Plans are in the works to create a regional cultural plan to establish a shared vision for the Kansas City metro.
In recent years, Kansas City has gained a national reputation as a "culturally rich metropolis." In the five-county metro area, including Kansas and Missouri, there are over 6,000 artists, writers and performers, 250 arts and cultural non-profits, and 360 for-profits.
Arts KC president and CEO Harlan Brownlee says this plan would mark a unique bi-state collaboration with a focus on the growth and sustainability of the arts.
"The arts are probably one of the greatest unifiers that we have," says Brownlee. "We need to be able to craft a unified vision, a common vision or a shared vision of what we want for the arts in the region."
A new steering committee, with members from all the counties (Jackson, Clay, Platte in Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas), met for the first time last week. Brownlee says they’ll serve as liaisons over the next six to nine months.
"So they’ll be reaching out to their network of people that they work with to make sure that information about this is communicated. And that they engage people in their communities to be part of that process," he says.
Allan Gray, Lee’s Summit, Mo. councilman and mayor pro tem, heads up the steering committee. He says it's a diverse group of "elected officials, arts managers, business people, educators. And we’ve done that purposely so that we can get the full breadth and width of our community."
The planning process will involve public meetings, focus groups, and an online discussion to develop a direction for four established priorities. These include: improving access to arts education, creating a formalized communication system, better utilizing cultural facilities, and considering the arts in economic development.