This past weekend, Centric Projects had the pleasure of sponsoring the Kansas City Art Institute’s bi-annual Art & Design Auction. The Auction raises needed scholarship funds for students attending a top ten national art college.
That’s right – top ten. That collection of buildings around 43rd and Oak Streets in Kansas City – the ones that most people assume are either part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, is actually a full-fledged four year higher education institution of art and design. It is nationally and indeed internationally acclaimed for its graduates and their work – people like Peregrine Honig, Brady Vest, Laura McGrew, and Cat Thomas. Unfortunately, 95% of these students require tuition assistance, so the sale of faculty and alumni art to support scholarships is a worthy endeavor – everyone loves art, right?
But it is so much more than that. Artists are not just creative types who have piercings, tattoos and funky clothes. They are the creators, the innovators, and the critical thinkers. They help create a city with an edge, vitality, diversity, and urbanity.
An edgy, vital, diverse, urban city attracts graduates from MIT, Stanford or the University of Michigan that crave the environment that a strong arts community creates. And these people are creative and innovative as well. And they start and build new companies in technology, health care, communications, media, and design. Then these companies grow, and recruit more creative, innovative thinkers. The city prospers and it becomes a virtuous cycle.
So maybe you appreciate art, or maybe you don’t. But you better appreciate artists and what they do for our city, our community, our economy, and our lifestyle. And in 2015, when the next Kansas City Art Institute Art & Design Auction rolls around, please go. Buy some art. And help create a great city.