Photo by RW Photography


The Thought Leadership Series is designed to advance the dialogue around the essential impact of the arts and drive further integration of the arts into related policy, leadership, and decision-making in a measurable and lasting way. These cross-sector gatherings are the first of their kind in the nation, calling upon arts leaders, community representatives, business professionals, and health practitioners to inspire tangible change at the intersection of arts and health.


Photo by RW Photography featuring City in Motion Dance Theater

The inaugural Thought Leadership event in 2023 featured Keynote Presenter Susan Magsamen, founder and executive director of the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab), Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, co-director of the NeuroArts Blueprint, and co-author of The New York Times Bestseller, “Your Brain on Art”.

Advisory Committee

Event Co-Chairs
Julie Robinson, Trozzolo Communications Group
Madeline Romious, AT&T

ArtsKC Thought Leadership Advisory Committee
Dr. Lorna Jarrett, Brain Peace-Mindset Coaching and Consulting
Sharon Freese , Behavioral Health · Truman Medical Centers
Tim Marchesi, DeMarche
Erica Taylor-Murff, Kansas City Health Department
Becky Gernon, Spira Care
Dr. Jeff Radel, PhD, KU Medical Center
Dr. Daniel Terry, Medical Resident
Dr. Susan Jackson, PhD, KU Medical Center (Retired)
Donna M. Bushur, MSW, Health Forward Foundation
Deborah Cullinan, Stanford University
Rashida Phillips, American Jazz Museum
Stuart Carden, KCRep
Gina Golba, Kansas City Art Institute
Sheri Purpose Hall, Poetry for Personal Power, East of Red, Consultant
Dylan Mortimer, Artist/Activist
Anne Spenner, The University of Missouri–Kansas City
Emma Swinney, District Office Manager at U.S. House of Representatives
Susan K. Pingleton, MD., KU Medical Center Continuing Education & Professional Development

Discovery Session Facilitators

Rev. Roxanne Pendleton, MDiv, CYT200

Lisa Benson

Andrea Dalton, MA, MT-BC

Anne Palmer, DMA

Art Experiences

Interactive Art Experience – Michael Toombs
Immersive Art Experience – Eugenia Ortiz
Interactive Art Experience – Coloratura, Camry Ivory
City In Motion Dance Theater
Kyle Jones, Saxophone

Amado Espinoza and Robert Castillo


Presenting Sponsor: Health Forward Foundation


Featured Sponsors: JE Dunn Construction, Blue KC, Halls Kansas City


Wellness Sponsor: Downtown Council of Kansas City

At the conclusion of the first Thought Leadership event, ArtsKC officially announced the creation of the Kansas City Community NeuroArts Coalition. This coalition is one of the first of its kind in the country and mobilizes an informed group of cross-sector activists to continue this work in our region.

Learn about the work driving advancements in neuroarts and neuroaesthetics

NeuroArts Blueprint

A partnership between the Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society Program, the NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health and Wellbeing is an initiative designed to strengthen, standardize, and propel the emerging field of neuroarts.


The International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) is a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University that is accelerating the field of neuroaesthetics. Its mission is to amplify human potential.

Photo by RW Photography.

Our second gathering in 2024 elevated the work of regional neuroarts exemplars whose programs demonstrate the profound impact arts participation has on the health of oneself and the community.

Coalition Meeting Introduction by Dr. Tasha Golden, an international speaker, trainer, and consultant; a career singer/songwriter; and a PhD health scientist.


Presentation Welcome and NeuroArts Updates by Susan Magsamen, founder and director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, director of the NeuroArts Blueprint, and bestselling author.


Visionary Partner: Hallmark


Enrichment Partner: University Health


Wellness Partner: Shook, Hardy & Bacon


Born from the NeuroArts Blueprint, the Kansas City Community NeuroArts Coalition is one of the first coalitions of its kind in the country, alongside West Palm Beach and New York City. By mobilizing an informed network of arts, civic, business, and health activists, this group will pave the way forward in implementing arts + health & well-being-centered solutions to address priorities and build capacity in our community to continue advocating for the arts.

Photo by RW Photography.

Kansas City Community NeuroArts Coalition Priorities:

1. Asset Mapping: Who is already engaged in this work and what can we do to elevate it?

2. Research: How do we support the study and evaluation of exemplar activity and impact?

3. Funding: Establish steady and ample funding sources to support the research, ultimately supporting our purpose of "building a community that identifies, validates, and integrates the arts & health sectors".

"Community Neuroarts Coalitions are local evidence to impact collaborations of diverse stakeholders who engage the power of the arts and aesthetic experiences to improve the health, wellbeing, cohesion and resilience of their communities. Straddling both rigorous evidence and community-building activities, these interdisciplinary, cross-sector teams bring together health, art and community-based practitioners and organizations with researchers, educators, and clinicians, and their affiliated institutions, to advance evidence-based arts research and practice."