SOURCE: UEP-A Program of the Kauffman Foundation

UEP-A Program of the Kauffman Foundation

May 23, 2012 06:00 ET

Kauffman Program Celebrates Young Artists

Park University and Paseo Academy of Performing and Fine Arts Students Will Be Honored by Kauffman Foundation's Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP) at Second Annual Art Celebration, Art Is My Business

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - May 23, 2012) - A year-long exhibit at the national headquarters of the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP), a program of the Kauffman Foundation, acknowledges Kansas City's artistic heritage and celebrates the talent and entrepreneurial spirit of student artists from nearby Park University and Paseo Academy of Performing and Fine Arts.

The 2nd Annual "Art Is My Business" celebration will feature 14 student artworks, up from six last year, including two new pieces by Jason Loftin, recently named UEP's first Entrepreneur Artist in Residence.

Loftin and fellow artist Michelle Davis, both Park University students, are back for a second year as feted artists in the UEP entrepreneurial program. They are joined in exhibiting their work by five newly selected Park students -- Kevin Kwon, Laura Korenak, Suzy Smith, Elisha Davis and John Daniels -- as well as Eboni Feaster, Diamond Harris, and Keyon Woods from Paseo Academy, represented for the first time this year.

The exhibit will open with a recognition ceremony and reception May 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the UEP's home office, located at 1520 E. 18th Street in the heart of Kansas City's historic jazz district.

Guests will include the artists and their families; senior administrators from Park University and Paseo Academy; UEP-Kauffman associates; Kauffman associates; and other local artists and art boosters. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II (MO), an ardent advocate of art in the Fifth District will lend his support to the occasion through a representative.

The project was the brainchild of UEP's junior marketing associate, Jaime L. Simmons, who aimed to combine community involvement with support for budding artists eager to launch careers in the art world. Students selected to participate in the program receive both recognition and the option of attending UEP's signature entrepreneurial education seminars.

"With our offices located at 18th and Vine, we appreciate participating in the culture and vibrance of Kansas City's historic jazz district," Simmons said. "We also want to promote entrepreneurship through the arts. We want aspiring artists to realize their talents can be more than a hobby. Bottom line, artists are innovators, and innovation is the soul of successful business ventures."

This year's program attracted nearly 70 entries. Participating student artists were selected by a committee of community artists and prominent entrepreneurs who reviewed each submitted piece of art and accompanying essay.

"I am thrilled that 'Art Is My Business' has already grown so much since the UEP launched the program last year," Simmons said. "As we continue to evolve, our next step is seeking grants and enlisting local financial support so that we can add a financial literacy component to our existing entrepreneurial education for young artists."

"We're pleased to honor these students," said Lena T. Rodriguez, UEP's chief marketing and development officer. "The UEP offers entrepreneurial education and one-to-one-business coaching nationally and internationally, but 'Art Is My Business' celebrates our commitment to entrepreneurship and our dedication to our community, which is known for being rich in the arts."

For additional information on Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP) programs, contact Jaime Simmons at (816) 581-2900 or visit

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