Art Works in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
by Harlan Brownlee, President and CEO, Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City
Sundog was the 2010 Art/Work Best in Show and People?s Choice winner. Art/Work is a city-wide corporate arts challenge that enables companies to showcase their employees? talents in the literary, visual, and performing arts.
Today, Rocco Landesman, Chairman for the NEA, is visiting Kansas City. He will be the guest speaker at the Kansas City Downtown Council?s annual luncheon, titled appropriately, ?Art Works.? What Rocco will experience during his visit here is a community that has come to understand the power the arts have to transform neighborhoods and create a unique sense of place. He will see first-hand the economic engine that the arts provide. The creative work of artists in the Crossroads district produced galleries and studios, which in turn led to renovated buildings. This was then followed by creative businesses, such as architects and marketing firms moving into the neighborhood. Next were the establishment of restaurants and the creation of urban living spaces. The end result was a depressed and failing neighborhood that was revitalized and invigorated, and the arts led the way. Rocco will witness that it is the arts that express our distinctiveness, from the 18th & Vine district, the birthplace of Kansas City Jazz, to our new $413 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It is the arts that bring innovation and creativity to our communities. He will see that Kansas City has begun to embrace the new reality of a creative economy and recognize the role the arts will play in the future of our neighborhoods, city, and metropolitan region.