who are capable and, more importantly, willing to pass on the gift of art to future generations.  It is primarily because of Kristen’s efforts that we happily are involved.

Would you like to see the arts community grow in Garden City?

I would like to see the arts, in our community and elsewhere in the world, receive a fighting chance to exist and influence all of our lives.

Jeff Whitham - Western State Bank

Jeff is Co-Owner of Western State Bank. 

What other community organizations are you involved with? What are your favorite activities outside of work?

I have spent a fair amount of time working with our YMCA and St. Catherine Hospital.  The Y makes our community more enjoyable and is focused on services for kids.  Our hospital makes it easier to live here.

I like to read, fly, work with my wife in our lawn and garden and work on our family farm.  I am starting to fiddle around making things with wood-probably because I like the tools involved.

Why do you think arts education is important?

All children, at a fairly young age, should encounter many different types of arts activities.  I was surprised at a young age to realize my next youngest brother was  good at drawing.  That expanded to small sculptures and composing photographs.  I think a teacher in grade school got him started.  He may have found his way to those mediums on his own, eventually, but he got there sooner and probably with less frustration with a little help.

Doug Keller - KellerLeopold Insurance

Doug is the President of KellerLeopold Insurance. 

How would you describe your role at KellerLeopold?

I wear many hats, but my favorite part of the job is working with our current customers and prospects providing transfer of risk insurance programs.

Are you involved as a sponsor or mentor for other community organizations?

We are active, supporting many projects we believe are important to the quality of life in the area we serve.

Richard Harp - Commerce Bank

Richard is a Bank Representative at Commerce Bank. 

How would you describe your experience with Arts-FI so far?

I attended the performance last year at the high school and enjoyed every minute. I liked the variety of the performers from Julliard and the fact the performance was available for all ages to experience in Western Kansas. 

What inspired you to support the artists?

We support the arts because it’s enjoyable to our staff, families and friends. We also like how it challenges young people to use their unrealized talents to be successful. It builds self confidence in the earlier years of students and allows them to excel as they see positive results from their hard work.

Troy Nanniga

Troy is the President and Owner of Western Motor. 

How did you first learn about Arts-FI? What made you want to be more involved? 

We are always excited about art & culture being brought into Garden City and try to support it in any way we can not just for the benefit of our family but for the whole community.

What do you enjoy most about Arts-FI performances?

We have attended a couple of the local Arts-FI events. The larger community event was so unique and the talent was just amazing! Our kids as well as many other young people were able to meet and be inspired by the artists. We feel this is so important for our community.

"I hope that the exposure to this level of talent and art will inspire young and old to pursue, support and nurture the arts in our community."

- Troy Nanniga, Western Motor

Mike Lansdon - Lansdon & Company

Mike is Member/Owner of the CPA firm Lansdon & Company. 

How did you learn about Arts-FI?

I first learned about Arts-FI from Kristen's father, Mike Doering, and because of our long relationship. Kristen's endeavor needed our support and we wanted to act as a sponsor. 

How do you think the arts fit in our every day lives and in education?

I think an education requires exposure to the various disciplines


The artists look forward to seeing the sponsors at this month's performances!