Literary Arts Thrive Through Art@Work

ArtAtWorkSince its inception, the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City’s Art@Work program has encouraged area companies to exhibit various types of visual art created by their employees.  In 2008, at the prompting of several writers from DST Systems Inc., the Arts Council launched the “On Page” portion of Art@Work, establishing its commitment to the literary arts. To test the interest level from other companies, the Arts Council first offered a Haiku competition and asked employees to describe Kansas City.

“We expected a lot of poems about the Plaza, the river, and downtown that first year. We had to laugh when we received entry after entry about potholes and road construction!

It must have been a big year for MoDOT,” said Kelly Seward, director of business programs for the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.

Since then, the literary portion of Art@Work has expanded to include a variety of categories, each of which is intended to encourage the burgeoning writer as well as showcase the talents of those more advanced in the genre.
According to Seward, each participating company hosts its own in-house literary competition, posting entries on Intranet sites or distributing printed chapbooks. The first-place winners in each category advance to the citywide competition and are published in the annual Art@Work catalog. As with the visual arts, a group of local literary professionals select “Best in Show” awards for each category, while the general public selects the “People’s Choice” winner.

For 2012, the Arts Council is partnering with the Writer’s Place to offer a series of free workshops to employee authors. These workshops will challenge employees to exercise their writing skills, receive feedback about their existing works and to learn about local authors. Among other employee-enrichment activities, there will be opportunities for visits to the Blue Room to experience spoken-word poetry.

For Art@Work 2012, participating employee writers can submit entries in the following seven categories:
• Open-Verse Poetry
• Magnetic Poetry®
• 8-Word Story
• Fictional Short Story
• Creative Non-Fiction
• “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” (a writing based on a pre-selected work of art from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art)
• Story Chain (a story written collectively by a group of authors)

Companies wanting more information about participating in Art@Work can visit www.artskc.org or contact Kelly Seward at 816-994-9226 or seward@artskc.org.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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