Kansas City, MO — Mayor Sly James, today, presented his vision for a signature Kansas City Arts Festival, with testimony during the Finance and Governance Committee Meeting of the Kansas City Council.
“Kansas City has tremendous artistic and cultural assets,” said James. “The KC Arts Festival would bring regional and national attention to local talent and resources, provide a venue for creative collaboration and create a positive economic impact for years to come.”
The three-day event would take place over one weekend, utilizing Swope Park and its various amenities. The goal of the festival is to connect people, ideas and the arts in a way that celebrates Kansas City as America’s “creative crossroads” through a series of visual, performing and digital arts.
The event would feature various disciplines of music, dance, theater and temporary public art installations. It would also include interactive and tech workshops, film screenings, guest speakers and forums, along with a KC Marketplace for local vendors to promote and sell their products.
During his time in office, James has often expressed his passion for arts and culture. In 2011, he assembled the Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts to evaluate the City’s creative assets and determine how to best synergize and maximize them. He subsequently worked with the City Manager to create an Office of Culture and Creative Services, led by Megan Crigger, to facilitate relationships with various organizations and evaluate how to best leverage creative assets with tourism.
Recently, the Missouri Department of Economic Development recognized the office with its inaugural Alchemy Award for outstanding work to encourage economic development throughout Missouri. James’ vision for the arts festival is based on civic input and extensive research of festivals across the country.
James thinks a successful event would enhance opportunities for individual artists; facilitate the use of venues for diverse arts activity; showcase the creative potential of the City’s new technology platform; promote and enhance existing arts and cultural resources and activities; and support arts education for children.
“I believe the arts have the power to inspire our future, challenge our present and symbolize our collective past,” added James. “A KC Arts Festival would showcase our amazing artistic resources, bring all of the people of Kansas City together in a way that has not been done in the past and put us on the map as an arts and culture center.”
The “Kansas City Arts Festival” would be supported by members of the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Culture and Creative Services, a project manager, an advisory committee and a curator. It includes an allocation of $250,000 to begin working on the event implementation process. The proposal was approved by the Finance and Governance Committee and the full City Council is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday, October 6.
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