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Kansas City Arts Task Force Presents Findings To Mayor

Julie Denesha

After about two years of research, work and community engagement, Kansas City Mayor Sly James' Task Force for the Arts presented its findings on Thursday during the City Council’s business session.

Task Force Chair Mike Burke said the plan takes a new approach, with arts as a strategy. There are 10 recommended goals, including improving access to arts education, creating a signature festival, boosting the city’s public art program and opening a new Cultural and Creative Services division.

"So that the arts have a seat at the table, as a convener for the city, as a cooperative source, as a place for people to go," he said.

Burke said this new office would help facilitate city strategy, and "work with other organizations to get things done." He estimated the cost of about $1 million a year.

Councilman Ed Ford asked where the money would come from in the city's budget, and shared a a concern that "one of the funding sources for the Cultural and Creative Services staff would be the PIAC fund (capital improvements)."

Burke told Ford and other city council members he’s working with the city manager’s office and the mayor’s office to identify a "dedicated source of revenue, created by city council ordinance, that would take a city council ordinance to cut." He says the idea of a separate tax was rejected.

Recommendations will be provided in the next couple of weeks. 

Mike Burke appeared on KCUR's Up to Date on Monday December 2, 2013  to share some of the task force's ideas. 

The Mayor's Task Force for the Arts's final report is available online.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.