Arts commission filling in details on report

Table from the task force report on the arts.

Consultants are getting feedback and reviewing their vast draft plan for expanding arts and culture in the city.

The director of the Kansas City Arts Commission reported Monday that he hopes the commission will have a final plan for review at its September 9 meeting.

Director Porter Arneill told commissioners that much in the draft was left “intentionally vague,” so that others can work on filling in details.

The draft report released recently by the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts is called “KCMO Arts Convergence: Becoming a 21st Century Cultural Center.”

It calls for a vast expansion of efforts to build on advances the city has made in the arts and culture in recent decades.

Among suggestions in the draft plan: expand the city’s 1 percent for public art program, create a new city agency for the arts, spend more for arts and culture, and put artists in abandoned houses to create “artists commons” areas.

The draft plan suggests extending to major private development the city’s 1 percent for art program that currently applies only to costs of work on city buildings.

On Monday, Arneill reported to the art commissioners that some cities have done well with that approach.

Typically, he said in an interview, a developer includes a percentage, often 1 percent, toward a public art project or donates that much to an art fund.

From what he has heard, he said, developers oppose the programs at first but often embrace them later and use art to enhance their projects.

Arneill also provided the commissioners with a chart showing that many of the fastest growing cities in terms of population have extensive art programs.

Frisco, Tx., which grew 9.6 percent from 2010 to 2012, has developers set aside 2 percent for the arts.

Seattle, Wa., which grew 4.25 percent in that time, has developers set aside one percent.

Kansas City’s population grew less than one percent in that period.

Still, Arneill said, he doubts that advocates for the arts are going to make expanding art costs to developers one of their first priorities.

What will take final shape is still taking shape, he said. “Stay tuned: I can see the wheels turning.”