Final draft of city arts report released

More than 500 people participated in public meetings that helped develop a new arts strategy for Kansas City. Online forums and surveys offered additional input.

A newly-released report suggests creating a new city Office of Arts and Culture, enhancing the one-percent for the arts program, expanding arts education and pushing arts activities into neighborhoods.

The final report of the Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts, KCMO Arts Convergence: Becoming a 21st Century Cultural Center, is now public. 

“Arts and culture in Kansas City are at a defining moment. There is a convergence of vitality in the creative life of the city, fueled by an influx of artists and built on a sustained period of investment in showcase facilities, creative placemaking, exploration of new artistic ideas and innovation, expansion of the creative economy, and a continuing respect for the deep history of arts and culture in the community,” the report says.

It lays out a plan for action based on the work of a task force charged by Mayor Sly James to evaluate how the city can provide support for arts and culture.

The mayor argues in the introduction to the new report that arts and culture are a dynamic part of the progress of Kansas City. In fact, “the arts and cultural aspects of our city are thriving,” he writes.

Nonprofit arts organizations generate $279 million in economic impact in the city, according to the report, and factor in job creation, tax revenue, attract tourism, central role in education of children, create engagement and vitality within the community.

One recommendation from the report is the creation of a city office of Culture and Creative Services to serve as a focal point for implementing the plan. It would replace the Municipal Arts Commission and take a broader role in city strategy,

The report recommends 10 goals including:

  1. Enhance leadership and funding for the arts and culture sector.
  2. Enhance existing public art program.
  3. Improve access to arts and education for every student and adults of all ages.
  4. Enhance arts and cultural opportunities in neighborhoods throughout Kansas City.
  5. Enhance services and opportunities for individual artists.
  6. Facilitate the development and use of facilities, venues and spaces for diverse arts activities throughout Kansas City, MO.
  7. Showcase and develop the creative potential of Kansas City, MO.s new technology platform
  8. Create a signature festival focused on the region’s artists and cultural organizations, highlighting Kansas City, MO’s arts, culture and creativity.
  9. Increase support for economic development of Kansas City, MO’s creative sector.
  10.  Provide more comprehensive information to residents and workers about available arts and cultural activities and resources.