KANSAS CITY SYMPHONY
The Kansas City Symphony brings the trans formative power of great music to people throughout the region. The Symphony performs more than 150 times each season but perhaps the most important performances are those for young people in our community. Because of generous support from the Francis Family Foundation, the Kansas City Symphony’s Youth Education and Community Engagement programs reach nearly 40,000 students, teachers, and community members each year, including students from more than 200 schools in 22 districts as well as many home-school students.
Featuring imaginative programming and creative staging, the Symphony’s Young People's Concerts, KinderKonzerts, and Link Up programs provide the opportunity for students of all ethnic and economic backgrounds to attend a full-orchestra concert in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. These concerts integrate cognitive skill development, subject matter exploration and critical thinking into the concert experience, helping students achieve relevant state and federal educational competencies.
In addition, the Symphony has ongoing partnerships with University Academy, an ambitious charter school in Kansas City, Mo.; UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance; and the Youth Symphony of Kansas City. Thousands of children discover orchestral instruments each year through the Symphony’s Instrument Petting Zoo where kids can touch and play instruments under the guidance of Symphony staff and volunteers.
The Inside Music Series, free and open to the public, includes masterclasses where world-renowned Symphony guest artists work one-on-one with talented students. The Symphony’s Support School Music program has raised more than $133,000 for music programs in 15 area school districts while developing community awareness of the importance of music education.
Open Rehearsals offer students a unique look inside a professional symphony orchestra rehearsal while the Young Artist Competition encourages aspiring musicians by offering the winner an opportunity to perform with the Symphony. www.kcsymphony.org
Musical Bridges is offered through the Conservatory of Music and Dance at UMKC. It is a pipeline of opportunity for underserved children with musical talent. The Foundation recently provided a one-time leadership and sustainability grant of $100,000, recognizing the outstanding effort of the Conservatory to provide one-on-one musical training and other experiences to promising young student musicians from the Kansas City urban core. Innovative programs like Musical Bridges create a "bridge" of opportunity often needed to succeed in the performing arts. http://conservatory.umkc.edu
Quixotic Performance Fusion demonstrates the art of aerial acrobatics on the first Sunday of each month at Science City in Union Station. Quixotic is one of the Foundation's Small Arts Grant Fund grantees doing innovative community outreach through audience development. (Photos taken by Fred Blocher at The Kansas City Star on 01/06/2013. www.quixoticfusion.com
THE CHARLOTTE STREET FOUNDATION
Taking unprecedented action in a lean economic climate, the Board of the Francis Family Foundation recently awarded The Charlotte Street Foundation a grant in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. The first $20,000 is earmarked for the organization’s annual general operating support. The rest is a strategic investment in recognition of Charlotte Street’s excellent work and their mission to “…support and recognize outstanding artists in Greater Kansas City; present, promote, enhance and encourage the visual, performing and interdisciplinary arts; and, foster economic development in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri."
The Board’s intent was to infuse additional funding to a nimble, collaborative organization that dollar-for-dollar positively impacts the Francis Family Foundation’s own long-term community outcome for Arts and Culture: “To support development of the greater Kansas City area as a creative community recognized as a regional hub for excellence in arts and culture, rich with expression of diverse cultures and affording access to all levels of creative participation.”
The Charlotte Street Foundation was established more than a decade ago in response to needs articulated by artists and those who saw the arts as a valuable creative, social and economic resource to the city. In spite of a rich creative environment, it was feared that Kansas City was losing many of its artists because so few important vehicles for valuable early- and mid-career recognition were offered. Opportunities for exhibition and critical reviews were severely limited. There was no coordinating body with credibility among artists taking the lead in actively promoting individual artists and collaboration among disciplines.
Charlotte’s Street vision for the future included a vibrant artist-friendly, artist-supporting city. To that end, the provide annual cash awards to visual and generative performing artists, provide free studios as performance and exhibition spaces, coordinate public exposure, provide educational, and professional development and advocate and plan on behalf of artists with philanthropic, business and civic leaders.
The mission and vision of The Charlotte Street Foundation mirrors the Francis Family Foundation’s Strategic Plan especially as it promotes and sustains regional excellence in the arts, enables greater access, enhances a nurturing environment for training and development, and supports public engagement and advocacy efforts. In the early years, they received grants through the “Small Arts Grants Fund” as a grassroots arts organization with a budget under $300.000.