Heralded as a "cultural oasis on the prairie," the Baker Arts Center adds a refreshing splash of fine arts to Southwest Kansas, an area typically characterized as a cultural desert. Baker Arts Center has been open since 1986. It was established after the death of Irene Dillon Baker in 1984, having been established in 1979 by the Bakers, long time supporters of the arts. After their deaths, the home and adjacent properties were left to the Baker Art Foundation to be converted into a center for the arts. Many of the works in the BAC permanent collection and the books in the library were originally purchased by Irene Baker. The center provides much needed exhibit space for artists who work in conventional techniques like oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, sculpture and photography. Exhibits have also featured textile art, quilt displays, handmade jewelry, woodworking, glass works, collage and more. In addition, the center boasts a large collection that includes original works by renowned artists such as Salvador Dali, John Steuart Curry, Elaine de Kooning, Jack Sorenson, Dord Fitz and Jeanne Reynall. The library, located on the lower level, contains more than 2,000 books, 1,000 reference portfolios and other art research materials. The upper level has both a Discovery Center for children, with hands-on activities, and an educational studio for adult and children's art classes and workshops. The Baker Arts Foundation Board of Directors has focused on expanding the center's educational opportunities through sponsorship of school tours, year-round art and music workshops for children, and an artist-in-residency program for the elementary schools. For adults, a variety of workshops with different artists are conducted periodically. The center also places an emphasis on the performing arts through music recitals, professional ballet and theater productions. Larger productions appear at local auditoriums, while some troupes visit area schools to perform for students on site. Future plans for the Baker Arts Center include additional live performances and theater productions, expanded educational programs and children and adult workshops, expansion and construction of an enclosed patio area to host outdoor events, and a general expansion to accommodate permanent displays of the Baker Arts Center's own collection of artwork.