ArtsKC will aim for $500,000 in donations this year from its annual fundraising campaign to support arts organizations and artists in the Kansas City area.
The goal sets the bar 20 percent higher than the campaign’s 2014 giving, but organizers are confident that the improved economy will boost the workplace-tied effort. Several area companies already have seeded the 2015 fund with $100,000.
ArtsKC Regional Arts Council established the annual campaign eight years ago. Since then it has raised $3.1 million and distributed grants to 719 arts organizations and individual artists.
This year’s campaign began at the council’s annual awards luncheon Friday and runs until June 15. Information is at artskc.org.
The event was held under an “unleash the power” theme, emphasizing the economic importance of the arts.
A 2011 study co-sponsored by ArtsKC estimated the annual economic impact of the area’s arts organizations at $273 million. It said arts organizations at the time were responsible for $22 million in state and local taxes and the equivalent of 8,346 full-time jobs. The study will be updated in 2016.
ArtsKC CEO Harlan Brownlee told 550 patrons at the event, held on the Starlight Theatre stage, that artists have been a leading economic development force in Kansas City. He particularly noted conventions that are being held in Kansas City because of the presence of local arts offices. And he pointed to the new ArtsKC headquarters in the Crossroads Arts District, the epicenter of redevelopment by local artists.
Ron Sloop, representing one of this year’s award winners, Mersoft, an Overland Park-based software engineering firm, said his company believes that “art and technology go hand in hand.” He said a community with strong arts attracts high-tech talent, which is a key to further economic development.
As previously announced by ArtsKC, other organizations receiving awards for support of the arts were Hint, Dimensional Innovations, Stinson Leonard Street and Bank of America. Individuals receiving honors were Ed Peterson, Mauricio Zuniga and Brad Nicholson.
The 2015 ArtsKC fundraising drive will include a May 1 block party in the Crossroads, to be part of the community’s First Friday events.