TKC EXCLUSIVE!!! NEW KANSAS CITY BUDGET ELIMINATES OFFICE OF CULTURE & CREATIVE SERVICES & REBUKES FORMER MAYOR SLY'S SKETCHY OPEN SPACES 'ARTS CONVERGENCE' EFFORTS!!!
Whilst the current administration is focused on "equity" via freebie bus rides & affordable housing crackdowns on landlords, the legacy of Mayor Sly James is quickly being erased given that there's no money for his artistic idealism.
Once again our blog community points us to a line carefully hidden in the budget transmittal letter:
"The Office of the City Manager . . . Eliminates the Office of Culture and Creative Services."
Translation . . .
THE LAST WORD ON 'OPEN SPACES' IS A THROWAWAY LINE ITEM AND BRUTAL SHUT DOWN OF THE OFFICE IN CHARGE OF THE FAILED ARTISTIC FESTIVAL!!!
For those who don't remember "Open Spaces" - it was billed as "Kansas City’s newest arts event, a multisensory, cross-cultural experience featuring performers and artists from both around the world and close to home."
Open Spaces was also a resounding flop.
Attendance was lackluster. The event ran a deficit near one million bucks and vendors were unpaid months after the festival ended.
From a nearly empty concert in the Autumn cold . . .
To a bunch of crackpot exhibits and poetry reading scattered throughout Kansas City . . . This public arts installation extravaganza was dutifully hyped by the local mainstream media and a few corrupt "influencers" who eek out a living by spamming social media BUT overall the public wasn't interested.
And so the shut down of the Office of Culture and Creative Services now puts director Megan Crigger at a career crossroads.
She was front and center at the outset of the artsy endeavor but faded out of sight as the festival began . . . Her EPIC salary comprises the majority of the office budget and she'll probably, hopefully get offered another position in City Hall but her tenure as a department leader is now complete.
More importantly . . .
THE CULTURE & CREATIVE SERVICES SHUT DOWN REJECTS FORMER MAYOR SLY'S ARTSY AMBITION FOR KANSAS CITY!!!
The festival wasn't just his idea and one of his final city-wide efforts, Open Spaces "fulfilled one of ten goals of the KCMO Arts Convergence Plan, the City’s 10-year community cultural plan."
From the "KCMO Arts Convergance" manifesto:
"The City is at a pivotal juncture in its cultural development and this plan focuses on the public role – the municipality – in the future development of the cultural life of the City. KCMO Arts Convergence is a result of community leaders who recognize that the City government and the community are now in a position to make a major advance in cultural development."
Now . . .
ARTSY PAYOUTS HAVE BEEN CUT AND THIS TOWN'S SO-CALLED 'CREATIVE CLASS' NO LONGER ENJOY THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT SPOTLIGHT!!!
It was fun while it lasted but the reality is that the rising cost of studio space and that poor, young woman getting shot in the head at First Friday brought the artsy focus of this town to a tragic conclusion.
Also worth noting . . .
The Submitted Budget also removes $175,000 for the Film Commission . . . Even in the Netflix era, Hollywood isn't coming to Kansas City.
Accordingly . . .
As we move toward a divisive 2020 election year, this cowtown can no longer afford to waste cash on frivolous art festivals and celebrate the creative class above and beyond working stiffs.
The local art scene will no longer enjoy overwhelming public subsidy and eccentric souls must be truly creative and/or rely on rich parents in order to finance their expression.
The legacy of "Open Spaces" and "Arts Convergence" is now nothing more than a fond memory with only an oddball pink tree in Swope Park left behind to remind of us this town's failed gambit at pretending to be Austin, Portland or some place inherently weird but not as strapped for cash.
Developing . . .