Kansas City Friends Of Alvin Ailey Announces New Leadership Roles | KCUR

Kansas City Friends Of Alvin Ailey Announces New Leadership Roles

Dec 1, 2015

Members of AileyCamp The Group took the stage in June at KCFAA's first Festival on the Vine.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey announced two new top leadership roles on Tuesday. 

Harlan Brownlee joins the organization in the newly created position of chief executive officer.

In July, Brownlee stepped down as president and CEO of ArtsKC, the regional arts council. He's worked in arts education for three decades, including as a dance teacher and choreographer, and calls this a "great fit." 

“And certainly my experience with ArtsKC really provided me an opportunity to really understand the value of the arts from a community building aspect and a civic engagement aspect," Brownlee says. 

As for first steps, Brownlee says he's put together a "learning plan" to find out as much as he can about the organization, from programming to fiscal health, as well as the goals of the board leadership. 

In 1984, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey was created as the second home of the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the company travels here for annual performances. In the process of developing a strategic plan, the board of directors determined a new staffing model was in order to support the growth of KCFAA, which also offers classes and seeks to make dance accessible to all. 

After 11 years as executive director, and 21 years with the organization, Tyrone Aiken will transition into a new position as chief artistic officer, creating and directing programming. 

"For me, as the organization grows, it's an opportunity to focus on some parts of my skill set that I'm very passionate about," says Aiken. "That includes really being able to develop my connections as an artist, and an African-American artist, to the Kansas City community in a greater way." 

Aiken says he envisions his role as leveraging partnerships with a commitment to the mission of diversity. He also plans to continue to develop the new three-day event called Festival on the Vine. 

"It's an opportunity to focus more on the artistic quality and also the level of and intensity of engagement for our students and our programs," he says. 

Correction:  Tyrone Aiken's title was incorrect in our on-air newscast. His title in this story, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey's new chief artistic officer, is correct.

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