A Center for the City

While opening night of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts may have been a night for Kansas City’s well to do, donors, out-of-town dignitaries and others with connections, on Sunday the Center belonged to the people of Kansas City.

During the public open house of the $414 million facility, more than 60 local acts performed, but perhaps the show that upstaged all others was the show of Kansas City pride. Officials had expected a crowd of 20,000 on Sunday. Late that night, the center’s Facebook page boasted 50,000. Later reports noted that as many as 55,000 people from around the region, undeterred by intermittent rain, formed lines that snaked for blocks through downtown to get a glimpse of the center’s two halls. Some waited in line for up to two hours.

If the visionaries behind the Kauffman Performing Arts Center have it their way, it will remain the “people’s palace.” When I served on the small business seat naming committee for the center last year, the message we heard over and over was it would be a world-class facility for the people of Kansas City, designed to enrich the lives of everyone in the community through extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences. The arts would belong to the average citizen, not just the affluent. Organizers envisioned school field trips, for example, that would both educate and allow children to experience the performing arts firsthand.

The facility is a gem that has been given to the city by Julia Irene Kauffman and other donors. And where the Kauffman Center sits atop the hill at 16th and Broadway is the precise junction where the arts and the community intersect. Opening day and its crowds are history. Let’s make sure we continue to bring the community to the center. I would love to see an annual open house and other public activities that use the center’s gorgeous grounds as well as its exquisite interior.

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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