Develop Arts Programming at a Community Venue and Partner with the Constructing Futures Program

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Catalyst Projects > Marlborough Village Commercial Revitalization > Develop Arts Programming at a Community Venue & Partner with the Constructing Futures Program

The initial goal for this opportunity is to develop arts programming at a community venue that will engage neighborhood children at an early age – to teach them creative skills that will provide: motivation, character development, transferable employment skills, and incentives to make their school and community a better place.

This process has already begun with the implementation of new visual arts programming (Real Deal Artists with Bonnye Brown) at the Community Center, working with young children (grades 1-5) and teens (grades 6-12). (Programming began October 2013 in partnership with the Parks & Rec. Department)

The second part of this process is also in motion – to initiate a pilot version of an El Sistema style music -training program at Center Elementary School, in partnership with Heartland Chamber Music, and musicians Kei Fukuda and Sarah Kim.

A long-term component of this opportunity is to create a venue in the community (“Partner with Constructing Futures Program…”) that will house such programming in an expanded capacity, create a live-work space for a community artist/visiting resident artist, and eventually provide arts programming for adults and seniors in the community – an Arts House.

An additional opportunity provided by such a venue would be to develop a train-the-trainer program in which residents with crafts and professional skills will be given training and encouragement to offer small-scale classes in their immediate neighborhood. This could range from music lessons, to quilting, to bread-making, gardening, even how to build a resume.

Even longer-term, a goal would be to connect with the repurposing of Marlborough School as a possible location for these initial programs. This would vacate the Art House and open it up as a venue for community programming and artist residencies, and for offering formal classes focusing on community building and beautification. The kinds of programs that could run here would be great candidates for NTDF or ReBUILD KC funds. Sample classes could be: creating birdhouses for neighborhood garden plots, building inventive and attractive trash receptacles, benches or planters, making healthy, positive rap music, handcrafts like ceramics, woodworking, quilting or knitting, learning to dance – belly dancing, cooking, photography, how to take pictures of food, how to make terrariums, learning aquaponics/hydroponics, computers, reading with kids. or making/using puppets.

As an additional benefit, the Art House would create a neighborhood space to gather for projects, performances, music practice, etc.

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:

Implementation pathway:

1. Engage with Bonnye Brown and the programming she is now offering at the Community Center, to support her progress and involve her students in community opportunities. Support the Parks Department in continuing the programming.

2. Continue to meet with Kei Fukuda, Sarah Kim and Vicki Olson to help shape the music training program, and engage school principals in the discussion when appropriate.

3. Set up Center Elementary as immediate venue for music training program.

4. Work with Constructing Futures Program to identify a building (residential or commercial) in or around the Marlborough Village for rehabilitation, providing space for the running of the music program, performances and residential space for an artist.

5. Work with Fukuda, Kim, Olson and others to secure funding for the short and long-term operation of the programming/residency space.

6. If the music programming thrives and can move to Marlborough School, or if it is not successful, work with local arts agencies to identify an artist to occupy the Art House who will: use the space for personal artwork; develop and offer community-oriented programming in the space; identify other artists and community members who will visit the space for programming; and help identify additional sources of programming and provide documentation to secure the long-term advancement of the facility and programming.

Champions and their roles:

Bonnye Brown – Visual  Artist/Community Arts Teacher,

Kei Fukuda, Musician, teacher

Sarah Kim, Musician, El Sistema training

Jeph Burroughs Scanlon – community resident, music connection, works with Jackson County, former connections to Constructing Futures program

Brenda Thomas & Betty Ost Everley have music training and are very supportive of the El Sistema program idea

Terry Rynard – Parks Department – contracting with Bonnye at Marlborough Community Center

Brian Thomas, Director of the Marlborough Community Center

Vicki Olson Heartland Chamber Music (Possible funding source for El Sistema teaching component)

Stacey Heard King, Principal Center Elementary (host music program)

Sharon Nibbelink, Principal Center Alternative School (host music program and assist with student ‘tutors’)

Calvin Williford, Chief of Staff Jackson County Executive – contact for Constructing Futures facility for a future El Sistema facility/arts programming and residency site

Partner organizations:

KCMO Parks and Recreation Department

Center School District


Heartland Chamber Music

Jackson County Constructing Futures Program

Funding sources or supportive programs:

Vicki Olson Heartland Chamber Music (Possible funding source for El Sistema teaching component)

Arts KC Inspiration Grant to support Fukuda/Kim performance in the neighborhoods. Applications March, July, November: Inspiration Grants from the ArtsKC Fund are an investment in human capital, providing direct support to individual artists and arts professionals for projects and activities that have the potential to advance their careers and build their capacity for future work.

Rocket Grants for Kim/Fukuda programming components

MAAA grant (requires matching funds, up to $15,000) funding for civic projects

NTDF (reimbursement), quarterly and annually would be a good fit for the arts programming

ReBUILD KC – can be matched by volunteer time, in-kind or professional service donations

Awesome Foundation (create a group of ten funders who would pledge $100 each a month for one year. Create a series of projects/residencies, one a month for a year, funded by the $1000 raised)


El Sistema

Project for Public Spaces

The Art House in Hyde Park, The Pink House in Pagedale, St. Louis

Theaster Gates

Rick Lowe/ Project Row Houses

Matthew Mazzotta Open House

Gaia Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Ubuntu Village, Mannheim)

Steven Curtis’ Epic Arts studio in Strawberry Hill

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