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Anna Joy is the Executive and Strategic Relations Manager. She also serves as the staff lead for the Arts Leadership Network with the Programs Team.

Q + A

Q. What is always spinning on your Spotify playlists? 

A. Snarky Puppy; Scary Pockets; Allen Stone; Vulfpeck; D’Angelo; Brother Strut; Jordan Rakei; Lianne La Havas; Lake Street Dive; Brass & Boujee (KC!!)… to name a few… recent discoveries include: Moses Sumney; Adeline; Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real (specifically, “Find Yourself”); HNNY; Yola.

Q. What book do you always recommend to a friend? 

A. Fiction: “Soldier in the Great War” or any short stories by Mark Helprin, his treatment of light with words will take your breath away. A recent discovery, “The Weight of Ink” by Rachel Kadish.  Non-Fiction: “The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr. Bissel Van Der Kolk is utterly life-changing and “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

Q. If you could time travel to experience the arts of that period, what period would you visit? 

A. Prague at the turn of the 20th Century — I’m a sucker for Mucha and gilded things.

Q. Why do you support the arts?

A. I support the arts because they connect humans to each other. Art elegantly tells our collective story. Without art, parts of the story are forgotten, thus, humanity becomes less connected. Sharing a story shows us that we need each other, and must treat each other with empathy and respect. I am part of “La Boheme;” I am part of One Thousand Years of Solitude; I am part of Starry Night.


Anna Joy Walker arrived on the mythological shores of Kansas City when she was 19 years old, looking for adventure. “Why Kansas City, you person from the Wilds of the Pacific Northwest?” This is a hefty question whose answer lies in sincere interest and a lot of time over coffee. Needless to say, nearly 20 years (and three cross-country moves) later, she found herself back in the city that she loves the most, ready to do her part in prospering her [Kansas City]. She is working on growing a moving collection of people interested in and passionate about doing the same.

She is a singer of all types, but her favorite genre’s to sing are Soul/Funk and Opera. She has been noted to “sing from her toes.” The ethereal high of connected singing is ineffable and she still needs to find a good outlet for it in Kansas City. She was the recipient of the 2017 InspireKC “Best of Show” award representing ArtsKC.

Brubeck, her 130 lb wag of Great Dane, is sometimes smuggled into the office for a snuggle.

Role at ArtsKC

Anna Joy Walker, Executive and Strategic Relations Manager, joined ArtsKC in January 2017.  She supports the President & CEO’s initiatives, which currently include public policy and advocacy; diversity, equity, and inclusion; other community-related work.  She handles all board member and committee member logistics, attends all of the committee meetings to maintain a high-level understanding and scope of how the whole organization is functioning in order to give support to how the executive team moves forward. She also assists the Human Resources team in the hiring process.

As the Strategic Relations Manager, Anna Joy is the liaison for community connections, strategic initiatives, cross-sector partnerships, and other community-related work. She currently manages the Arts Leadership Network – programming and events – which gathers arts organization leaders from the near 300 arts organizations in the Kansas City region, to support and help sustain connection throughout the region. She also manages the ongoing schedule of workshops, seminars, community conversations, and strategic conversations with experts in various fields, elected officials, and other arts leaders to grow the influence of the arts into more sectors of the overall wellness and development of the region.

Her passion project, titled, “Listens”, will be rolling out soon. The goal is to amplify already powerful voices/artists in the BIPOC community by giving them access to audiences that listen deeply and that might never hear them otherwise. This is a massive project that she hopes will continue to grow the coalition that exists in the city and prove to be a community table for conversation and understanding.