The City of Kansas City, Mo., is putting its money where its mouth is in support of local artists.
Moving forward, artists will be eligible to receive funding through a micro-lending program, piloting to support the growth and stability of their creative practice.
Created through a collaboration between the city, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and AdvanceKC, the program will accommodate artists’ specific needs by preparing customized microloans through Justine Petersen, a nonprofit lending agency.
The funds available for artists are an extension of Justine Petersen’s existing microloan program for small businesses in the KC area. Artists can borrow anywhere from $500 to $50,000 on a five-year note with interest rates between 8 percent and 14 percent. Justine Petersen’s current average loan size for the Kansas City market is around $8,800, said Lisa Zimmerman, a small business loan officer with the nonprofit.
Zimmerman confirmed that there is a fund earmarked specifically for Kansas City, Mo. artists, but that the loans aren’t limited to those funds. Funding is available to any type of artist in Kansas or Missouri including painters, sculptors, actors and vocalists. The first loan closed earlier this week in the amount of $4,700 for a local performing artist.
The City of Fountains views this program as one of several steps toward identifying the business needs of the arts community, and as an investment in the city as a whole.
“Being able to retain artists in the City of Kansas City makes for better quality of life,” said Megan Crigger Director of Creative Services for the City of Kansas City, Mo. “We talk about it in terms of economic development and there are numbers behind how this is an important part of our economy, but also how it relates to people’s lives and where they live. It’s a personal connection, and we’re saying as a city that we value it greatly. Being able to provide support in this way is incredibly important to us.”
To learn more, attend an informational meeting on July 8, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.