Nearly 20 years after its launch as a Kansas City cultural asset, the American Jazz Museum remains somewhat in the shadows. While the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum — its neighbor in the complex at 18th and Vine — routinely gets national exposure, the jazz museum’s public profile is less prominent.
Even in a city whose heritage is built on the uniquely American music, the museum’s ability to gain traction with Kansas Citians and visitors alike remains a formidable challenge.
The museum’s leaders and its energetic and passionate board members know this. They are in the midst of a long-range planning effort to sharpen its role in the community and boost its capacity to operate effectively, attractively and self-sufficiently.
So when Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte proposed a city budget that slashed the American Jazz Museum’s city funding by 25 percent, it was nothing less than an alarming trumpet blast.