Thank you to everyone who was able to join us at the 14th Annual ArtsKC Awards Luncheon, February 23, 2017!  We hope you had a wonderful time and we are forever grateful for your support of our Kansas City Arts Community!

If you’re interested in sponsorship details for our 2018 event please contact Paige DuBay at

Special thanks go out to our 2017 Honorary Chair, Julia Irene Kauffman and 2017 Event Co-Chairs, Macaela Stephenson and Maria Maffry

Thank you Outpost Worldwide for the videos below:

Image taken from the 2017 Awards Luncheon. Photo credit: Rivas Photography

2018 Call for Nominations

The ArtsKC Awards Luncheon is a celebration of our regional arts community, providing recognition to those who unleash the power of the arts in unique, collaborative ways. Widely known as one of the “must attend” events of the year, the 2018 Awards Luncheon will host 1,000 guests at the Downtown Kansas City Convention Center Grand Ballroom.  Awards are open to all busineses, nonprofits, schools, districts, individuals and artists working within and around the KC metropolitan area. Finalists from the 2017 Awards Luncheon are ineligible to apply for one year. View Full Details

2017 Featured Artist

Rachelle Gardner-Roe


ArtsKC has selected Rachelle Gardner-Roe as the featured visual artist for the event. Her work utilizes unique methods of working with lace to create both detailed thread drawings as well as dynamic sculpture. She has been featured in international, national and regional exhibitions including The Mulvane Art Museum, The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and The Chautauqua Institution, among others.

“I am honored that my work will celebrate those who may not be standing alongside us in the studio, but who stand side by side with artists of all kinds in creating cultural richness, beauty and depth in our region,” states Gardner-Roe. “The work I will create will demonstrate that whether you label yourself as creative or not, your time and energy truly can be an electrifying force for the arts.”

Rachelle’s signature lace resin sculptures will be the focus of the pre-event exhibition.  Six unique works of art have been specially commissioned and will be presented as awards to the organizations and individuals honored at the event for their exemplary leadership in the arts.  Rachelle will also be designing original artwork to be displayed on all tables, creating a captivating atmosphere to mirror the energy of the cultural community.

Rachelle is an ArtsKC Now Showing artist, Artist Inc. fellow and a three-time ArtsKC Fund Inspiration Grant Recipient.

2017 Performers
MoonDrop Circus


MoonDrop Circus provides a stage for local Kansas City performers to engage the audience and inspire them to dream big, with an emphasis on creativity, collaboration, and professionalism in the circus arts. They provide an outlet in the heart of Kansas City to watch the circus arts evolve through frequent community performances.

Robin Rosenberger is owner, ringmaster, and performer for MoonDrop Circus. She specializing in both aerial and ground acrobatics as well as stilt walking, juggling and other circus skills. Robin has been a circus performer since 2008 and performs year around in private and public events both local to Kansas City and around the country for MoonDrop Circus and the Rosetta Sisters.

UMKC Conservatory of Music & Dance

Xiangyu Zhao


Studying piano with Dr. Robert Weirich, Mr. Xiangyu Zhao is currently in his second year of doctorate study at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As an international student coming from China, Mr. Zhao started to learn piano at the age of four and came to the United States in 2008. He approached his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Northern Colorado in 2013 under the study of Dr. Lei Weng.  Besides his study at school, Mr. Zhao participated several music festivals, including the International Keyboard and Institute& Festival at Mannes, where he had opportunities to take master classes with a number of outstanding professors and artists, such as Olga Kern, Jerome Rose, Nina Tichman, Norman Krieger, Logan Skelton, and Frank Weinstock. In addition to his piano study, Mr. Zhao has studied composition with Dr. Chen Yi as electives in UMKC since 2013. He has performed his own music and several works by composition students and faculty members in the Composers Guild and Music Nova concerts at UMKC. Xiangyu had also studied composition with Dr. Paul Elwood at the University of Northern Colorado.


The Kansas City Boys Choir

The Kansas City Boys Choir (KCBC) is a not for profit non-sectarian multicultural performing arts choir. The choir was founded in 1995 by the Executive Director, Ah’Lee Robinson. The choir was formed to provide an avenue for boys to provide music to the general public in all facets. The choir also serves as a catalyst for boys to learn social skills with emphasis on the “whole boy” with music becoming the by-product. Through music and supportive programs, we are able to teach our young men to become successful and productive members of the community. Additionally, KCBC members give back to the community. Each chorister is required to perform 30 hours of community service each year.

MoonDrop Circus, The UMKC Conservatory for Music & Dance and The Kansas City Boys Choir are Grant Recipients of the ArtsKC Fund.

2017 Award Nominees
Dr. Loretta Britton

As a fine art collector, musician, physician, businesswoman, leader and volunteer, Dr. Loretta Britton brings her wealth of talents to advocacy and building a city made better by the arts. Many arts organizations have benefited from her leadership including the Harriman-Jewell Series, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and the UMKC Conservatory of Music. We honor Dr. Britton for the many ways she makes our community a better place to create and live.


Dr. Ann Kenney

Dr. Ann Kenney represents the best of what it means to be an arts patron, leader and visionary for the arts. She has been instrumental in developing many local arts organizations. As a member of the Leawood Arts Council, she helped develop arts events and served as the Founding Chair of the Art in Public Places Initiative. We are honored to recognize Dr. Kenney for her numerous contributions to local arts and community organizations.


Lee Pentecost *

Tour the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and you may have the good fortune to encounter one of the museum’s true treasures — Lee Pentecost, a volunteer docent for 54 years, and still going strong. Lee is a walking encyclopedia of information and her specialty is 17th Century French art. She’s an exemplary teacher, a role model for new docents and an example of someone truly passionate about her work, inspiring everyone around her.



Mayor Michael Boehm

Mayor Michael Boehm and Lenexa City Council members Joe Karlin, Steve Lemons, Diane Linver, Thomas Nolte, Lou Serrone, Amy Slater, Andy Huckaba, and Mandy Stuke support the arts through the Lenexa Arts Council. They distribute funds for public art, gallery exhibits, grants, scholarships and innovative arts programs. Arts are a key feature in Lenexa’s new downtown at Lenexa City Center. We recognize this group for cultivating a rich arts culture in Lenexa.


Mark McHenry *

Mark McHenry is the city’s steward of art and cultural treasures. As Director of Parks and Recreation, he’s helped guide the renovation of iconic landmarks including Liberty Memorial and Starlight Theatre. By caring for multiple cultural venues including sculptures, monuments, memorials, statues and parks and boulevards, he and his team bolster our identity as a quality arts community. McHenry also served on the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts.


Dr. Larry Meeker

We recognize Dr. Meeker for his indelible contributions to arts advocacy. He worked diligently with a diverse Kansas Arts Industry’s Commission to better define the state’s role in the arts and bring meaningful programming to Kansans. Dr. Meeker helped secure adoption of a 1% for public art program for Johnson County and create an Arts & Heritage Center. He currently serves as Chairman of the Johnson County Public Arts Commission, Chairman of the Johnson County Museum and Chair of the Kansas Creative Art Industry’s Commission.



DeLaSalle Education Center *

DeLaSalle Education Center’s Arts and Culture Program encourages at-risk urban high school students to participate in the arts through curriculum from community partnerships, such as its partnership with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre after-school drama club. DeLaSalle teachers use creativity too by raising funds for arts-related projects through crowdfunding websites. The goal? Provide resources and a nurturing environment to encourage students’ creative thinking. We are proud to honor DeLaSalle for its vital program.


Fort Osage High School

The Fort Osage School District offers students national opportunities to explore the arts, such as taking visual arts students to Disney’s educational leadership class every two years. Locally, art students have produced campus art installations, and the school’s current honor student project features painting portraits of Zambian children and delivering the portraits to the children through a local mission. We honor the school district for engaging students in the arts.


University Academy

University Academy (UA) encourages arts appreciation by taking students to enriching events such as Kansas City Symphony rehearsals. And for three years running, a UA student artist has been accepted into the Kemper Museum’s “No Boundaries Team Art Initiative.”  Injecting arts education into this college-prep charter school curriculum has garnered recognition, including a U.S. News and World Report Bronze Award for four consecutive years. We honor UA for engaging students in the arts.



The HALO Foundation *

The HALO (Helping Art Liberate Orphans) Foundation provides housing, healing and education to youth in need. Since its founding in 2005, HALO has incorporated art therapy and art curriculum into its international and domestic partnerships. The Foundation works with orphanages and youth programs in countries like Uganda and Guatemala and serves several cities domestically. Partnerships in Kansas City include Operation Breakthrough. We honor the Foundation for helping at-risk youth at home and abroad.


Harmony Project KC

In 2015, Kansas City’s Northeast Community Center (NECC) launched Harmony Project KC, the fifth affiliate of Harmony Project Los Angeles, an arts-based, youth development and mentoring program that uses music education to keep underserved kids in a safe school environment while improving their social and academic outcomes. We honor NECC for helping reshape the landscape of music education and growing a diverse orchestra of young people in our community.


Summit Art

Summit Art (SA) began in 2004 as a place for artists to network, display and sell their work. Today, SA offers many community services including the annual Lee’s Summit art festival and summer art camps for kids. SA’s numerous community outreach programs include paint night fundraisers to give back to other nonprofits. We honor Summit Art for the many ways it serves as a visual arts resource for Eastern Jackson County.


Centric Projects

Since its inception in 2010, Centric Projects, located in the Crossroads, set out to be a creative business in a not-so-creative construction industry. The company’s three founding partners have made connecting to the arts community integral to their identity. They have featured local artists work and have showcased student art. They also open their doors to nonprofits for fundraising events. We recognize Centric Projects for contributing to Kansas City’s thriving, creative community.


JE Dunn Construction *

Since its founding in 1924, JE Dunn Construction Company has embraced creativity within its industry. The company constructed the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts; transformed Union Station’s historic powerhouse building into the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity; and built the Nelson-Atkins Museum’s Bloch addition, along with many other Kansas City arts treasures. We recognize JE Dunn for constructing buildings where art lives and for supporting our arts community through sponsorships.


Lead Bank

Lead Bank opened its Crossroads location in 2015, making it even easier to support the arts. Bank associates host art events during First Fridays and display artwork from Kansas City Art Institute students on their Community Art Wall. The Bank also supports the KCAI’s Sponsored Studio program, which allows students to produce work for local businesses. We recognize the bank for its active role including providing funding for our arts community.


Bank of Blue Valley *

The Bank of Blue Valley President and CEO Bob Regnier believes the arts have both an emotional and economic impact on our community, which is why the bank’s employees support the ArtsKC Fund.  Their fundraisers inject creativity into the bank’s corporate culture. During its ArtsKC Week, the bank hosts fun activities that raise money for the arts while allowing employees to personally connect to our arts community and to each other.

Lathrop & Gage LLP

Lathrop & Gage believes the arts are crucial to our quality of life, which is one reason its lawyers offer pro bono hours to local artists and arts groups, serve on nonprofit arts boards and volunteer their time at arts events. The firm has also provided ongoing, generous financial support to ArtsKC, as well as supporting many regional arts organizations. We recognize Lathrop & Gage for its commitment to the arts in our community.

Starlight Theatre

For 65 years, Starlight Theatre has been dedicated to producing and presenting excellence in musical theatre and the performing arts for diverse Kansas City’s audiences. Starlight also supports the arts with 11 education programs, including The Bob Rohlf Internship Program and the Blue Star Awards. In 2016, its Workplace Giving Campaign achieved 100% employee participation, so we recognize Starlight Theatre and its employees for enriching our community through the arts.

* Indicates Honorees
Previous Honorees
  • Arts Advocate Award – City Councilman Allan Gray, Lee’s Summit, MO
  • Education Award – Creative Co/Lab, Shawnee Mission East High School
  • Innovator Award – After School Arts Program, Mattie Rhodes Art Center
  • Creative Impact Award – Missouri Bank
  • ArtsKC Fund Excellence Award – BNIM
  • Virtuoso Award – Marilyn Strauss
  • Arts Advocate – Ed Peterson
  • Corporate Leader in the Arts – Brad Nicholson
  • Creative Industry – Dimensional Innovations
  • Creative Workspace – HINT
  • Impact Award – Mersoft
  • Virtuoso Award – Mauricio Zuniga
  • ArtsKC Fund Employee Commitment – Stinson Leonard Street LLP
  • ArtsKC Fund Corporate Leadership Award – Bank of America
  • Jay Tomlinson – Virtuoso Award
  • Hotel Phillips – Impact Award
  • Reactor Design Studio – Creative Workspace Award
  • Red Dirt  – Creative Industry Award
  • Grant Burcham – Corporate Leader Award
  • Mayor Sly James – Arts Advocate Award
  • Stinson Leonard Street – ArtsKC Fund Corporate Leader Award
  • RMT Architecture – ArtsKC Fund Employee Commitment Award
  • Cheryl Kimmi – Virtuoso
  • VML – Impact Award
  • ArtsKC Fund Workplace Giving Awards

o   McCown Gordon Construction – Small-Sized Company Award
o   Stinson Morrison Hecker – Mid-Sized Company Award
o   Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City – Large-Sized Company Award
o   Kansas City Art Institute – Nonprofit Award
o   Zimmer – Best New Campaign Award
o   Rees Masilionis Turley – Most Improved Campaign Award

  • Don Dagenais – Virtuoso
  • Downtown Council – Impact Award
  • ArtsKC Fund Workplace Giving Awards

o   McCown Gordon Construction – Small-Sized Company Award
o   Stinson Morrison Hecker – Mid-Sized Company Award
o   Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City – Large-Sized Company Award
o   Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art – Nonprofit Award
o   Shook Hardy & Bacon – Best New Campaign Award
o   Johnson County Kansas – Most Improved Campaign Award

  • Steve Metzler and Brian Williams – Virtuoso
  • Sprint Foundation – pARTnership  – Impact Award
  • ArtsKC Fund Workplace Giving Awards
    • Kansas City Area Development Council – Small
    • Stinson Morrison Hecker – Mid-sized
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City – Large
    • Kansas City Repertory Theatre – Nonprofit
  • Sybil Noble, Ark of Friends – Virtuoso
  • UMB Financial Corporation – pARTnership
  • The Center for Child Health & Development at KU Medical Center – pARTnership
  • ArtsKC Fund Workplace Giving Awards

o Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce – Small
o Stinson Morrison Hecker – Mid-sized
o Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City – Large
o Kansas City Repertory Theatre – Nonprofit

  • Kuhn & Wittenborn – Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Bernstein-Rein Advertising  – Medium-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • UMB Bank – Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Mallin Gibson Family Properties – Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Embassy Landscape Group – Mid-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • H&R Block – Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Helix Architecture+Design – Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • A.Zahner Architectural Metals – Mid-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Hallmark – Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Nash Resources – Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Sweet Life– Medium-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of KC– Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Ehinger Properties – Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • American Century Investments– Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • BNIM – Medium-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Rees Masilionis Turley Architecture– Small-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Golden Star – Medium-Sized Company pARTnership Award
  • Truman Medical Center– Large-Sized Company pARTnership Award
2017 Event Chairs


Photo By: Chris Vleisides

Julia Irene Kauffman

Julia Irene Kauffman is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation.  The Foundation was established in 1987 by Muriel McBrien Kauffman and embodies a mission and vision that focus on support of the performing and visual arts in the Greater Kansas City area.

In 1995, Julia was designated Chairman of the Board of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  She spearheaded the effort to build the Center in downtown Kansas City, fulfilling a dream she shared with her late mother, Muriel McBrien Kauffman.  The gleaming glass structure is internationally acclaimed for its stunning architecture and precision acoustics.  The celebrated opening of the Kauffman Center took place in September 2011.  Spanning five years of successful operation, a renewed message of growth and vitality is clearly visible on the Kansas City skyline.  A reawakening in the metropolitan performing arts scene is unmistakable as is revitalized arts education and wide reaching cultural enrichment.

Ms. Kauffman’s civic and philanthropic activities include the Kansas City Symphony Foundation Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of the Kansas City Ballet.  She served as a Trustee of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and has been a member of the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club Board of Directors since 1997.  Julia was named a Trustee of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2012.  She previously served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Also in 2012, Ms. Kauffman was awarded a Doctor of Music Honoraris Causa by the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Other civic recognition includes acceptance of the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award for Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship presented by the Downtown Council of Kansas City.  In 2014, Julia was presented the Second Annual UMKC Foundation Award of Distinction.  She is a past recipient of the Kansas City Council on Philanthropy Philanthropist of the Year Award and The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Award.  The UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation named Julia as the 2011 recipient of the Marion and John Kreamer Award for Entrepreneurship in Volunteer Community Service.  Her distinguished service in the arts was also recognized by William Jewell College with the William F. Yates Medallion.

Julia’s diverse interests include past service as a PBS Foundation Board of Directors.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club in New York City, as well as a member of the Visiting Committee to The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Photo By: Tom Styrkowicz

Maria Maffry

Maria Maffry, Principal and Chief Business Development Officer, is responsible for business development, strategic planning, philanthropic giving and support, and business oversight at Kansas City-based architecture practice BNIM. Her career is founded on the principles of leadership, advocacy, and innovation, which she has developed over 25 years with the firm.

Maria is enthusiastically involved in the Kansas City Arts community, both personally and through her role at BNIM. The firm has worked on some of the most impactful arts projects in Kansas City, such as the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity; and multiple projects at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, including the Bloch Building addition and current work on the Bloch Impressionist Galleries.

Maria has guided BNIM’s efforts on multiple, highly successful fundraising campaigns for ArtsKC. In 2016, BNIM was recognized by ArtsKC for its passion and commitment with the Fund Excellence Award and the Most Money Raised by a Small Business Award. In addition to offering financial support, Maria leads the firm in educating other local businesses about arts organizations in the community.

Drawing upon her background in and love for dance, Maria serves on the Kansas City Ballet Leadership Council and supports the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey with its fundraising efforts.

Maria is a proud alumni of Washington University in St. Louis. Maria was honored as one of the 2015 Women Who Mean Business and is a 2000 Graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program.


Photo By: Tom Styrkowicz

Macaela Stephenson

Macaela Stephenson, Manager of Community Relations and Investment with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) believes in Kansas City and everything that makes it great. After moving to Kansas City from Nebraska almost 20 years ago it quickly became home.

Macaela came to Blue KC in 2012, after holding various fundraising roles with the American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City and Wyandotte County. In her current role, Macaela oversees the community relations department and, with her team, is responsible for all philanthropic giving and employee volunteer activities. Focusing on health and wellness in Kansas City and supporting the community is in the fabric of Blue KC and it is a daily focus. In 2015 Macaela was recognized as the United Way Campaign Manager of the Year. She takes a great amount of pride in the work of Blue KC and the employees who support our community year round.

Macaela actively volunteers with several organizations throughout the Kansas City area including Girls on the Run, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City (where she serves on the Sports LAB Advisory Board), Non Profit Connect and ArtsKC. With an active passion for “doing what you love and loving what you do” she loves to help young people find their niche. Be that sports, the arts, cooking or animals. Finding something you love to do makes you happier, healthier and a better community citizen.

Macaela lives in the Plaza area with her husband and two dogs. While she loves all things Kansas City, she remains an avid Husker fan.

2017 Sponsors

Thank you to our 2017 ArtsKC Awards Luncheon Sponsors!

Featured Artist Sponsor:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City

EPIC Innovative Events, Inc.


Outpost Worldwide


JE Dunn


KC Studio

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation 




Burns & McDonnell 


DST Systems

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Harvest Productions

Heartland Community Union Association


VanTrust Real Estate


American Century Investments

Bank of Blue Valley

Centric Projects

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Downtown Council

Global Prairie

Hallmark Cards Inc.


Kansas City Convention Center

Kansas City Star

Kissick Construction Company

Lathrop & Gage

McCownGordon Construction 



Rivas Photography

The Roasterie 

Schmitt Music Piano Center

Truman Medical Center/University Health

Turner Construction



Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park 

Commerce Bank

Contract Furnishings

Corbin Bronze

Crestwood Equity Partners

David and Dianne Zimmer

ECCO Select


Haas & Wilkerson

Henderson Engineers, Inc.

Hufft Projects

Jackson Lewis

Kay Barnes

KCUR 89.3

Kevin & Ada Koch

Laura Robinson

Lead Bank


Macaela Stephenson & Greg Foote

Mark One Electric Company

Martin Pringle Law Firm

Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Straub Construction Company



American Jazz Museum

Arts Council of Johnson County/Performing Arts Series at JCCC/Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art 

City of Lenexa

Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, MO

Harriman-Jewell Series

Hunt Family Foundation

Johnson County, KS

Johnson County Park and Recreation District

Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Kansas City Jazz Alive

Kansas City Parks and Recreation

Kansas City Zoo

KC Creates

Launch KC/Experience Events Group

Leawood Arts Council

Mesner Puppet Theater

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

reStart, Inc. 

UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance 

Visit KC

2017 Featured Artist Sponsor

2017 Platinum Sponsor

2017 Gold Sponsor