UMKC Conservatory Receives Missouri Arts Award

University wins in Arts Organization;
KC wins in Creative Community

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City and the City of Kansas City are recipients of the 2014 Missouri Arts Awards. The annual awards, given by the Missouri Arts Council, recognize six groups that contribute to the state’s arts community.

The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance won in the Arts Organization category. In a press release, the Missouri Arts Council noted that the Conservatory is an “educational community that reaches nearly 3,000 students in university and community programs, and thousands of residents in Kansas City with dozens of concerts and artistic collaborations.”

“We are thrilled UMKC’s Conservatory is being celebrated as an arts organization in the same year that Kansas City, Missouri is being recognized as a leading creative community.  Our two stories are related,” said Peter Witte, dean of the UMKC Conservatory. “For 107 years, UMKC Conservatory faculty and alumni have helped shape Kansas City’s ascendant arts scene. A downtown arts campus, our region’s next big idea, places strength upon strength for future students and our city.”

Calls for a Downtown Arts Campus were strengthened in 2011, when the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced a Downtown Arts Campus as one of its “Big 5 Ideas” for boosting the Kansas City region. The idea calls for relocating UMKC’s arts programs to a new downtown location.

According to the Chamber, this would create new synergies between the university and the city, bringing hundreds of students downtown to live, study and perform. The idea got a significant boost this summer, when the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation pledged a $20 million challenge grant to the campus. The grant award is contingent upon the Conservatory raising the additional $70 million of funding needed to proceed with the project’s first phase within a period of three years.

The foundation also played a role in the City of Kansas City being named the Missouri Arts Council’s winner for Creative Community. The foundation led development of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

In a press release, the Council said that the City has “a cultural landscape more vibrant than ever with burgeoning local arts organizations, the spectacular new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts.”

The Missouri Arts Awards are given in six categories, including Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy. Other award winners include:

  • Arts Education:  Margaret Meg Bourne Husley, Joplin

Founder and executive director of Art Feeds, a program established in 2009 to bring creative education and therapeutic art that mobilizes healing free of cost to Joplin students and schools.

  • Individual Artist:  Sabra Tull Meyer, Columbia

Sculptor of several hundred works in bronze including more than 70 public works in Missouri alone, such as the Corps of Discovery monument and Hall of Famous Missourians busts at the Capitol.

  • Leadership in the Arts:  Peter Sargent, Webster Groves

Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Webster University since 1995, resident lighting designer of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis for nearly four decades, advocate for the arts and arts education.

  • Philanthropy:  Terry Brewer, Rolla

Owner and president of Brewer Science, whose generosity supports both local and visiting theatrical, musical, and visual arts events in his community on a level comparable to large metropolitan areas.

The awards will officially be presented in a ceremony on Feb. 5, in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City. The honorees will receive original glass art created by glass and ceramics artist Michelle H. Hamilton of St. Louis.

Awards recipients are selected from public nominations by an independent panel of Missouri citizens who are distinguished representatives of the state’s arts community.

About the Missouri Arts Council
The Missouri Arts Council awards grants to organizations to stimulate the growth, development, and appreciation of the arts in Missouri. This funding makes possible quality arts programming to communities throughout Missouri. In addition to financial assistance, the Missouri Arts Council provides expertise in community development, fundraising, marketing, grant writing, arts education, artistic disciplines (visual arts, music, literature, theater, dance, festivals, and film/media), and more.

About UMKC Conservatory
The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance is internationally recognized as a center for artistic excellence, innovation and engagement with our communities. In rehearsals, in class and on stage, our students interact with an exceptionally gifted faculty and with leading visiting artists in ways that are supportive, yet rigorous. Our faculty and students recognize that arts careers in the 21st century will blend new works with master pieces; unite performance, engagement and education; and above all will pulse with a sense of adventure and creativity. A community of artists, educators and scholars, the Conservatory enrolls more than 500 students in a comprehensive array of liberal arts and professional degree programs in Composition, Music Theory and Musicology; Dance; Instrumental Studies; Jazz Studies; Keyboard Studies; Music Education/Music Therapy; and Vocal Studies.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2013. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.


This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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