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Kansas City

Reengaging the Cultural Sector in Kansas City

Bloomberg Associates was enlisted by Kansas City to help strengthen the role of arts and culture in the city and better showcase its many institutions.

 

Arts and culture play an integral role in civic life and provide the education, economic development and vitality, which will move our city onto the world stage, where it belongs.

Sylvester “Sly” James, Former Mayor of Kansas City

Relevant Expertise

Advance a Vibrant Arts and Creative Sector

  • Cultural Promotion

Enhance City Communications and Resident Engagement

  • Digital and Social Media

Spur Business and Industry Growth

  • Tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) Attraction

Challenge

Kansas City and its Mayor recognized the vital role that arts and culture play in the creative economy. Yet despite an abundance of creative talent and energy, this sector was underserved and the city’s cultural tourism was not being optimized. The Kansas City Mayor’s Office engaged Bloomberg Associates to help them tap into their assets and enhance the economic opportunities that stem from arts and culture.

KC Cultural Services

Approach

Bloomberg Associates was engaged by the City to support the establishment of the new Office of Creative and Cultural Services (OCCS), the City’s first office dedicated to advancing culture. The team helped to guide the City’s search for a Director, and then worked with OCCS to develop early priorities that aligned with the Mayor’s goals, including the development of a signature festival and expanding cultural tourism offers.

To better understand and assess the opportunities, wants and needs of Kansas City’s nonprofit and cultural organizations, Bloomberg Associates created the first-ever cultural survey, jointly administered by OCCS and Visit KC, Kansas City’s tourism bureau. The survey offered a roadmap for the development of programs, which led to the launch of a social media forum and a reception to bring the city’s cultural institutions together at an event hosted by OCCS, VisitKC and the Mayor.

The team also worked with OCCS to create Kansas City’s first-ever large-scale cultural event to drive tourism and economic impact. Originally envisioned as a three-day festival, KC Open Spaces spanned nine weeks and featured free artwork from local and international artists that was installed across Kansas City. It also included free and ticketed events such as concerts, dance and other performances. The event drew more than 65 art collectors and gallery owners from 10 states and was featured in multiple national outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast Traveler.

Impact

The multi-step approach of the Bloomberg Associates team helped to establish arts and culture as an important piece of Kansas City’s economy. By engaging the city’s cultural institutions and understanding their needs, the Mayor’s Office was able to better serve not only the organizations and foster closer relationships with them, but also provide a better experience for visitors to Kansas City’s cultural institutions. KC Open Spaces brought international recognition to Kansas City’s creative community, and some pieces from the festival have remained on display as an extension of the original festival.

KC Open Spaces

Metrics

$500K city funds secured for newly created Office of Cultural and Creative Services

9 weeks Kansas City festival Open Spaces KC, launched in 2018 featuring public art, musical and dance performances, film, food and local goods

1.4M impressions on Open Spaces outlets