Mayor Sly James announced today that Kansas City’s creative economy continues to expand, with the addition of the National Storytelling Network (NSN) headquarters, which will be located on Mid-Continent Public Library’s Woodneath Campus in Kansas City North. NSN staff will initially be housed within the Woodneath Library Center in 2014 and transition to the Woodneath Story Center upon the adaptive reuse of a historic home on site. NSN is now developing a detailed transition timeline to hire four local staff and fund their expanded programming that the move to Kansas City will enable. Furthermore, the organization’s future conferences will take place in Kansas City and bring approximately 500 people to the area. NSN’s search for a new headquarters also included Chicago and Pittsburgh.
As part of the 33-acre Woodneath Library Campus, the Story Center will celebrate the storytelling arts through national and local partnerships. Construction on the Story Center is scheduled for completion in 2015. The NSN brings together and supports individuals and organizations that use the power of story in all its forms while advocating for the preservation and growth of the art of storytelling. NSN will develop storytelling programs in partnership with MCPL using the art of storytelling to improve literacy, bring history to life, enhance corporate and organizational messaging, promote healing within individuals and communities as well as to entertain.
“The Woodneath Story Center is a natural home for the National Storytelling Network,” said Mayor Sly James. “I’m proud that this announcement shows that Kansas City’s local creative economy is open for business and that the collaborative efforts of the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Economic Development Council, and individuals committed to Kansas City’s storytelling are yielding results.”
Concurrently, the Mayor’s Task force for the Arts, chaired by Mike Burke, released its recommendations yesterday aimed at continuing the momentum of the NSN announcement and attract more creative firms to Kansas City. The Task force’s final report, titled Arts Convergence, concludes two years of analysis and community engagement and the complete report can be found at www.kcmayor.org.
The report will guide the City’s efforts to capitalize on the momentum of the local creative economy and solidify itself as a 21st century cultural center. Utilizing both human capital and our dynamic physical infrastructure of the arts, the City is poised to begin implementing strategies to accomplish the four areas of the plan that include: arts education, institutionalizing the role of arts in the City’s overall operations, increasing cultural tourism and finally, embedding arts and culture into cultural planning and neighborhoods. The Municipal Arts Commission adopted the plan on November 4th and today the City Council will begin deliberating the recommendations of the report during Business Session.
“A large part of city building for the future means building and supporting arts and cultural institutions that make this community the place of choice for the public,” said Mayor Sly James. “Thanks to the hard work of the Taskforce, we’re on our way to strategically designing our cultural vision.”
According to 2012 data compiled during the MTFA’s strategic planning process, 113 non-profit arts and arts-active organizations operate in Kansas City and generate more than $180 million in revenue. The creative industries are responsible for $1.4 billion in exports and $2.3 billion in revenues and employ 17,723 workers in Kansas City, totaling 5% of the local workforce.