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Branden leads the marketing and communications efforts around content management, public policy, and special events. 

Q + A

Q. If you could time travel for the sole purpose of experiencing the art and culture of that period, when would you go to?

A. I couldn’t pick a specific time period, but there are so many arts moments where I wish I could have been present: Beethoven conducting his 9th, the premier of all of the Ring Cycle operas, hearing Birgit Nilsson and Franco Corelli live, seeing Montserrat Caballé’s “Casta Diva,” and Pavarotti’s Met debut.

Q. What do you do on your days off?

A. I love to cook, listen to vinyl on the Hi-Fi, take my dog on walks, host cocktail and dinner parties, and see as many friends as possible. I also love to veg out on the couch and do nothing while binging true-crime documentaries.

Q. Which Kansas City restaurant has the culinary arts mastered?

A. Without question that would be Grünauer. Every time I eat there, it’s like a completely new experience. The food, bar, and service are second to none.

Q. What book do you always recommend to a friend looking for a good read?

A. Being a good Southern boy, I love the works of William Faulkner, so I’m always suggesting “As I Lay Dying” or “Light in August” to friends. “The Sound and the Fury” is my favorite book of all time—a true work of art.

Q. What is your dream job?

A. Hosting an Anthony Bourdain-style travel show.

Q. Why do you support the arts?

A. The arts are our only universal language—crossing all cultural barriers and speaking to the humanity in all of us.


Branden Haralson, Communications Manager, Engagement and Public Policy, joined the ArtsKC team in November of 2019. He brings to his role years of experience in marketing, events management, government relations/public policy, and, of course, arts performance.

Branden received his bachelor’s degree in voice performance from the UMKC Conservatory in 2013 and his master’s degree in voice performance-arts advocacy & administration from the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa in 2015.

After completing his master’s degree, Branden began working as Campaign Organizer (LGBT Lead) for Hillary for America in the Kansas City area for two years. Once the campaign concluded, he co-founded the new progressive organization, Heartland Alliance for Progress, which rallies resources for progressive causes and candidates.

Branden maintains a robust performance schedule of musical theatre, operatic, and jazz works in the KC Metro area and around the country. He is also the founder of a new opera performance organization, KC Opera Collaborative, which focuses on performing modern American works in radically accessible ways.

He has also served on the board of local organizations, including Kansas City Human Rights Campaign, Kansas City Center for Inclusion, the Missouri Democratic Party’s LGBT+ Committee Chair, and Heart of America Young Democrats. As a member of the LGBT+ community, he is committed to leveling the playing field for all LGBTQIA Americans.

In 2020, Branden will debut his new podcast, “Heartland Beat,” which will detail life in the Heartland from a variety of perspectives.

When not working or volunteering, Branden resides in Waldo with his chow chow Gretel and his cat Isolde. He is an avid reader, podcast enthusiast, movie/TV buff, and whisky connoisseur.