Kansas City Arts Leader Picked To Head ArtsKC

May 22, 2017

After conducting a national search, ArtsKC, the regional arts council, on Monday announced a new president and CEO: Dana Knapp. 

Since January 1, 2017, Knapp has served as the interim leader of ArtsKC, a nonprofit arts organization that "promotes, supports and advocates for the arts across a five-county region." According to ArtsKC, Knapp "begins her new role immediately."

"Dana brings tremendous experience in the Kansas City arts and civic communities, strategic leadership skills and a passion for the Kansas City area and its arts culture," stated Brad Douglas, chairman of the ArtsKC Board of Directors, in a news release. 

Knapp earned a bachelors in design and art history from the University of Kansas and a masters in nonprofit administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. For nearly three decades, she has focused her career on arts, design and education. 

Previously, Knapp served as director of grants and programs for ArtsKC, and director of programs for the Mid-America Arts Alliance. She also worked for nearly 20 years as the director of planning at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, leading the construction and renovation of the Bloch Building.

"I am hoping to build on all the past hard work and relevancy that ArtsKC has offered, working very hard to make connections," says Knapp. "My hope also is to advance the understanding of the value of the arts and culture industry in the region."

As arts organizations brace for potential state and federal cuts in funding, Knapp describes this as "a challenging time." But, she says, it's also one of opportunity. 

"It's even more important and more incumbent of organizations like ArtsKC to step up and take a demonstrative and leadership role in communicating the importance of our organizations and our artists," Knapp says, "and the entrepreneurial impact on the economy of the region, and the state, and nationally." 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.