While not too surprising, Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services was eliminated from the fiscal year 2021 budget.
The importance of this office, and its intended potential to accelerate outside services and projects into Kansas City, would have been a boon to the local arts ecosystem. However, unintended consequences, including the global pandemic, was not strong enough to withstand a “no” vote from Mayor Quinton Lucas and the City Council.
The office’s proposed elimination, and what the effect would be on the artist’s community, was previously discussed here.
An email by Director of Creative Services, Megan Crigger. sent today says,
As many of you know, the Mayor and City Council of Kansas City, Missouri voted to eliminate the Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS). I want to thank all of you who reached out to voice support for the office, both personally, and to the Mayor and City Council at the public hearings in February and March.
It’s been an honor to have served this City as the Director of Creative Services, to have worked with you, and to have grown to know the many talents and treasures of this City. I am proud of the work that our office has achieved in partnership with so many of you. Yet, there is still so much work to be done to realize the vision that this community articulated through the cultural planning process. The plan itself was a marker in time of priorities.
The OCCS staff will be available through April 30, 2020, which is the end of the fiscal year. The Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund (NTDF) will continue to operate under the direction of the Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department after April 30, 2020. Rob Loya will still to be your contact for the program and can be reached at Robert.Loya@kcmo.org. NTDF information will continue to be available at kcmo.gov/ntdf.
Priorities will continue to evolve, and we encourage you to remain engaged in the process of including arts and culture in the life of the City. Your work drives the strength of the creative economy, as well as the success of Kansas City.
Please continue to dream big and continue to work together, supporting each other to realize every creative individual’s success and prosperity in Kansas City. Be well and stay safe.
Kansas City’s arts community continues to receive blow after blow to its financial and social infrastructure. With times especially difficult for everyone, this vote of no confidence makes that much harder for the artists and makers of Kansas City.