Mid-America Arts Alliance

Blake Little

Blake Little made pictures of beautiful cowboys.

Little was a professional photographer, doing film and television work and shooting magazine covers in Los Angeles. When he and a friend went to their first rodeo, he wanted to be a cowboy, too.

“We were hooked immediately, by the whole scene, watching it, imagining that these guys were really doing this, and they were gay,” Little would later say of the first International Gay Rodeo Association event he attended, in Los Angeles in 1988.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Flashing lights are sending a message from the windows of downtown Kansas City, Mo., buildings. In Morse code, a signal taps out "LUV U." The light installation, in eight locations from City Hall to the Central Library, is called Message Matters. 

The project by Nebraska-based artist Jamie Burmeister, first appeared at the Bemis Center of Contemporary Art in Omaha, Neb. 

Courtesy: M-AAA

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, 40 percent of their grant budget is dedicated to partnership agreements with state arts agencies and regional arts organizations – like the Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Mo. The NEA recently announced a second round of grants for 2014.

In 2011, Kansas made headlines by eliminating all public funding for the arts. That meant the state no longer qualified for federal matching grants of more than $1 million.