Mission & Overview


Charlotte Street’s mission is to challenge, nurture, and empower artists of exceptional vision. Charlotte Street – with our community of artists – strives to be a primary catalyst in making Kansas City a vibrant, creative metropolis, alive with collaboration, passion, ideas, and surprise.


Charlotte Street Foundation was established in 1997 as a response to needs articulated by artists and those who saw the arts as a valuable creative, social and economic resource to the city.

At that time, Kansas City, in spite of a rich creative environment, was losing many of its artists and creatives. The city offered few important vehicles for valuable early (and mid-career) recognition. Opportunities for exhibition and critical reviews were severely limited. There was a lack of financial resources allocated to the support of individual artists as opposed to cultural organizations. Few structures and opportunities were in place to bring national arts leaders to Kansas City. There was no coordinating body with credibility among artists (and with inroads into the business/government/corporate/foundation community) taking the lead in actively promoting individual artists and collaboration among disciplines. And there were insufficient numbers of serious collectors to support an active arts market.

Artists needed supportive entities to encourage, nurture and “go to bat” for them to help them gain opportunities for continuing professional development, public exposure and a voice in the public arena. Charlotte Street Foundation was created to do exactly that.

In our vision, Kansas City is an artist-friendly, artist-supporting city where artists are cultivated, respected, and admired by leaders in the business, political, philanthropic, and civic communities, as well as by a significant segment of the general public. The resulting support leads artists to participate more fully in our community and attracts artists from other cities and the region. Positive artistic, cultural, and economic ripple effects proliferate, creating a dynamic city.

In this vision, Kansas City is a place where artists push and challenge themselves, their ideas and their work; where artists of every discipline collaborate and spark not only their own creativity, but the creativity of their audiences. It is a place where artists stay (and come) because the quality of life, the availability of resources, the opportunities for professional development and advancement; where a community of kindred spirits make this the best place in the country to nurture emerging and mature talents; and where strong partnerships and connections with regional and national arts institutions, organizations, critics, and practitioners provide access to wider audiences and recognition.

To this end, we:

  • Provide annual cash awards to visual and generative performing artists
  • Provide free studios and performance and exhibition spaces to theater, dance, music, film/video and visual artists for the creation and presentation of new work
  • Coordinate public exposure to these exhibitions and performances, and facilitate artistic collaboration and exchange
  • Provide educational and professional development opportunities for young, emerging, and mid-career artists of all disciplines and help to build a market for their work
  • Advocate and plan on behalf of Kansas City artists and the arts community with philanthropic, business and civic leaders
  • Engage national philanthropic and cultural leaders with Kansas City artists and the arts community.