A community with strong influence from the arts has more jobs, more tax revenue, stabilizes property value and brings better tourism that brings millions of dollars to the local economy.
Godrey Riddle: ArtsKC For all art lovers and budding artist out in Kansas City, ArtsKC is the organization to connect with. The ArtsKC Regional Arts Council, much like the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, has dedicated their services to furthering art in all forms. Located at 106 Southwest Blvd in the Crossroads District, ArtsKC provides grants to exceptional artists, arts programs and arts organizations throughout the five-county metropolitan area, fully investing in the entire arts community in Kansas City. ArtsKC is similar to United Arts Funds across the country in that the funds for ArtsKC are supported in many different ways. 50% of the ArtsKC Fund comes from Workplace Giving Campaigns, while the remaining 50% is raised through businesses, corporate and national foundations, support from local government agencies and individual donors. After a campaign, the Arts Council works with a panel of community volunteers to distribute the funds. The funds are divided into three categories: Ovation Grants, Catalyst Grants, and Inspiration Grants. Ovation Grants are awarded to firmly established not-for-profit arts organizations with broad reach and impact throughout the KC metropolitan area. All recipients serve the region with performances, programs and exhibitions that have a combined annual attendance of more than two million audience members. Catalyst Grants are awarded, either for operations or programs, both to established arts organizations, and to other non-profits such as social service agencies that use arts programming. Inspiration Grants are awarded to individual artists and arts professionals for projects or career development. According to ArtsKC Development Manager, Godfrey Riddle, Now Showing is one of the most popular services provided by ArtsKC. “It’s a program meant to create relationships between individual artists and businesses,” Riddle says. “Through that relationship, artists display their work in the conference rooms, lobbies and office spaces of local companies.” The partnership helps the artist to be exposed to the public, and helps the company become exposed to new elements of creativity and inspiration. ArtsKC prides itself on its ability to bring communities together and help them all around.
Not only that, but ArtsKC pushes for art in the education field. Students who have studied arts or music have been shown to score higher on SATs. What’s more, art strongly supports creativity, lateral thinking and problem solving, which are key skills to being economically stable. “We really believe the arts enrich the community, and also enrich the community you choose to call home,” Riddle explains. Not only that, but ArtsKC pushes for art in the education field. Students who have studied arts or music have been shown to score higher on SAT’s. What’s more, art strongly supports creativity, lateral thinking and problem solving, which are key skills to being economically stable. “We really believe the arts enrich the community, and also enrich the community you choose to call home,” Riddle explains. Along with services, ArtsKC also hosts a variety of events, such as Cirque Under the Stars on September 10th. This event takes place at the Starlight Theatre, and will to bring an evening of daring stunts, circus acts, and urban dance at Cirque Eloize iD. Food will be available as well as cocktails. For those who like to know the inner workings of a show, a backstage tour will be given to early guests. On October 22, ArtsKC will be holding their Inspiration Breakfast, also at the Starlight Theatre. This event teaches how the ArtsKC’s mission and programs release the inner power of the arts for the benefit of the Kansas City region. 600 guests will hear from Honorary Chairman Bobby Epsten, Event Chairpersons Brad Douglas and Arzie Umali, and the featured textile artist Debbie Barrett-Jones about her use of fiber arts as healing. Also coming up soon is the Art in the Chiefs Kingdom on Wednesday, November 11, at Arrowhead Stadium. This event commemorates the Arrowhead Stadium’s renovation in 2010 that in turn built the Arrowhead Art Collection. Guests will be treated with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and will be able to view some of the artists whose works were chosen for the collection. ArtsKC is working hard to keep the arts strong in Kansas City. With art and music programs being cut from schools due to budget issues around the country, it is clear that more organizations like ArtsKC need to be supported. Check out artskc.org to learn more about how you can get involved with the organization. V text CURTIS GALLOWAY art AJ BROWN