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"This is how it all went down"


In 2014, a group of artists met at Gates BBQ on Linwood & Main, in Kansas City, Missouri with "Rev.", better known as the Honorable Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and his assistant Jim Vaughan. We talked about the arts as it pertained to the African American arts movement in the City and what we were doing as artists with our practices in the community. The people at that meeting were Glenn North, Diallo French, Gerald Dunn, Jason Piggie, Nedra Bonds and Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. That gathering gave birth to what is now the African American Artists Collective.


Founded in Kansas City in 2014, members of the Collective identify and catalyze their practice as a means to support the African American and Black Arts Movement in Kansas City, throughout the country, and across the globe. The Collective advocates for other artists, advances professional development, builds networks, and provides mentorship. Ongoing initiatives include generating exhibitions and performances, developing an endowment, and securing digital resources. The Collective’s efforts also span Social Justice movements in the arts and their proximity to Kansas City. 


The mission of the African American Artists Collective is to support African American and Black artists in Kansas City, regionally and nationally.


The Collective will meet its mission by being a catalyst to: 

  • Advocating for African American and Black Artists in Kansas City Regionally and Nationally

  • Advancing & Encouraging African American and Black Arts Professional Development

  • Share Networking Opportunities and Provide Peer Support




  • Increase African American and Black Artists Visibility Within & Beyond Kansas City 

  • Create A Referral Process

  • Create Member Exhibits & Performances

  • Provide Tangible Peer Support

  • Design and Develop An Artist Mentoring Program



  • Establish A Collective Endowment

  • Create A Digital Resource Library


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