New Leader for Nationally Recognized Program

Lisa Cordes is named director of Artist INC

After a months-long search, Lisa Cordes has been chosen as the new director of Artist INC, the program begun in 2007 by former director Diane Scott that delivers training and tools for artists to learn entrepreneurial skills specific to fine arts businesses.

A program of the UMKC Innovation Center in collaboration with ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council and Charlotte Street Foundation, Artist INC encourages artists not only to live for their art, but to make art their living.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a program that has had such direct impact on the careers of artists in Kansas City,” Cordes says. “By empowering artists, Artist INC has contributed significantly to the creative vibrancy of the community over the past five years.”

Cordes, a fixture in the Kansas City arts community for more than 20 years, has worked as the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and also as the Executive Director for Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council and was a consultant for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Artist INC has provided training to hundreds of artists in both live and online workshops by utilizing local artist facilitators in combination with mentorship, peer networks and a foundational knowledge of important business-related skills. For each Artist INC session, 25 artists are competitively selected and spend 8 weeks learning business skills specific to their chosen discipline.

Currently, Artist INC is taught not only in Kansas City, but also in Omaha, Austin, Oklahoma City and Little Rock. Cordes plans to continue this expansion of the program into more cities across the country.

“The success of Artist INC is demonstrated in the recent expansion of programming for local artists, the regional reach of the program into neighboring states in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance, and the support of national funding partners,” Cordes explains. “I am eager to see Artist INC expand to reach even more artists and impact a greater number of communities.”

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