Our Town

Metropolitan Arts Council of Greater Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri

$200,000

2011

The Metropolitan Arts Council of Greater Kansas City was founded in 1999 to enhance local culture and strengthen the region through the arts. Kansas City’s metropolitan area has a population of roughly 2.1 million.

The art council's Our Town grant will support the predevelopment, design, and community planning phases of the restoration of the Boone Theater, located in Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz District. The district has an estimated residential population of approximately 7,000 people, 90 percent of whom are African-American. The project will transform a blighted, vacant space -- which currently separates critical venues from each other -- into a vibrant cultural center, strengthening the existing arts and cultural community in the process. The planning process will engage the neighborhood's cultural institutions, residents, and businesses in generating a vision for a facility that will honor John "Blind" Boone, the theater's namesake and an African-American concert pianist whose music bridged folk and ragtime traditions. Folk Alliance International, an organization that fosters and promotes folk music, dance, and related performing arts, is expected to occupy and manage the renovated theater.