Kansas City's Municipal Art Commission was established in 1926 by the city charter. It's a 13 member board, including six appointed by the mayor. And new commissioners will be sworn in Monday afternoon.
Kansas City, MO – KCUR's Laura Spencer sat down recently with Mayor Mark Funkhouser who says he wants the Municipal Art Commission to take things to the next level.
The duties of the Municipal Art Commission are laid out in the city charter: to approve works for art on city property, to approve the design of structures, like buildings and bridges, built by the city, and to oversee the city's one percent for art program.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser says with the appointment of new commission members, he's asking them to map out a new course. Funkhouser says,"I'd like the arts commission to create a strategic plan that expands their role beyond one percent for art and to be a catalyst for economic development."
Funkhouser sees the role of the arts in economic development in a very specific way. He says people in today's economy can live and work anywhere and often what makes a community unique is its sense of place. And that includes art.
"Artists bring that sort of creativity," says Funkhouser. "We have a lot of artists....we have one of the highest levels of artists in the United States...we don't have a mountains...sense of Kansas City that was unique and special."
The city's more than 20 year old One Percent for Art program sets aside one percent of the construction costs of any municipal building for art. And Funkhouser calls the city's public art collection "outstanding," but he says he wants the arts commission to have a wider scope, which could include micro-loans for artists or more arts programming for children.
Funkhouser says although he's setting a direction, it will be up to do the commission to make recommendations.
The commission will be chaired by Tom Bean, vice president of Berger Devine Yaeger architects, who served as the city architect for Kansas City for 25 years until 2005. Other commission members include: Jeff Becker, executive director of the Arts Incubator; Jan Mulkey, who works in the retail strategy and planning department at Hallmark Cards; Alisha Gambino, art education curator at the Mattie Rhodes Art Center; Kathy Achelpohl, a principal at BNIM Architects; and Gregory Carroll, executive director of the American Jazz Museum.
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