The Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS) was established in 2015 to lead cultural development efforts for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The mission of the Office is to serve Kansas City residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture and creativity and by leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and cultural vitality for its citizens.
The creation of the office is a direct outcome of Mayor Sly James’ Task Force on the Arts and the convening of arts, civic and business leadership, involved in visioning processes that resulted in a community cultural plan, KCMO Arts Convergence Plan, adopted by the Mayor and City Council in late 2013.
The City will be strategic in preparing for continued cultural growth. Partnerships between the Office of Culture and Creative Services and for-profit and non-profit organizations are vital to the growth and development of the city’s arts sector. Investing time and resources in the arts will:
- Increase jobs in the creative sector
- Strengthen Kansas City’s communities and cultural identity
- Increase access to education and life-long learning in the arts, and
- Promote Kansas City as the heart of America’s Creative Crossroads and a destination for national and international visitors.
Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience (August 25 – October 28, 2018)
Open Spaces 2018 is a new, two-month arts event that will feature art installations in open spaces across the city, showcasing the city’s famed parks and boulevards, as well as urban spaces and existing arts and cultural venues. Art experiences will include visual art and performances created by local, national and international artists. The event will run August 25 through October 28, 2018, with a hub of artistic activity in Kansas City’s largest park, Swope Park (October 12-14, 2018) and a network of additional venues throughout Kansas City.
Submissions from artists and art organizations are being accepted for Open Spaces 2018 through January 31, 2018. Proposals for artistic concepts, new or in-progress projects, or dream collaborations can be submitted via the Open Spaces website.
Open Spaces 2018 is a collaboration between the City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services and a private arts initiative, to create an event that highlights Kansas City’s arts, culture and creativity, one of 10 goals included in the KCMO Arts Convergence Plan.
Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund
Since May 2015, OCCS administers the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund (NTDF), which provides support to non-profit organizations to promote Kansas City’s distinct and diverse neighborhoods through cultural, ethnic, historic, educational, and recreational activities, thus promoting the City as a premier convention, visitor and tourist center.
West Bottoms Reborn
West Bottoms Reborn (WBR) is a partnership between the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Design Center, Historic West Bottoms, Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the creative community. Funding for the project is being provided by a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. The Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS), with the Kansas City Design Center as the project design team, is using the grant for a collaborative process involving artists, community stakeholders, and city departments and policy-makers to address infrastructure and public space needs through arts-based strategies, to facilitate the design and production of art in public spaces, and shape policy that maintains the viability of artistic production in the West Bottoms as it enters a phase of dynamic growth.
Public engagement is an integral part of WBR project. Honoring History + Place is a series of public presentations to engage the general public, arts and business communities and civic agencies about creative placemaking in Kansas City. The series brings nationally renowned speakers to Kansas City to:
- present on best practices in creative placemaking;
- share project ideas from around the country; and
- facilitate conversations between a diverse, cross-sector audience.
The goal of the series is to activate conversations around the role of artists and creatives in celebrating, honoring and cultivating neighborhood identity and building community. Read about the next presentation, “Poetic, Political, and Public Will in Creative Placemaking, a conversation with Karen McCoy and Roberto Bedoya,” scheduled for February 2, 2018.
Micro-loans for Artists
ArtCap Micro-loan Program: Launched in partnership with AltCap (a community development financial institution) in February 2016, this expanded micro-loan program for Kansas City artists is also committed to connecting artists to business development services that will support their art practices.
Justine Petersen Micro-loan Program: This program, piloted in partnership with Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City in June 2015, loaned $32,000 to nine artists. An additional appropriation of $400,000 was approved by City Council for artist loans.
Film Development Program
The purpose of the program, a joint effort between the OCCS and Kansas City Film & Media Office (a part of VisitKC), is to increase the number of film productions in the City, increase and sustain the number of local jobs in the industry, strengthen the City’s national reputation as a place for creative businesses, and promote the unique features, characteristics and assets within Kansas City neighborhoods. This program was passed by City Council in February 2016 and officially launched on May 31, 2016. Information about the program, including eligibility and document requirements, is available at VisitKC.
Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) Study
Americans for the Arts (AFTA) released its Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) Study in June 2017, which features national and regional findings, including 2015 data for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The following are just a few of the findings that show that communities that support the arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.
The nonprofit arts and culture sector of the City of Kansas City, Missouri
- generates $244.2 million in total economic activity, or 88% of the economic impact for the entire Kansas City region.
- generates $220.8 million in household income to local residents.
- contributes 84% of the region’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector employment, supporting 7,515 full-time equivalent jobs. In addition, 7,616 volunteers donated a total of 346,465 hours, which represents a donation of time with an estimated aggregate value of $8,2 million.
- delivers $7.9 million in local government revenue and $10.9 million in state revenue.
- Also, tourists attending arts and cultural events in Kansas City, Missouri, spent an average of $31.18 per person. This compares to $21.74 per person for the average resident spend.
The AEP5 Kansas City, Missouri Report (36-page PDF) includes data collected from 133 of the 309 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Jackson County, representing a 43% participation rate. A brochure and infographics will be available soon.
The AEP5 KC Metro Report (37-page PDF) includes data collected from 91 of the 165 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Clay, Jackson, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte counties, representing a 43% participation rate. A brochure will be available soon.
The National Statistical Report (542-page PDF) includes data tables and detailed methodology. The report includes detailed economic findings from 341 communities and regions representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report excludes spending by individual artists and the for-profit arts and entertainment sector. Access the brochure and summary report that includes national data.
Artspace Arts Market Study
The OCCS and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC) partnered to contract with Artspace, the country’s leading developer of arts facilities, to conduct an arts market survey to assess the creative space needs of the arts, culture and creative sectors in Kansas City. A total of 616 participants completed the survey (515 individual artists/creatives and 101 arts/creative cultural organizations) that was conducted from October 25, 2016 through January 13, 2017. Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting and Strategic Partnerships at Artspace presented a report on survey findings to Mayor and City Council at the July 27, 2017 Business Session. View Holmes’ presentation and accompanying PowerPoint slides (large file; download may be slow).
This report is part of the second phase of an effort that began in March 2015 when Artspace representatives visited the City. A report on the visit was presented on October 1, 2015 to Mayor and City Council by Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting and Strategic Partnership. View Holmes’ Oct. 1, 2015 presentation to the Mayor and City Council.
Megan Crigger, Director of Creative Services
As the Director of Creative Services, Megan is responsible for uniting local, regional and international cultural organizations for the advancement of artistic and cultural initiatives within Kansas City, Missouri. The Director also facilitates cultural community planning, and relationships between artists, cultural organizations, and governmental and civic organizations.
Contact Megan at 816-513-2659 or by email: email@example.com.
Denise Dillard, NTDF Program Manager
Denise manages the NTDF Program application process. She serves as the point of contact for organizations applying for funding of events that promote Kansas City as a vibrant city and destination for visitors across the globe. As Program Manager, she also provides information to prospective applicants and ensures compliance of awarded contracts for services.
Contact Denise at 816-513-3451 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consuelo Cruz, Arts Marketing Coordinator
Consuelo is responsible for the coordination of marketing strategies that promote the City’s dynamic arts and cultural activity. She also facilitates access to information and resources utilizing approaches that target residents, workers, visitors, artists and creative professionals.
Contact Consuelo at 816-513-3475 or by email: email@example.com.