Grantee Spotlight

InterUrban ArtHouse empowers under-resourced artists to thrive, enriching the lives and communities of the KC metro through the arts across media. We do this through our space, our programs, our social justice mission, and Creative Placemaking.

Since its nonprofit incorporation in 2012, InterUrban ArtHouse has provided Kansas City Metro artists and residents with arts services and multicultural experiences of the very highest caliber.

The purpose of the ArtHouse, as framed by its Mission and Core Values, is to empower local and regional artists (particularly those from under-represented populations) to thrive, and in so doing, to enrich the lives and communities of the Kansas City region through the arts across media and cultures.

The ArtHouse achieves this through 1) the provision of affordable studio space and inclusive exhibition space to local artists, 2) the delivery of 

our research-based arts programs (described below), 3) its focus on cultural representation and social justice in the arts, 4) its work in the field of Creative Placemaking throughout the region and 5) its commitment to place-based partnerships to provide the greatest possible impact of our work.

The ArtHouse’s PROGRAMS, developed in direct response to KC Metro research:

ArtSpace is InterUrban ArtHouse’s physical location, a nonprofit-owned arts and cultural hub providing affordable space for artists and community in a 10,000 sq. ft. former USPS sorting facility. Renovated and occupied in 2017, IUAH’s property includes 11 single-artist studios, 3 shared studios accommodating 9 multidisciplinary artists, a 3,500 sq. foot gallery/exhibition and event space, a donation-based coffee bar and kitchen, and an on-site art-therapy practice. The outdoor space includes a performance stage loading dock and seating for 50 guests, as well as room enough to accommodate 28 festival tents. In addition, IUAH houses partner arts-nonprofit Art as Mentorship’s studio recording space for emerging young musicians (The LAB).

ArtsConnect represents the community Creative Placemaking and arts advocacy work done by IUAH. Our Creative Placemaking engages regional artists, community members, local businesses, representatives from municipalities, and other key community stakeholders in equitable, representative, arts-centric community development and design, including public art, public gathering spaces, community-wide festivals and public-facing performances. Our advocacy work is in communicating the importance of the arts to local and regional economies, community livability, and quality of life to city, county, state, and national representatives to increase public funding for – and so public impact of – the arts.

ArtSmart provides pre-K through 12th grade students in Title-1 schools – the majority of whom are economically disadvantaged – with arts enrichment and curriculum integration for enhanced learning. IUAH pays KC metro regional artists from diverse backgrounds and artistic practices to bring the arts to students most sorely in need of it. By connecting with local artists, young people are inspired through dance, story telling, music, poetry, painting, sculpture, mural design, field trips and more. Numerous studies provide hard evidence of the positive outcomes for students who engage in and are engaged by the arts, which students from economically disadvantaged homes have less opportunity and exposure to.

ArtWorks – delivered at InterUrban ArtHouse, partner locations, and via Zoom – affords opportunities for entrepreneurial development training to creatives to become professional, self-sufficient small businesses. Through ArtWorks, we aim to support innovation by enabling growth, advancing business skills and providing training for the creative sector. ArtWorks includes topics such as strategic planning, marketing & communications, grants writing and fundraising, budgeting, accounting & tax planning, project management and legal practices. All classes are offered at low cost or no cost and no one is turned away because of their ability to pay. The program is in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts (curriculum) and Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (legal and accounting consultations).

ArtMatters provides opportunities for artists of all levels wishing to advance their artistic skills, learn new studio methods, participate in discussions and critiques, connect with other creatives, and exhibit their works through the ArtHouse’s 6 annual open exhibitions. ArtMatters programming includes events such as open studio “work” sessions, live model drawing meetups, dance classes, painting classes, musician “jam sessions,” critiquing events, and exhibition receptions. ArtMatters offers presentations and workshops by visiting and established artists, discussions, and artist mentoring. For artist instructors, ArtMatters provides artists with paid teaching opportunities to share their skills, enhancing the community through artistic learning and expression.

ArtHeals provides arts-based mental, emotional, physical, and community health programming and events to the public, including a 6-week annual exhibition dedicated to issues of community and individual health and wellness. ArtHeals seeks to provide a safe environment for sharing, creating and healing, and strives to promote the exploration of self, culture, and identity through purposeful art activities. IUAH includes an on-site art therapy practice – Heartland Art Therapy. Additionally, IUAH organizes and hosts annual, region-wide Health and Wellness Roundtables, during which cross-sector representatives of arts and healthcare organizations discuss community needs and best practices for addressing issues of community health through the arts.

In all that we do at InterUrban ArtHouse, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of our work. The goal of our programs is to provide a platform from which the underrepresented and marginalized can be seen, heard and recognized.

Visit InterUrban Art House’s website to learn more.