news releases

2006.01.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Iowa’s Cultural Affairs Director Set to Speak to UNO Class

Omaha - Anita Walker, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will be speaking to a unique University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) class examining innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship on Friday, Jan. 20.  Students in the class are developing plans to move Omaha toward being recognized as a "creative class" city.

"Anita Walker very much fits in with what the class is researching and learning," said Gerald Wagner, a distinguished research fellow in UNO's College of Information Science and Technology, who created the class.  "Not only is she a dynamic speaker, she has been leading a movement in Iowa to recognize the role of the creative economy in building prosperity in rural and urban communities.  Those are lesson we can learn from in Nebraska."

Wagner's class is being taught at the Gallup Organization's downtown Omaha campus.  Walker is one of eight guest lecturers that are being brought in during the semester.  Her talk is titled  "Iowa Great Places: Embracing an Authentic Sense of Place."  She will be speaking to the general public on the same topic before the class at 7:30 a.m. at Gallup University.  There is no cost to attend.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack appointed Walker to her post in 2000.  In that capacity she serves as executive director of the Iowa Arts Council, administrator of the State Historical Society and as State Historic Preservation officer.

Walker introduced her state to the work of creative economy guru Richard Florida.  Last October, during a keynote address for a gathering in Iowa City, Iowa, Florida said, "Anita Walker has positioned arts and culture at the forefront of economic development and community building.  I could think of no other arts and cultural leader at the local, community, state or national level who has provided that kind of leadership."

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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