A Guest Blog from Erika Noguera, Director of Success Stories at Ingeñuity
As a first time participant on the ArtsKC Inspiration Grant panel, I was incredibly honored to be a member of this group. Between the online system, organization, and transparency of the process, each step made it possible for me to be thoughtful about the impact of each proposal.
Our group included a great mix of people from differing approaches to the world of arts. This made for an engaging and enlightening discussion with varied perspectives. I believe this was essential to ensuring the final funding decisions were inclusive and diverse. One thing we all clearly shared was a reverence and respect for every single proposal put forth. As artists, and art appreciators, it was not lost on anyone in the group the amount of care, intellect, hard work, and heart each person put forth in submitting a proposal.
As our panel worked through proposals, we found common themes emerge: several submissions focused on sustainability and the environment; more specifically a few concerned with water conservation. There were more than a few residency proposals from local artists with plans to learn from, and share their talents around the world. Some proposals focused on a single artist with a specific project, but others were quite large in scope. They ranged from working with local advocacy groups, to engaging a crew of local artists in the production of live shows, to even business development and providing a platform to publish the work of local poets. One thing was clear as we discussed the work, Kansas City is rich with creativity and talent.
While our task was not simple, we were blessed with an unprecedented amount of funds to award. Each proposal was worthy in many ways. Ultimately, we had to make some hard choices and I believe we reached consensus rather quickly. Through the process there were several enlightening conversations about purpose and intention. As a group representing ArtsKC, we considered what metrics should be used to measure each proposal’s merit. ArtsKC is wise, I believe, in not being too prescriptive about this. Ultimately, there was one guiding rule: that the projects resonate with a sense of community and purpose, clearly demonstrating the potential for growth of the artist. With that in mind, we made recommendations to artists that we felt had some room to grow, and encouraged them to apply again. For those who were funded, I think I speak for the entire panel when I say we were honored to serve and can’t wait to see the fruits of the artists’ labor!