As KC Studio’s founders, we are proud to be celebrating the magazine’s 10th Anniversary! We published KC Studio’s first edition in May 2008. On the cover was a rendering of what the downtown Kansas City landscape would look like with the completion of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which opened three years later.
The concept of KC Studio began during a discussion with Dave Lady at the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation about the importance of covering the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts in the metropolitan region.
“It sounds to me like there is a need for a venture capital investment to launch an art-infused bimonthly publication,” Lady observed during the discussion. We are thankful for initial support for the venture from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and Julia Irene Kauffman.
For the past 10 years, KC Studio has published more than 5,500 mentions or features on KC’s arts organizations, philanthropist’s and artists. A milestone occurred in 2011, when KC Studio launched a yearlong, highly successful promotion campaign called performARTS.
With funding from Bank of America and The Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, performARTS focused on six performing arts organizations, highlighting them in print, on KCPT’s “The Local Show” and through social media. The project’s impact on the six organizations proved the power of group promotion.
The success of performARTS led to the creation in 2013 of the Arts Consortium, a KC Studio partnership, underwritten by the Hall Family Foundation and others, with leading cultural organizations: American Jazz Museum, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, Harriman-Jewell Series, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City Public Library, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Through their dedicated pages in KC Studio, Arts Consortium members strengthen their branding and provide the magazine with a strong base of financial support. As part of the partnership, KC Studio is mailed to the organizations’ members and top donors — a list of 15,000 arts-savvy readers. Cross-marketing and weekly social media postings are added benefits to Arts Consortium members; their activities and events are also listed in KC Studio’s comprehensive online calendar launched in spring 2013. Now, five years later, KC Studio’s calendar averages 4,000 events, 700 venues and 600 organizational pages. We want to thank J.P. Morgan for their assistance in launching the most comprehensive arts calendar in the region.
The year 2015 brought great opportunity for KC Studio with the hiring of Alice Thorson, art critic for The Kansas City Star for 22 years, as the magazine’s editor. That same year KC Studio was donated to our 501 (c) (3), The Arts Engagement Foundation of Kansas City. Our goals at The Arts Engagement Foundation are to support education in the arts, heighten visibility and appreciation for artists and area arts organizations and increase attendance at cultural events.
Through KC Studio, The Arts Engagement Foundation provides informed coverage of KC’s vibrant arts scene — its organizations, the artists they present and the ideas that drive them.
We at KC Studio would not be able to celebrate our 10th Anniversary without the generous support from devoted foundations, advertisers, Emerging Arts Partners, Community Partners and collaborative partners. We salute our sales executives, who work with all our supporters.
We also owe a great debt to our many donors, and the fact that the list keeps growing in every issue tells us we must be doing something right!
And finally, KC Studio would not be here today without the organizations and individual artists who have made our product rich in content.
We thank everyone at KC Studio for our dynamic growth, from a slim 38-page magazine, to our average 144-page arts-infused journal that engages, and, we hope, surprises you with every issue!
H. Guyon Townsend III
President, Publisher & Founder