Arts Trek ArtsKC Fund Awards Luncheon
January 27, 2012 at Starlight Theatre
Written by Bryan Colley and Tara Varney
Starring Jay Coombes, Kevin Albert, and Jayson Chandley
Support urged for the arts in KC
by Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star
Kansas City will live long and prosper if it continues to support its vibrant arts community.
The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City borrowed that message Friday for its Star Trek-themed annual ArtsKC Awards luncheon, kicking off its 2012 ArtsKC Fund campaign. The effort aims to raise $420,000 in workplace contributions.
The event on the Starlight Theatre stage took square aim at Gov. Sam Brownback’s elimination last year of nearly $700,000 in funds for the Kansas arts commission, which rippled into the loss of $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
The message was that loss of government funding makes it even more important for private donors to support artists and arts organizations.
Government employees of Johnson County were honored for the “most improved” workplace giving campaign last year.
Employees at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art also were recognized for their contributions. Other award winners for contribution levels or employee participation in 2011 were Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Stinson Morrison Hecker, McCownGordon Construction and Shook Hardy & Bacon.
Don Dagenais, senior real estate attorney at Lathrop & Gage and longtime volunteer for many arts organizations, earned a standing ovation when he received the Arts Council’s Virtuoso Award for his volunteer support of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, among other groups.
The Downtown Council of Kansas City received the Impact Award for leading the creation of a public/private partnership that renovated Union Station’s Power House building to house the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity.
Recipients received awards designed by Caleb McCandless, a local visual artist who works in oil, copper and magnetized steel filings to create three-dimensional work.
The event featured local performers Dance Star, Sheri Hall, Black House Improvisors’ Collective, Octarium, and three actors, Jay Coombes, Kevin Albert and Jayson Chandley, playing Star Trek characters.
The ArtsKC Fund raises money for area arts organizations, arts programs and individual artists. This year’s campaign runs until June 15.
In its first five years, the campaign raised about $2.5 million, 85 percent of which has been returned to the community in grants.