In November 2015, the Board of Directors approved 70 grants totaling $985,125 in support of arts and culture organizations and programs in the Greater Kansas City area. This amount is more than $200,000 greater than the amount of grants awarded in 2014.
Highlights from a list of 16 one-year grants (made to large and midsize arts and culture organizations for $535,000) include an expanded emphasis on arts integration as reflected by the following:
- A new $75,000 grant to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art supporting the School and Educator Services division. This grant will build the Museum’s capacity to reach out to schools throughout the region with Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) training. VTS is a method of teaching that engages students in critical thinking skills through the arts. As a teaching tool, teachers and students can use VTS in any subject.
- An expanded grant to The Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education. This organization is growing advocacy efforts throughout the state and is the principle architect of the A+ pilot program. Two schools are implementing the project, which infuses the arts throughout all subjects school-wide (based on the Oklahoma A+ model).
- Additional funding to Kansas City Young Audiences to support linkage among Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives and the arts. Often called STEM to STEAM, this work will bring together programs like Project Lead the Way (a STEM focused curriculum used broadly throughout the KC area) and KCYA’s work in bringing arts to K-12 education.
Fourteen multi-year grants to large and mid-size arts organizations approved in 2014 continued, totaling $140,000 in 2015 payments. Examples include the American Jazz Museum, ArtsTech, Kemper Museum, Heartland Men’s Chorus, Lyric Opera Education Programs, and the Performing Art Series at Johnson County Community College. A grant to KCPT of $50,000 approved in May also continues to help support their arts and culture coverage, such as “Arts Upload,” on the television, radio, website and in the community.
The Foundation continued the annual Small Arts Grant Fund supporting small arts groups and community-based arts programs. The Small Arts Committee recommended and the Board approved 39 grants of $260,125 contributing toward a diverse and vibrant arts scene in the region. Some examples of first-time grantees include La Marcha Touring, Black Archives of Mid-America, KC Wordshop, Mutual Musician’s Foundation International, KC Melting Pot Theatre, Ensemble Ibérica, Kansas City Women’s Chorus, Northeast Community Center, and Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare.
In addition to the $985,125 total is the matching grant of $500,000 to the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance downtown campus also approved at the November meeting. The Foundation is optimistic the matching contingencies on the UMKC Conservatory grant will be met in 2016 to release the first capital payment. Not included in the 2015 total are payments on capital campaigns approved prior to 2015.
A listing of the arts and culture grants can be found below. If you have questions, please contact program officer Lyn Knox at 816-531-0077.