Lawyer envisions Plexpod ‘art village’ to rebuild KC culture at intersection of art and business

AA Kansas City arts advocate hopes to partner with one of the metro’s leading community coworking spaces to create a haven for nearly 1,300 arts entrepreneurs.

GUILDit announced plans on Thursday to develop an art village within Plexpod Westport Commons – comprising coworking, studios, a theater and a gallery – with the aim of rebuilding art and culture in the town while strengthening its economy, said Susana Bruhn, founder and executive director of GUILDit.

Plexpod Westport Commons and Cultivate KC Community Garden

“The arts have seen great growth in Kansas City, and we can do it again. In a few years, with a few key moves, artists can start again,” she said.

To fully fund the three-year effort, GUILDit aims to raise $155,715, which would fund artist grants for coworking spaces, studios and the gallery; non-profit arts sponsorships for dance studios and theater; and construction of visual studios and gallery equipment, Bruhn said.

The project provides artists with prime workspaces, coaching, discounted rates and opportunities to grow their businesses and gain recognition within the community, she added.

“As soon as we receive a donation of $5,000 (from a corporation or a major donor), we can implement the smallest project in the village: eight coworking spaces for artists from all disciplines (poets, animators , digital artists, screenwriters, etc.), ”said Bruhn. “Additionally, we will use it to seek more contributions from donors and foundations, thus joining the community’s interest in the project.”

Click on here to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and project details.

The village is a collaborative effort with Moving city dance, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Black space black art and Plexodshe said.

Plexpod Westport Commons location — formerly Westport Junior High School — is already home to a theater company, filmmakers, dance studios, a historic theater, a shared photo studio and a shared podcast booth, Bruhn noted.

The coworking community is a critical partner for GUILDit, an organization that educates artists on best business practices to increase their financial success, she said, adding that the nonprofit arts advocate will not be exclusively based at Plepod.

GUILDit currently hosts events throughout the city – including at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art – and covers five counties in the Kansas City area. Bruhn also helps manage the coworking space at the non-profit village at 31w31 in Midtown.

Click on here to explore GUILDit.

Annex Plexpod Westport Commons

Annex Plexpod Westport Commons

Aid for the arts is needed now, she pointed out, citing a 2020 report from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce that said the arts — out of 24 industries surveyed — had “the biggest downturn and will experience the longest recovery.

Moving city dance

Project partner City in Motion Dance, a 35-year-old nonprofit in Kansas City, is a prime example, Bruhn said. In mid-2020, CIM Danse lost all revenue, laying off all 30 employees.

“These artists and dance teachers are just one of the groups involved in the project,” she continued. “They recently returned to their Plexpod studios and the project is offering them more sponsorship, so they can stay in the studios.”

In addition to artists directly benefiting the village, Bruhn predicts that 63,350 students and members of the Kansas City Metro public would be engaged, she said.

“These cultural events bring visitors to Kansas City, attracting new businesses and their employees to the area, and the theaters and galleries once again becoming a destination for residents,” Bruhn said.

Watch a video showcasing GUILDit success stories below.

Inasmuch as

This story is possible thanks to the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundationa private, nonpartisan foundation that works with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create unusual solutions and empower people to shape their future and succeed.

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