In Awards, Cultural Producer, Grants

Kansas City, MO, April 27, 2022: Charlotte Street Foundation announces the 2022 recipients of the Cultural Producer Grants. The Cultural Producer grant was developed with significant contributions in concept and funding from David Hughes, Jr. (Charlotte Street Foundation Founder/Director Emeritus). With a total funding amount of $50,000 this year Charlotte Street is able to grant six grassroots arts organizations and artist-run projects in Kansas City with awards of $5,000 or $10,000.

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Kansas City exists as a lush tapestry of interwoven artist-run spaces, collectives, groups and organizations. These artistic ventures, though sometimes small, have impacted our community and city in monumental ways. Financial backing can be difficult for low budget, grassroots organizations to attain, particularly from larger institutions, leading to high turnover and lack of long-term viability. The Cultural Producer Grants are intended to uplift these vital projects and provide them with the funding they need to sustain.

The recipients for the 2022 Cultural Producer Grants include:

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Boon Area 1 ($10,000)

BOONAREA1 is an interactive, functional artwork that acts as a contemporary community garden. With a mission to ‘transcend everyday challenges’ by using arts to nurture creative and undeveloped ideas that shape society,  BOON Area1 is the first of many vacant lots that are being transformed into neighborhood spaces. By working in partnership with neighborhood organizations, each BOONAREA will ultimately become a revenue generator for the neighborhoods they are in.

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Strange Fruit Femme Collective ($10,000)

This grant will provide support for a series of workshops, communal discussions, and a living archive that forges future herstorical narratives on transformative healing justice within institutional art settings. The collective uses Black feminist scholarship to organize convergences of liberation within the art industrial complex. This series of community programs and resources will cultivate a sense of communal care by centering Black feminist pedagogy as a tool for self-expression, creative healing and resistance. Informed by The Combahee Collective, Strange Fruit Femme Collective is an effort to decolonize our understanding, appreciation, and proximity to ART, aiming to de-exceptionalize the museum and academy and move toward corrective protocols that offer a framework for ethical creative collaboration informed by restorative Black feminist processes.

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Tribe Studio Incubator ($10,000)

Tribe Studios mission is to provide a comfortable environment for musicians to create, stream, rehearse, and strategize their dreams into fruition. Striving to be a place to produce the next generation of musicians from the Improvised Culture, they provide musicians with the tools to experiment with the capabilities of live performance, recording, branding strategies, as well as tour strategies. Tribe Studio feels it is important to train a new way of thinking in the music industry. Stocked with instruments, live sound needs, and light camera gear for streaming, this grant will help with operating costs, and provide a budget for incubator guests to help them better serve the community.

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Reel Images ($10,000)

The Reel Images Film & Video Group is a unique, all-volunteer organization whose mission is to support film projects that promote African American culture. They provide programs and activities such as filmmaking workshops, screenings, and assistance in obtaining funding for filmmaking. This small group of filmmakers and film technicians have an established track record of successfully carrying out projects since 2002, when the organization implemented an initiative to develop community-based film projects that involve other artists, film crew, actors and community members, who otherwise would not have this opportunity to participate in filmmaking activities. The organization plays a vital role in filling a void by supporting projects that tell important stories about Kansas City’s African American culture that are too often left out of accounts of Kansas City’s history.

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Curiouser & Curiouser ($5,000)

Curiouser & Curiouser is an artist-run project currently occupying a shipping container in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood. C&C participates in the local art walk and offers year-round exhibitions across its two galleries. Since 2018 C&C’s artist-run model has fostered over twenty exhibitions prioritizing the vision of the solo artist. Their goal is to share a true version of an artist’s work and research with the public by exhibiting, creating dialogue, and expanding connections to artist in the KC area and beyond.

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Harriet’s Herbal Hub ($5,000)

The mission of Harriet’s Herbal Hub is to provide free community herbal arts and empower African, Indigenous, and Black Folk(x) heritage-based Herbalism practices. Funds will support infrastructure development. Current facilities provide weekly outreach, education, and distribution that honors traditional Healing Arts of African, Indigenous, and Black Folk(x) herbalism across the diaspora.

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2022 Cultural Producers Jury:

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Tyrone Aiken

Chief Artistic Officer, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey

Tyrone Aiken, Chief Artistic Officer for Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey is a Choreographer, teacher, dancer, and arts administrator. He is a graduate of the Ailey School’s Certificate Program in 1983. Tyrone began his professional dance career with the Cleo Parker Dance Ensemble in 1983. Tyrone’s choreographic credits include “Summerland” commissioned by Dance Theater of Harlem’s Virginia Johnson. In Kansas City Tyrone has choreographed for The Lyric Opera, The Coterie Theater, The KC Symphony, Wylliams/Henry Dance Theatre, KC Ballet, the KC Rep and the Nelson Atkins Museum. Tyrone created AileyCamp the Group in 1995, Setting the Stage in 1997 and a second AileyCamp serving Kansas in 2000. He successfully launched KCFAA’s move to the Jazz District in 2007 and lead KCFAA through a strategic plan with Michael Kaiser creating a new Symposium series.   It is through that series that Tyrone reaffirmed his commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts and our society. 

Tyrone received a Pinnacle Award for Arts excellence from the Johnson County Library, Neighborhood Hero Award from Bank of America, the Robert A. and Dr. Phyllis Bernstein Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Family and Children Services Kansas City and traveled to the White House to accept the Coming Up Taller award presented to KCFAA for AileyCamp. In 2020 he received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. Tyrone is a member of the African American Artist Collective of Kansas City Missouri and serves on the Kansas City Municipal Arts Commission.  He is also a 2021 ArtsKC Inspiration grant recipient.  This is Tyrone’s 28th year with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

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Cynthia Hardeman
Director, Black Box on Troost

Cynthia Hardeman is an educator, playwright and producer in Kansas City. Founder of Drama Time KC a performance arts program for youth and CEO of the Blackbox On Troost a Charlotte Street Foundation Start-Up Residency.

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Mason Andrew Kilpatrick 
Tenant Union Network Organizer with KC Tenants

Mason Andrew Kilpatrick (he/them) is an organizer with KC Tenants, focused on building our tenant union network. He joined KC Tenants as a grassroots leader in August 2019. MAK supported the development of the KC Tenants Hotline and co-led the organizing that led to KC Tenants winning Tenants’ Right to Counsel in December 2021. Previously, Mason Andrew worked to support local artists through community radio stations and contemporary arts nonprofits like Charlotte Street Foundation.

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Jenny Mendez
Cultural Arts Director, Mattie Rhodes Art Center

Jenny Mendez was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  Growing up in a neighborhood filled with family and friends on Kansas City’s West Side. Jenny attended the

Jenny Mendez was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  Growing up in a neighborhood filled with family and friends on Kansas City’s West Side.  As a young girl Jenny enjoyed hearing stories from her grandmother, these stories were such an inspiration to Jenny in her love of her culture and heritage. 

Jenny attended the Kansas City Art Institute majoring in painting, she also studied both printmaking and photography. She was involved in community mural projects as a high school student and into college.  She has always given back to her community.  She has been employed with the Mattie Rhodes Center for the past twenty-five years and is responsible for all arts programming for the agency as the Cultural Arts Director.  Through her work she is able to educate the community on the Latino culture through art. Being able to inspire children through art is what she is most passionate about – giving children and young artists a place to learn, create, express themselves, imagine, and grow in the arts.

She has served and participated on many boards and committees through the years advocating for the arts and community.  Her most valued appointment was to the board of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC).  Most recently in March of 2020 as part of Women’s History Month she was awarded the Nuestra Latina Award for the Arts by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Her work in the community is valued and shows her commitment to being a voice for the Latinx artists, students and individuals. Showing her expertise in the creative process and authenticity to arts and culture through her work and partnerships with the Kansas City Museum and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.  She is very committed to continue to be a voice for the Latinx and arts communities at large. 

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JoAnne Northrup 
Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

JoAnne Northrup was appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in 2021. Her 2022 exhibitions include Extensions: New Work by Hong Chun Zhang and Shinique Smith: STARGAZERS. Before relocating to Kansas City, she was based on the West Coast. As Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art of the Nevada Museum of Art (2012-21), she founded the contemporary art program and curated cutting-edge exhibitions, including the nationally  touring Unsettled (2017-19), organized in collaboration with Ed Ruscha. Prior to her time in Nevada, Northrup was Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the ZKM Center for Art + Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. As Chief Curator (2008-2011) and Senior Curator (2001-2008) at the San Jose Museum of Art, in California, she curated and authored the first nationally touring survey exhibitions and monographs on contemporary media artists Jennifer Steinkamp (2006) and Leo Villareal (2010). Two of Northrup’s exhibitions came to Kansas City–the Steinkamp exhibition toured to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007, and the Villareal exhibition toured to the Nerman in 2011.


Charlotte Street centers Kansas City’s most forward-thinking visual artists, writers, and performers—acting as the primary incubator, provocateur, and connector for the region’s contemporary arts community, and its leading advocate on the national stage. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $2 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and has hosted countless exhibitions, performances, convenings and conversations connecting and challenging Kansas City’s contemporary art ecosystem.  For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit


David Hughes, Jr. founded Charlotte Street in 1997 to support and encourage regional artists, their communities and supporters. He stepped down in 2013 to allow new, younger voices to emerge- allowing him time to travel more to see friends, art and dance. He is currently splitting his time between KC and New York.

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