The Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS) was established in 2015 to lead cultural development efforts for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The mission of the Office is to serve Kansas City residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture and creativity and by leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and cultural vitality for its citizens.
The creation of the office is a direct outcome of Mayor Sly James’ Task Force on the Arts and the convening of arts, civic and business leadership, involved in visioning processes that resulted in a community cultural plan, KCMO Arts Convergence Plan, adopted by the Mayor and City Council in late 2013.
The City will be strategic in preparing for continued cultural growth. Partnerships between the Office of Culture and Creative Services and for-profit and non-profit organizations are vital to the growth and development of the city’s arts sector. Investing time and resources in the arts will:
- Increase jobs in the creative sector
- Strengthen Kansas City’s communities and cultural identity
- Increase access to education and life-long learning in the arts, and
- Promote Kansas City as the heart of America’s Creative Crossroads and a destination for national and international visitors.
Get the latest news
To receive updates on OCCS Programs, subscribe to the Art and Culture newsletter. To receive Public Art Calls for Artists, Requests for Proposals or Requests for Qualifications, subscribe to the Public Art Opportunities newsletter. To receive news from other City Departments, visit the Subscribe to newsletters page.
Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund
Since May 2015, OCCS administers the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund (NTDF), which provides support to non-profit organizations to promote Kansas City’s distinct and diverse neighborhoods through cultural, ethnic, historic, educational, and recreational activities, thus promoting the City as a premier convention, visitor and tourist center.
Micro-Loans for Artists
ArtCap Micro-Loan Program: Inspired by the need for gap financing and capacity building of Kansas City artists, and in consultation with local artist and consultant Chris Dahlquist and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, the Office of Culture and Creative Services partnered with AltCap (a community development financial institution) to create a micro-loan for artist program. Launched in February 2016, the program is committed to supporting artists in their business development to support their arts practices.
Justine Petersen Micro-Loan Program: This program, piloted in partnership with Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City in June 2015, loaned $32,000 to nine artists. An additional appropriation of $400,000 was approved by City Council for artist loans.
Film Development Program
The purpose of the Film Development Program, a joint effort between the OCCS and Kansas City Film & Media Office (a part of VisitKC), is to increase the number of film productions in the City, increase and sustain the number of local jobs in the industry, strengthen the City’s national reputation as a place for creative businesses, and promote the unique features, characteristics and assets within Kansas City neighborhoods. This program was passed by City Council in February 2016 and officially launched on May 31, 2016. Information about the program, including eligibility and document requirements, is available at VisitKC.
Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience (August 25 – October 28, 2018)
Open Spaces 2018 was a new, two-month arts event that featured art installations in open spaces across the city, showcasing the city’s famed parks and boulevards, as well as urban spaces and existing arts and cultural venues. Art experiences included visual art and performances created by local, national and international artists. The event took place August 25 through October 28, 2018, with a hub of artistic activity in Kansas City’s largest park, Swope Park (October 12-14, 2018) and a network of additional venues throughout Kansas City.
Open Spaces 2018 was a collaboration between the City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services and a private arts initiative, to create an event that highlights Kansas City’s arts, culture and creativity, one of 10 goals included in the KCMO Arts Convergence Plan. Access the Post-Open Spaces Report for more information.
National Endowment for the Arts Creative Placemaking Projects/Opportunities
“Our Town” is the National Endowment for the Arts' creative placemaking grants program that supports projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Successful Our Town projects ultimately lay the groundwork for systematic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership between a local government entity and nonprofit organization, one of which must be a cultural organization; and should engage in partnership with other sectors (such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development). The following are projects that have been awarded NEA Our Town support:
West Bottoms Reborn (2016)
West Bottoms Reborn (WBR) was a 2016-2018 partnership between the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Design Center, Historic West Bottoms, Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the creative community. Funding for the project was provided by a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. The Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS), with the Kansas City Design Center as the project design team, used the grant for a collaborative process involving artists, community stakeholders, and city departments and policy-makers to address infrastructure and public space needs through arts-based strategies, to facilitate the design and production of art in public spaces, and shape policy that maintains the viability of artistic production in the West Bottoms. Visit the West Bottoms Reborn website for more information.
Charlotte Street Neighborhood Artists Residency (2017)
What began as an 18-month Neighborhood Artist Residency pilot program, evolved into a Community Blackbox venue, “Blackbox on Troost.” This startup residency program is driven by artists and community leaders from the Troost Corridor and the East side of Kansas City. “Blackbox on Troost,” hosts community theater performances, learning workshops, cross-disciplinary media collaborations and more. Cynthia Hardeman is the Program Director. Visit the Neighborhood Artists Residency page of the Charlotte Street Foundation website for more information.
Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) Study
Americans for the Arts (AFTA) released its Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5 (AEP5) Study in June 2017, which features national and regional findings, including 2015 data for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The following are just a few of the findings that show that communities that support the arts and culture are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.
The nonprofit arts and culture sector of the City of Kansas City, Missouri
- generates $244.2 million in total economic activity, or 88% of the economic impact for the entire Kansas City region.
- generates $220.8 million in household income to local residents.
- contributes 84% of the region’s nonprofit arts and cultural sector employment, supporting 7,515 full-time equivalent jobs. In addition, 7,616 volunteers donated a total of 346,465 hours, which represents a donation of time with an estimated aggregate value of $8,2 million.
- delivers $7.9 million in local government revenue and $10.9 million in state revenue.
- Also, tourists attending arts and cultural events in Kansas City, Missouri, spent an average of $31.18 per person. This compares to $21.74 per person for the average resident spend.
The AEP5 Kansas City, Missouri Report (36-page PDF) includes data collected from 133 of the 309 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Jackson County, representing a 43% participation rate. Access the brochure that includes Kansas City-Jackson County data. Infographics will be available soon.
The AEP5 KC Metro Report (37-page PDF) includes data collected from 91 of the 165 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Clay, Jackson, Platte, Johnson and Wyandotte counties, representing a 43% participation rate. Access the brochure that includes Kansas City Metro data. Infographics will be available soon.
The National Statistical Report (542-page PDF) includes data tables and detailed methodology. The report includes detailed economic findings from 341 communities and regions representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report excludes spending by individual artists and the for-profit arts and entertainment sector. Access the brochure and summary report that includes national data.
Artspace Arts Market Study
The OCCS and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC) partnered to contract with Artspace, the country’s leading developer of arts facilities, to conduct an arts market survey to assess the creative space needs of the arts, culture and creative sectors in Kansas City. A total of 616 participants completed the survey (515 individual artists/creatives and 101 arts/creative cultural organizations) that was conducted from October 25, 2016 through January 13, 2017. Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting and Strategic Partnerships at Artspace presented a report on survey findings to Mayor and City Council at the July 27, 2017 Business Session. View Holmes’ presentation and accompanying PowerPoint slides (large file; download may be slow).
This report is part of the second phase of an effort that began in March 2015 when Artspace representatives visited the City. A report on the visit was presented on October 1, 2015 to Mayor and City Council by Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting and Strategic Partnership. View Holmes’ Oct. 1, 2015 presentation to the Mayor and City Council.
Megan Crigger, Director of Creative Services
As the Director of Creative Services, Megan is responsible for uniting local, regional and international cultural organizations for the advancement of artistic and cultural initiatives within Kansas City, Missouri. The Director also facilitates cultural community planning, and relationships between artists, cultural organizations, and governmental and civic organizations.
Phone: (816) 513-2659
Consuelo Cruz, Arts Marketing Coordinator
Consuelo is responsible for the coordination of marketing strategies that promote the City’s dynamic arts and cultural activity. She also facilitates access to information and resources utilizing approaches that target residents, workers, visitors, artists and creative professionals.
Phone: (816) 513-3475
Robert Loya, Cultural Partnerships and Grants Manager
Robert manages the NTDF Program, facilitating the application, award and contract processes and serving as the point of contact for new and returning NTDF applicants. He also provides technical and contractual assistance to applicants and contractors, and support to the NTDF Committee, a council-appointed citizen advisory group that's responsible for the evaluation of NTDF applications and recommendation of awards.
Phone: (816) 513-3451