The Lied Center of Kansas opened on Sept. 28, 1993 and was built through the generosity of the Lied Foundation Trust. 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 opening for the Lied Center and the important role it 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 seats approximately 2,000 people and is host to Lied Center performances. It also serves as a venue for KU Department of Dance; KU School of Music; and university and community events, performances and presentations.
In 2011, the 2,400-square-foot Lied Center Pavilion opened its doors. This area serves as a performance venue and may also be transformed into a comfortable and modern location for teacher workshops, master classes, educational programs, receptions, meetings and other center activities. The 200-seat Pavilion was part of a $2.5 million project which also included an expansion of the main lobby. The Lied Foundation Trust provided funds for the project along with the William T. Kemper Foundation.
The mission of the Lied Center of Kansas is to engage audiences and artists through presentation, education, research and service. To help us realize this goal, a number of funds have been established through the KU Endowment Association. You can help support the Lied Center’s mission in a number of ways. See the links below for more information.
Ernst F. Lied came to the University of Kansas from Kansas City, Missouri in 1923. His father managed an automobile dealership in Kansas City. While at KU, Lied was chosen and elected to secretary of the Sphinx Society, a freshman honorary for men. The next school year Lied’s classmates voted him vice president of the sophomore class. He made the honor roll and the University Daily Kansan described him as “one of the best known and best liked men on the Hill.” He lettered in golf in 1925—the same year the golf team took first place in the Missouri Valley League.
In the spring of 1925 Lied departed KU for the University of Nebraska when his family moved to Omaha where his father took a position at a car dealership. Lied graduated from UNL and followed in his father’s footsteps, running a successful General Motor dealership in Omaha. In 1944 Lied hired a young assistant, Christine M. Hixson of Clarinda, Iowa, fresh out of high school who attended Commercial Extension Business School.
In the late 1950s, lured by the prospect of unbridled economic opportunities, Lied moved to Las Vegas, Nev. There, fortune looked favorably on his business decisions. Living modestly, Lied amassed a multimillion-dollar empire, largely through real estate investments. His faithful aide Hixson assisted him all along the way. Ernst F. Lied died in July 1980 and Hixson was appointed as Trustee of the Lied Foundation Trust. She began the work of converting Lied’s fortune into good fortune for others.
Christina Hixson—a woman of extraordinary vision and leadership—established the Lied Performance Fund, a permanent endowment fund aimed at making Lied Center programs accessible to the people of Kansas. The Lied Performance Fund helps support the Lied Center arts education programs, underwrites free and reduced priced tickets to Lied Center performances and makes the arts accessible for social, civic and educational organizations from across Kansas.
The Lied Center and KU Endowment Association acknowledge the following benefactors who made major contributions to the Lied Performance Fund in response to challenge grants provided by the Lied Foundation.
Irvine and Ellen Hockaday
Dick and Kathleen Raney
A. Scott and Carol L. Ritchie
Richard and Jeanette Sias
Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward
Robert K. and Dale Jellison Weary
Dean and Marjean Sparling Werries
We are grateful for the many people who share the Lied Center’s goal of providing rich and diverse performing arts experiences to people from all walks of life. To continue achieving this goal, tax-deductible gifts can be given through the KU Endowment Association. The following endowed programming and education funds have been established to support the Lied Center:
Evie Brinkman Memorial Education Fund
Jerry and Jacki Hannah Family Fund
Clyde and Marty Nichols Performing Arts Fund
Frances Wright Strickland Program Fund
Tim & Jerrye Van Leer Education Endowment
In support of chamber music:
J. Anthony Burzle Fund
Lena M. Stranathan Fund
Raymond Stuhl Fund
Eugene A. and C. Florence Stephenson Fund
Also, the Lied Center Innovations Fund supports classroom visits from local artists, the development of original compositions and choreography, and assists with purchases of new technology and equipment.
1600 Stewart Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
Summer Hours: June 1–July 31
Weekdays, Noon–5:30 p.m.
Lied Center Performances: We are open two hours before these Lied Center performances.
All Other Performances: We are open one hour before all other performances.
Hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.