Artist INC, a program supporting hundreds of Kansas City artists, announced Thursday that it has new ownership and will further expand in the region.
Formerly a program of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, Artist INC is now housed and fully supported by the Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA).
A regional arts nonprofit, M-AAA serves Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Each year, M-AAA provides thousands of educational programs and performances for about one million children and adults in the Midwest.
The decision to spin off Artist INC into a new leadership will allow the career development program to expand its reach to more artists nationwide, said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center and KCSourceLink.
“Artist INC has spent the past 10 years testing its market, refining its products, and proving its sustainability and vital importance to local and regional artists,” Meyers said in a release. “Now, with the M-AAA, it enters a new era and a renewed promise of big market opportunities for artists nationwide.”
Originally launched in 2017 as KCArtistLink, Artist INC connects artists with resources, tools and educational opportunities to develop entrepreneurial thinking skills.
In 2013, the UMKC Innovation Center partnered with the Mid-America Arts Alliance to expand the reach of Artist INC in communities throughout the Midwest. The program is now available in such cities as Lawrence, Omaha, Tulsa, Austin, Houston, Springdale, Arkansas and others.
Carmen DeHart, director of outreach programs at UMKC Innovation Center, said that the center is proud of Artist INC for its momentum and growth.
“It’s made a real difference, helping our artists build sustainable and rewarding careers—and even businesses,” DeHart said in a release. “The opportunity to bring that proven program to a national platform can change the game for so many of our creators, makers and performers and help them not just live for their art, but to truly turn their art into a living.”
In addition to the UMKC Innovation Center, the program has received support from ArtsKC, the Charlotte Street Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Missouri Arts Council, Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Hallmark Cards, the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and others.
Programs in the UMKC Innovation Center include Whiteboard2Boardroom, Digital Sandbox KC, ScaleUP! Kansas City and the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center.
Here is more information on the available Artist INC programs:
Artist INC Live — an eight-week seminar focused on the professional development of emerging and mid-career artists
Artist INC Advance — for graduates of Artist INC Live, artists and peers work together to expand on their entrepreneurial skills and apply them to specific projects or pursuits
Artist INC Express — a two-day intensive workshop aimed to address the specific business challenges artists face
What Works — 120-minute workshops sharing the successful traits of artist entrepreneurs.