Facebook Instagram Twitter X YouTube LinkedIn RSS

Artist INC Kansas City Applications Open Now

By Elizabeth Snell

Artists sit in a classroom with books and notebooks on their shared tables. People are smiling turned towards the camera.

This fall, Artist INC Live comes back to Kansas City to help dozens of KC artists build their entrepreneurial acumen and address the challenges they face in turning their art practices into enduring art careers. 

Building a business or career around an art practice isn’t like building any other small business. Artists face different challenges: how to manage goals, write about art, plan a budget, apply for grants, speak in public, and build a personal and professional brand.

That’s where Artist INC comes in. For eight weeks, Kansas City artists have the opportunity to meet, in person, with other artists from various disciplines as they learn how to overcome those challenges and build sustainable art practices. 

Apply for Artist INC starting May 1

Applications for Artist INC Live Kansas City close on June 20. 

What’s new about Artist INC?

Artist INC isn’t new or new to Kansas City. Artist INC, which is now in 14 communities across the country and has served more than 1,500 artists, was originally created right here in Kansas City in partnership with Charlotte Street, ArtsKC, and the UMKC Innovation Center in 2009 before it found its home at Mid-America Arts Alliance in 2017. 

What is new? This year, Artist INC returns to its beginning. Charlotte Street is Mid-America’s on-the-ground KC partner, guiding Artist INC participants through the workshops and helping them connect with Kansas City’s vibrant arts ecosystem. 

Charlotte Street centers Kansas City’s most forward-thinking visual artists, writers, and performers—acting as the primary incubator, provocateur, and connector for the region’s contemporary arts community, and its leading advocate on the national stage. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $2 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. 

How is Artist INC different?

Unlike other entrepreneur- and business-focused classes, Artist INC is tailored for the needs and challenges of working artists of any discipline. Throughout the eight sessions, artists form connections with other artists and with Kansas City’s arts community that will greatly impact their careers and their lives as artists. 

Moreover, artists will learn and grow together in small groups led by peer facilitators—all of whom are artists themselves. 

This year’s peer facilitators include KC artists whose names you may already know. They represent many genres with notable careers across the region and beyond: sculptor Cory Imig, artist and writer José Faus, muralist Phil Shafer (also known as Sike Style), ceramic artist Summer Brooks, video artist and organizer Kendell Harbin, artist Chico Sierra, and multimedia poet Vanessa Aricco.

Who should apply to Artist INC?

Artist INC is open to artists and creatives of all disciplines. AIL has a competitive application process, a substantial time commitment, and requires participants to be within a specific community. Artists should reside within a 60-minute commute from these program locations. All sessions are in person. 

Gathering for one evening a week for eight weeks, participants learn strategic business skills specific to their art practice and how to apply those skills cooperatively with their peers. Using a groundbreaking class design, Artist INC Live guides artists as they learn and grow together through artist facilitator mentoring, small group application activities, as well as large group discussion and multimedia lecture.

How to apply

Applications open May 1 and close June 20, 2023. It is free to apply.

Ready to learn more?

Artists interested in learning more about Artist INC may sign up for What Works, a free, one and a half hour-long introductory session held at Charlotte Street’s facility.

What Works is open to artists and creatives of all disciplines and at all stages of their careers. 

Led by professional artist facilitators, the short workshop addresses the specific professional needs and challenges that artists of all disciplines face.

In a non-competitive atmosphere, the goal of What Works is to provide an introduction to the Artist INC training and resources. The format includes a presentation as well as time for questions and discussions. 

What Works: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 – 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Location: In-person, Charlotte Street Kemper Library, 3333 Wyoming St, Kansas City, MO 64111
Presented by Artist INC Peer Facilitators Summer Brooks and José Faus
Register Now

What Works: Wednesday, June 7, 2023 – 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Location: In-person, Charlotte Street Kemper Library, 3333 Wyoming St, Kansas City, MO 64111
Presented by Artist INC Peer Facilitators Kendell Harbin and Phil Shafer
Register Now

Cost: Free

Ready to apply?

Artist INC sessions take place over the course of eight Tuesday evenings September 5-November 7, 2023 from 6:00–9:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Street Kemper Library, 3333 Wyoming St, Kansas City, MO 64111

The cost is $150. Scholarships are available on a need-basis. 

Apply at artistinc.art/apply

Artist INC is supported in part by grants from the Windgate Foundation, the Hallmark Corporate Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more about Artist INC at www.artistinc.art 

Thoughts on the History of Artist INC

Diane Scott, director of artist services at Mid-America Arts Alliance, reflects that it “feels like we’ve come full circle as we partner with them in the second decade of Artist INC. Charlotte Street was the initial force behind the original Artist INC partnership. It really does feel like coming home as we partner with them to bring Artist INC to the amazing community of Kansas City artists,” says Scott.

Amy Kligman, executive/artistic director of Charlotte Street, was a graduate of both Artist INC Live in 2010 and Artist INC Advance in 2012. “Artist INC has a long history of supporting the professional development of Kansas City’s artists. As an alumna of the program and a fan of its curriculum, I’m excited to see it return—we’re all thrilled to be a part of the current iteration of this program and its substantial impact on the careers of artists and creatives in Kansas City,” states Kligman. 

Learn more about the history of Artist INC.

Click here for Artist INC St. Louis, also offered this fall.

Photography: Artist INC 2016 with NEA Chair Jane Chu. Photo courtesy of Artist INC.