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 upcoming application deadlines, please see Inspiration Grant Resources.

Visual, music, theatre, literary, dance and interdisciplinary projects are the primary focus of Inspiration Grants.

2017-2018 Inspiration Grant Recipients
Round 1
Sylvia Rose Augustus
Laura Berman
Justin Border
GK Callahan
Maret Cissner
Jonah Criswell
TigerStyle! Crew
Logan Jungman
Cody Kauhl
Keira Norton
Vincente “SubVersive” Perez 
Samantha Slupski
Vi Tran
Battery Tour
Jillian Youngbird
Round 2
Brian Allred
Cydney Ross
Daniel Chase
The Depot Academy, Denzel Williams
Ellie Grace
Kendell Harbin
Lisa Maione
Lori Lee Triplett
MG Salazar
Michael Miller
Miranda Clark
Nicole Emanuel Studios
Oliver Clark 
Sharp Women, LLC, Krista Eyler
Sike Style Industries LLC, Phil Shafer
Simon Fink
Stacey Sharpe
Suzanne Ryanstrati
Translation in Movement
2016-2017 Inspiration Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the 37 artists below who received ArtsKC Inspiration Grant funding in 2016-2017:

Round 1

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 have her photography portfolios reviewed. Attending this event will further her career through study of the practices of some of the best photographers in the world, and will provide 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 offer a new line of affordable jewelry. 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 performing musician currently studying to be 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, Vermont, 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 mother, struck by the tragedy of her son’s murder, that takes a stand against homicide and gun violence.  Rosilyn Temple, devastated by the loss, changed her life and began a personal search for justice that has become a calling that could transform cities nationwide.  Rosilyn’s emotional work with families of other victims of violence fills a dire need, bridging a terrible gap between police and the community. Through this film Jon Brick shows how one woman is making a difference by bringing people together and changing lives.  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, Associate Professor of Fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute, has been dyeing fabric as part of her studio practice for over 15 years.  To expand her dye knowledge into a new area 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. The Inspiration Grant funds will 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 in the workshop with her students at KCAI and at the Kansas City Textile Studio.

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 continue to examine the fragmented remains of one source of unsolicited mail, specifically four and a half years of her parents’ junk mail.  Referencing the fundamentals of her practice she will re-evaluate  the deconstruction and re-organization of broken down material resulting in an endowment of re-contextualized information. While in residency she will focus on enhanced methods of material deconstruction and application relevant to this body of work. Inspiration Grant Funds will assist with travel and print expenditures for the residency.  This is an important opportunity to work in a culturally diverse environment while connecting to critics, curators and gallerists.
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. The Inspiration Grant Funding will enable Rachelle Gardner-Roe to interview artists and activists engaged with the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970’s in the Kansas City area as well as contemporary artists working with an evolving definition of feminism. This process will culminate in an exhibition of collaborative portraits, envisioned for Women’s History Month in March of 2017. Fusing emotional, political, and theoretical concerns with the artist’s creative process, this project endeavors to capture personal histories and share contemporary perspectives while engaging an often charged aspect of our culture.

Round 2

Jake Balcolm, “Machining Skill Development for Public Art Sculptures”

The overall scope of this project involves five main phases, focused on developing a modular style to create large Public Art Sculptures with integrated, LED lighting. Phase One develops a system to design and create large, modular, dynamic public art sculptures. Phase Two, and the purpose of this grant application, is to refine the fabrication of these mechanical connections by purchasing, installing, and learning to use, a Smithy 3-in-1 Engine Lathe/Mill. This Inspiration Grant would be used specifically for the purchase of and training on a Smithy Granite Engine Lathe/Mill.

Jacob Burmood, ”Bronze Fabric”

This Inspiration Grant will fund Mr. Burmood’s research in the area of casting draped cloth into bronze. He has already cast several projects in aluminum, which is cheaper but has defects that casting in bronze does not have. While bronze is more expensive, it works much better and is critical to the success of this project. The grant funds would be used to purchase 300 pounds of bronze to cast three sculptures.

Maura Garcia, “Working Culture”

Working Culture is a dual-location project and the first stage takes place in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, in the form of an investigative residency. From November 26 – December 6, 2016, Raven Spirit Dance Society of Vancouver is hosting a series of Movement Culture workshops with Maori choreographer, Charles Koreneho.  Ms. Garcia’s investigative residency in Vancouver consists of researching Raven Spirit Dance Society’s operating protocol and attending Koreneho’s dance workshops. Upon her return, she will share her investigations via free community events: a presentation-style workshop and a movement-based workshop. She plans to use the Inspiration Grant to cover expenses associated with her investigative residency.  Specifically, this Inspiration Grant would be used to finance: airfare to and from Vancouver; round-trip travel between lodgings and the Vancouver airport; per-Diem while in Vancouver; her professional time while in Vancouver.

Z. Hall, “Salon~360”

Dr. Z Hall, scholar, art writer, artist, curator, and Producer of “Salon~360” – Hall’s project involves producing three, two-hour Salon~360 events within the next five-month period. The events are designed around themes that address society’s most pressing issues. Hall curates art, performances, presentations, and dialogue around each themed event. A question is posed in relation to the theme of the event. Last year’s themes included: forgiveness, suicide and fear, among others. Salon~360 events are produced around a theme drawn from challenges faced by society. Her Inspiration Grant will be used for the purchase of video and sound hardware and software to be used in the service of producing itinerant Salon~360 events. Salon~360 public Facebook group –

Mark Lauer, “Mark Lauer: Muses and Mavericks”

Muses and Mavericks is a recording project featuring bassoonist Mark Lauer performing five new works written by Kansas City composers. These five composers will be commissioned to write a work for solo bassoon, bassoon and piano, bassoon and clarinet, and bassoon with narrator. The intended use of this album is to reach out to wider audiences for both Mr. Lauer and all other composers involved. This Inspiration Grant will be used to defray a large portion of the expenses associated with recording, producing, and manufacturing this CD, as well as compensating those involved with this collaboration.

Cat Mahari, BAM! the Workshop

BAM! the Workshop, inspired by Ida B Wells, is an immersive interdisciplinary arts community event in Kansas City, MO. This project is a major development in Cat Mahari’s professional career focusing on connectivity between sociopolitical and aesthetic production. BAM!’s structure centers urban contemporary paradigms and expressions and acts of restorative justice within the context of Black life. The Inspiration Grant funding underwrites a 2016-17 dual arts residency for BAM! the Workshop. Specifically, it covers production costs for research, visual art installation, immersive performance installation, immersive cinema artist Brian Herczog, psychologist and moderator Dr. Bill Johnson.

Sean Mawhirter, “Kansas City tango group Cucharada’s first full-length release with accompanying video single”

Cucharada is a Kansas City-based tango music group. This ensemble has been playing together for almost five years and has developed its repertoire for dance situations (referred to as ‘milongas’) as well as concert performances for strictly listening audiences. Having spent some time adding new material, Cucharada is determined to have this work reflected in an album of exceptionally high-quality music that will be produced in the fall and winter of 2016-17.   In addition to the album, Cucharada intends on having a video made for one of the pieces as a single release. This Inspiration Grant will be used to pay for recording and production costs of both the CD and video.

Molly McLaughlin, “A Beautiful Dying”

A Beautiful Dying is an original musical ceremony by Molly McLaughlin that honors the exquisite and inseparable dance of death and life.  Rather than keeping death hidden away, A Beautiful Dying exposes a spectrum of love and loss through music, so the audience may connect to the sacredness of time.  Music is scored for flute, fiddle, guitar, bass, and voices.  A Beautiful Dying consists of eight songs, two instrumentals, a performance piece, and multiple readings.  This Inspiration Grant would specifically be applied toward paying for musicians, documentation of the project, lighting, and marketing costs.

Calvin Arsenia Scott, Catastrophe the Album

This Inspiration Grant would be used to finalize Catastrophe the album, providing the professional to mix and master the recording to ensure a quality finished product that plays clearly for film, commercial licensing, your car stereo, or any other listening medium. Catastrophe, the album, is a first full length record, presented in a popular music format, featuring sarcastic and catchy lyrics, acoustic instruments like the harp and banjo, and a voice. Catastrophe has been designed to delight a diverse range of listening audiences without compromising the artist’s distinct and personal musical tastes.

Gerry Trilling, “Transformers: Re-Contextualizing Our Contemporary Culture”

Gerry Trilling is an artist participating in a collaborative touring exhibition, Transformers: Re-Contextualizing Our Contemporary Culture. The exhibition will provide exposure in a part of the country where the work has not yet been seen. The travel will provide an opportunity to establish introductions that can further Gerry Trilling’s career with potential collectors and curators and art critics. This Inspiration Grant will cover the cost of building seven crates to ship the work to the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne FL and to cover travel expenses to attend the opening.

Round 3

Enrique Chi, Music is an Immigrant Documentary Film ($2,500)

Enrique Chi, of local music group Making Movies, has teamed up with local film makers Summer House Films to create a short form documentary, tentatively titled ‘Music is an Immigrant.’  The film takes place in Panama, Alabama, and Kansas City, expressing that music is a vehicle, a cargo carrier, in which culture, philosophies and ideologies are contained.  As it enters new countries it infiltrates and assimilates into the musical landscape of its new home.  The culture it carried in is muted in some ways, romanticized in others, as it evolves into a new dual, or bi-lingual, identity.  Music itself, is an immigrant. The film aims to use music, and Making Movies’ story, as vehicle to show the universal qualities of the human immigrant experience.  Funds will be used to create a trailer and master the soundtrack for the film, as well as marketing materials to promote it.  Local screenings of the film are being arranged.

Dick Daniels, 77 Rabbits ($1,000)

Dick Daniels is an illustrator with a whimsical cartoon-noir style. He is branching out into ceramics with his project 77 Rabbits. This will be a series of ceramic cartoon rabbit heads, exploring variations for each face, morphing into a wide variety of expression and abstraction. Daniels plans to show the series in multiple exhibitions. Funds will be used to access studio facilities at the Kansas City Clay Guild and Hammerspace Community Workshop.

Ari Fish, Prayer Robe Project ($1,550)

Ari Fish is a multi-media artist and clothing designer. Her Prayer Robe Project is a series of ten robes designed and constructed based on the symbolic principles of numerology from one to ten, each number representing a point of significance in the overall journey of a human. Pulling from religious and occult stories and symbolism within numerology, this project addresses the universality of the essence of human experience from birth to death. Fish’s project will be involved in exhibitions and collaborative performances in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Funds will be used for materials and to purchase an industrial sewing machine, an investment for this project, and her future studio work.

Brandon Frederick, Open House ($500)

Brandon Frederick is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and organizer. His project, Open House envisions a non-commercially driven space for artists to explore experimental ideas and ways of creating. He will transform a residential house into a studio and gallery space for the creation and exhibition of installation-based works in addition to a variety of public programs. In earlier projects, he has observed that artists respond to the individuality of an alternative gallery space, and is fascinated to see how artists will respond to making work in a repurposed home.  Funds will be used for programming expenses, artist fees, and some necessary building materials for remodeling the space.

Sheri Hall, Women of the World Poetry Slam ($1,000)

Sheri Hall is a spoken word artist who will be traveling to the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam in Dallas, TX to perform in a poetry slam competition. Her poetry intends to paint images of life and imagination that allows the reader to travel to different worlds while gaining a better understanding of the world. Hall will be performing her poems in front of a large audience, taking part in workshops, promoting her new book, Black Girl Shattered, and networking with other poets. Funds will be used to pay for travel and administrative costs associated with attending the festival. Hall is a coach for KC Poet Tree, the team that won the Louder Than a Bomb Kansas City competition last year. She will be sharing her newly gained experience with area poets when she returns.

Brian Hawkins, Asiminier: Folklore of the Missouri French Creoles ($1,517)

Brian Hawkins is an animator whose work is concerned with the vagaries of memory and historical narratives. His current project, Asiminier: Folklore of the Missouri French Creoles, is a feature-length documentary celebrating a distinctive culture in Missouri. Interviews with scholars and people who were raised in Missouri’s Franco-American communities will describe the historical and cultural context in which the Creoles’ folkways were preserved for 300 years. The film’s central focus is to present the remaining cultural relics of the community in an engaging way. Folktales specific to the region will be presented as cut-paper animations with narration in the original French dialect. Funds will be used to buy a DSLR and lens for the animated segments of the production. Hawkins will be providing copies of his finished documentary to Missouri public schools, and submitting the film to festivals.

Daniel Morel, Print Studio to Enhance Production Capacity ($1,000)

Daniel Morel is a classical composer, educator, and producer. Morel will establish a print studio specifically for publishing music scores. Self-publishing is a cost-effective option that will enhance his means of distribution for performances, solicitations, and competitions. He intends to offer the services of his specialty music print studio to other composers in the area.  Funds will be used for a wide-format printer, a spiral binding machine, a creasing machine, a file cabinet, and professional-grade paper.

S.E. Nash, Lactobacillus Amongus ($540)

S.E. Nash is a visual artist and educator. Nash’s Lactobacillus Amongus is a social practice engagement project that will result in sculptures that interact with vessels of fermented foods. Nash will collect sourdough starters, flour and water mixtures, from participants in the Kansas City area, to explore humankind’s civilization-long relationship with fermentation. The sourdough starters collected from participants will be housed in a series of sculptures on display at Plug Projects. Nash and a scientist will teach public microscopy workshops about the science and art in the project. Participants will be asked to bake food with their sourdough starters for the closing of the show. This interdisciplinary project cultivates curiosity, experimentation, and knowledge sharing. Funds will be used for wages for an assistant to feed the sourdough starters, local organic flour, a microscope camera, and an honorarium for the scientist-educator.

Nicholas Naughton, The PrintCast: a podcast about printmaking ($1,000)

Nicholas Naughton is a printmaker and the owner of La Cucaracha Press. In recognition of a need for in-depth discussion in the Kansas City printmaking community, he is creating The PrintCast: a podcast about printmaking. The show will discuss prints as an art form, commercial printing, graphic design, and human interest as it relates to the timeless utility of printing multiples.  This podcast will feature interviews and storytelling by practicing artists and special guests locally, and eventually will expand more nationally. The show will be made available via iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast apps later this year. The funds will be used for audio studio equipment including microphones, mixing equipment, and soundproofing materials.

Jeanette Powers, Poetry Throwdown KC 2017: a celebration for National Poetry Month ($1,400)

Jeanette Powers is a poet, performance artist, visual artist, and publisher. She is helping organize Poetry Throwdown KC, a 3-day poetry festival celebrating National Poetry Month in Kansas City. Now in its second year, the event brings select, nationally acclaimed poets to our city as featured readers, plus dozens of emerging and established poets and small press publishers. All of this is combined with the release of the 28th and 29th books in Spartan Press’ flagship series, POP POETRY. The festival will take place at Prospero’s Books and The Writers Place, consisting of 9 featured events. Last year’s event drew an audience of more than 300.  Funds will be used for travel expenses to bring four distinguished featured poets to the festival.

Cydney Ross, Collaborative Avant-Garde Photoshoot ($750)

Cydney Ross is a sculptor and designer. She is known for her porcelain jewelry and accessories, and has connected with local fashion designers. Ross will create porcelain accessories that cover large portions of the human body that complement the striking clothing and makeup chosen by designers Natasha Shangari and Grant Karpin in a collaborative avant-garde photoshoot. The end result will provide hands-on experience for cross-disciplinary interaction and encourage future partnerships. Photos will be used to promote each artist on their own website. Funds will be used to hire a professional photographer, copyrights, facility costs, and materials.

Sam Stevens, Experiencing and Communicating Landscape: International Residency and Workshop ($1,000)

Sam Stevens is a painter and curator. He has been accepted for a residency at the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art in northern Poland, and has applied for a workshop in Granada, Spain. Stevens plans to create a book of visual works in reaction to the local landscape and architectural forms with a consideration for their culture and history. Stevens is inspired by maps and the relationships between nature, our experience, architecture, and culture. The Polish residency is project based, and will be an opportunity for him to realize a community oriented project.  The subsequent workshop in Spain will be an environment to present the work to a community. Funds will be used for travel expenses.

Anson the Ornery, Shades ($500)

Anson the Ornery is a multimedia artist who creates interactive artwork. Shades will be an installation work that underscores the fact that much of the world’s famous art is stored away from view, and is traded on the art market as an investment rather than as objects of inspiration. The space will be dimly lit to emphasize the mystique of the high-end art market, and a pile of illuminated lamp shades will project the audio of a cattle auctioneer. Artworks on surrounding walls will be covered by packing blankets, and visitors will be encouraged to touch them. The installation will be created and exhibited at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, encouraging the development of conceptual artworks by future artists. Funds will be used for lampshades, LEDs, and vinyl signage.

Lauren Thompson, Downtown Replay: An iterative performance rooted in public improvisation and evolving to the stage ($1,000)

Lauren Thompson is a modern dancer and choreographer. Downtown Replay is a collaborative work, developed between Lauren Thompson, Jonathan Robertson, and Tom Hipp. The improvisational work began as an Art in the Loop performance that incorporated the public and the downtown environment in dance, sound and video.  The performance expresses that life and art imitate each other in a feedback loop. Thompson, Robertson, and Hipp have further developed the work into a more formal stage performance for the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Funds will be used for a performance facility, advertising, video documentation, costumes and artist fees.

Sarah Xeno, A Maker’s Odyssey and Amalgamation Station: workshops in lost wax casting ($1,000)

Sarah Xeno is a professional custom jeweler. She will be a Maker in Resident holding workshops at the Johnson County Central Resource Library. She will be teaching classes in traditional metal working techniques including lost wax casting, sculpture and modeling, both by hand and through computer aided modeling programs. The funds would be used towards the purchase of a vacuum casting machine and supplies. She will be able to use the machine as an investment in her future work.

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.