Kansas City Young Audiences Plans New Home In Former Midtown Office Max

May 3, 2016

Kansas City Young Audiences will soon move to its first permanent home in the organization's 55-year history. On Tuesday, the arts education non-profit announced the purchase of a former Office Max building at 3732 Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri. 

"It's in the heart of Midtown, centrally located in the city," says executive director Martin English. "We believe it will give us an opportunity to reach out and to serve a broader community of students from that location."  

Founded in 1961, KCYA has been housed on the campus of St. Teresa's Academy at 5600 Main Street in Brookside for the last 12 years. Because of a St. Teresa's building expansion, KCYA's lease was not renewed, and a 16-month search for a new location began. 

"It was a big empty box, a retail box store," English says of the new facility, which was constructed around 1990. "So when we had a couple of architects on our board walk in the front door, their eyes sort of lit up because it's a big, blank slate for us. So we can really customize that building for our needs." 

Helix Architecture + Design will design the interior, including dance studios, multi-purpose classrooms, performance and event spaces, and staff offices. Renovations are expected to begin in July, with a move-in by the end of 2016. Classes in the new location are scheduled to start in early 2017.  

"The location is, I think, really going to raise our visibility as an organization," says English. "Great access north and south and east and west there. And we'll be in the thick of things." 

KCYA plans to launch a $3.5 million capital campaign on Friday, May 6. To date, the organization has raised about $1.5 million in cash and pledges, including a $500,000 lead gift from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, a $600,000 pledge from the Hall Family Foundation, and a $200,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. 

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