Kansas City Big 5: Moving UMKC’s World-Class Arts Programs to a New Downtown Location.
Champion: Leo Morton, Chancellor, University of Missouri-Kansas City
This “Big Idea” calls for relocating UMKC’s performing and visual arts programs — including the renowned UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance — to a new downtown location. By moving the campus downtown, it leverages new and existing
assets including the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Crossroads Arts District.
A campus close to the emerging cultural district would be mutually beneficial for UMKC and the entire region. Downtown Kansas City would gain added vibrancy by bringing as many as 1,000 students, faculty and staff into the heart of
America’s creative crossroads, to learn, live and perform there. In addition, UMKC’s heralded arts programs would gain great opportunities to offer much-needed improvements to their facilities.
That’s not all. UMKC leaders believe a downtown arts campus could offer new and creative ways to integrate culture into the curriculum of every student, enhancing their education and creating the next generation of arts lovers in our regions. In addition, the Big 5 goal calls for helping to position UMKC’s arts programs in the top 10 nationally.
So why focus on the arts?
For one, Kansas City needs a great urban university, as outlined in The Time to Get It Right report put forward by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Second, a UMKC Downtown Arts Campus would help maximize the economic impact
of arts in the area, which currently realizes a $278 million boost annually from regional arts and culture organizations. And third, arts and culture is a key driver in terms of tourism and public relations.
This Big 5 idea will hopefully move UMKC’s arts programs AND the downtown to the next level of excellence.