By Kevin Collison
The Folk Alliance International is relocating its offices from the River Market to the new Crossroads Westside apartment development and opening a small performance space there as well.
The nonprofit, which moved its headquarters here from Memphis in 2013, was offered space in Crossroads Westside in a special deal to fulfill a pledge made by the developer of the project, Cityscape Residential.
“We’re happy that Folk Alliance will be a tenant,” said developer Jim Thomas.
“They will be a great connection to the Crossroads and they’ve offered to program activities for First Fridays.”
Erika Cecilia Noguera, communications manager for the Folk Alliance, said it employs eight full-time people and four interns. The new, 2,400 square-foot space at 601 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez is much larger than its former quarters at 509 Delaware.
It’s former home is now occupied by Freestyle Poke, a Hawaiian restaurant, and the Folk Alliance has been temporarily housed at 512 Delaware.
“The developer was looking for a cultural partner to activate the space and pull First Friday traffic,” Noguera said. “We’ll be able to apply what we’d normally pay in rent to programming that space.
“It was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The Folk Alliance still must raise $150,000 to build out its new home and is welcoming donations.
This year will be the first year since it’s arrived the international music organization will not be holding its annual international conference here.
The event, which has been held at Crown Center, draws musicians from around the world who also perform for one another and local audiences.
For the next couple years, the Folk Alliance will be on the road, beginning with Montreal in 2019, but the conference is expected to return to Kansas City for three years beginning in 2021.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to move to the Crossroads,” Noguera said.
“As our conference moves outside Kansas City for a couple years, this will be an opportunity to active a performance space and stay connected to the local music scene.”
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