Costume design by Mariel Reynolds — a 2016 Inspiration Grant recipient.

Inspiration Grants from the ArtsKC Fund are an investment in human capital, providing direct support to individual artists and arts professionals for projects and activities that have the potential to advance their careers and build their capacity for future work.

For resources and upcoming deadlines, please see Inspiration Resources.

Current Inspiration Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the 12 artists below who received funding as part of the ArtsKC Fund Campaign:

Adrienne Walker Hoard, Berlin Biennale Photography Workshops ($1,200)

adrienneWallkerThis Inspiration Grant funds visual artist Adrienne Walker Hoard to attend the 4th Annual Berlin Biennale for Fine Art and Documentary Photography, where one of her photos has been recognized as a finalist for the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for international women photographers. While in Berlin, Ms. Hoard will attend workshops offered by two master photographers, attend lectures and review photography portfolios. Attending this event will further her career through study of the practices of some of the best photographers in the world, and by providing the opportunity to make valuable international connections.

Cheryl Eve Acosta, GIA Comprehensive CAD/CAM Certificate ($1,200)

AcostaThis Inspiration Grant will fund Cheryl Eve Acosta to take an eight-week certificate course at the Gemology Institute of America GIA in New York City to learn the use of CAD/CAM software for jewelry designers.  With extensive opportunities for hands-on classroom instruction and practical application, the course will provide the skills and experience necessary to adopt new methods of design and production to expand the range of her work and start a new line of lower-cost pieces for higher volume of sales. The Inspiration Grant funding will help pay for part of the GIA CAD/CAM software license, travel, shipping costs of tools, and other expenses related to the experience.

David Wayne Reed, Shelf Life ($1,500)

934731_935435249905876_6910671733935843558_nDavid Wayne Reed is a writer and storyteller.  His new project Shelf Life is a bi-monthly live storytelling event featuring an array of unique objects from the region and the stories behind them. Shelf Life is a new take on the show-and-tell concept that focuses on the stories of our belongings, to demonstrate the power of storytelling in increasing the value of our objects. The Inspiration Grant funding will seed the launch of Shelf Life, with the goal of becoming sustainable and then expanding to online platforms and beyond.

Erin Zona, SGCI Conference Attendance and Research Completion ($1,200)

erinErin Zona is the founder of Zz School of Printmaking, an informal educational initiative that aims to create opportunities for artists and educators and to expand the role of printmaking in the visual arts. Erin Zona will chair a panel at the Southern Graphics Council International based on recent research about L. Frank Baum and his early printmaking career.  Inspiration Grant funding will support the completion of the research for the paper and cover travel expenses and conference fees.

Hillary Sametz, CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding and Community Music Program ($1,800)

Hillary Sametz, a music therapist, will attend CONTACT, a two-week peace-building and community music healing training program run jointly by the SIT Graduate Institute, and Musicians Without Borders (MWB). The program develops skills in musicianship, leadership, verbal/non-verbal communication, and nonviolence. The Inspiration Grant funding will be used to attend the CONTACT Program at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, to host a community music training session in Kansas City for music therapists, music educators, and other community healers and to host a community music healing event in Kansas City.

Ashley Miller, Echosis – An Opera for Stage and Screens ($1,000)

Echosis is a new feature length operatic work, composed by J. Ashley Miller and performed by the Atemporchestra in late 2016. This production will use the Narcissus mythos as a framework to explore contemporary cultural practices of self-love, self-lust, and the internalization of the muse. The live production will be staged in the Heim building in Kansas City’s East Bottoms and will be filmed to create a feature length “live” film. The Inspiration Grant Funding would go directly towards the technology required to generate the real-time 3D version of Narcisuss, an HD facial recognition camera, facial tracking software, and a dedicated computer to run the system.

Jon Brick, Mother In Charge: A Documentary Feature Film ($2,000)

“Mother In Charge” is a feature documentary film about a Kansas City, MO mother struck by the tragedy of her son’s murder who takes a stand against homicide and gun violence. Through his film Jon Brick hopes to inspire people to come forward and help authorities solve crimes, without having to worry about their own safety. The Inspiration Grant Funds will be used for expenses for phase one of the overall cost of the documentary film.


Kim Eichler-Messmer, Natural Dye Workshop ($1,200)

Kim Eichler-Messmer, a textile artist and teacher, has been dyeing fabric as part of her studio practice for over 15 years; she will attend a 5-day workshop on natural dyes, taught by Michel Garcia, at the Textile Center of Minnesota.  Garcia, a botanist, chemist, dyer, and naturalist, is one of the leading dye experts in the world and rarely teaches in the United States. The Inspiration Grant funds would cover travel costs to attend the workshop, a membership fee to the Textile Center of Minnesota, and workshop supplies. Kim plans to share the new techniques that she learns there with local studios and students.

Marcie Miller Gross, GlogauAIR Residency in Berlin and Research in Stockholm & Copenhagen ($1,000)

Marcie Miller Gross, a full-time artist of over 25 years, plans to travel to Berlin for a two month artist residency at the GlogauAIR residency in Kreuzberg to share dialogue and stimulus while working in the Berlin contemporary art scene. The Inspiration Grant Funding will be used for travel to and from Berlin, studio fees and meals for the GlogauAIR residency, and travel by train for additional research to see an industrial felt mill in Bamberg, and the work of specific artists, architects and collections in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Mariel Reynolds, Fugue ($700)

Mariel Reynolds’ circus film project, Fugue, is a contemporary version of the Cinderella story that explores finding personal strength through adversity, challenges antiquated fairy tale romantic ideals, and examines the facades put up by people in the pursuit of acceptance and admiration.  The Inspiration Grant Funds will go specifically towards costuming needs for the project.  The costume design calls for opulent, detailed, couture-style circus pieces which require extra labor and materials, and the Inspiration funds will be focused on the needs of the Ball scene, where all characters will be in lavish, extravagant costumes.

Miki Baird, Art Omi International Residency Program ($1,200)

Miki Baird will attend the Art Omi International Artist Residency in Ghent, NY, where she will work on a project of deconstructing and examining the fragmented remains of her parent’s junk mail as re-contextualizing information, “a curiously enigmatic endowment of broken down material.” While in residency she will be focusing on enhanced methods of material deconstruction and material application relevant to this body of work. Inspiration Grant Funds will assist with expenditures for the Art Omi Residency Program. This is an important opportunity to place her work in front of professional critics, curators and gallerists who otherwise would not see her work.

Rachelle Gardner-Roe, Femin Is: Portrait of Kansas City Feminism Then and Now ($1,000)

Femin • Is will be an equal part local history project, part contemporary examination, and part visual exhibition. This project fuses emotional, political, and theoretical concerns with the creative process and resultant work by the artist. The Inspiration Grant Funding will enable Rachelle Gardner-Roe to complete several key components of this multi-faceted project, including research about and interviews with artists and activists engaged with the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970’s in the Kansas City area. The multi-pronged approach will endeavor to show how the historically and nationally significant cultural shift affected Kansas Citians, despite the distance from cultural hotspots such as New York.


Past Recipients

2015 Round III Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

ArtsKC 2015 Grant Recipients

Round II Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

Round I Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2014 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2014 Inspiration Grants By Discipline

2013 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2013 Inspiration Grants by Discipline

2012 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2011 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2010 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.

2007-2009 Inspiration Grant Recipients – Includes grant descriptions.