Forward Into Africa

Support KC Artists as they travel to Senegal this May

KC Cultural Outbound Fund

The KC Cultural Outbound Fund, established in 2024 by Global Ties KC, aims to empower artists, educators, and community changemakers by providing them with opportunities to travel abroad. As Kansas City’s influence expands internationally, these individuals will act as cultural ambassadors, fostering connections between diverse cultures. The Dak’Art exchange, the fund’s inaugural program, will open new avenues for Kansas Citians to engage with the global community. 

Donations to the #KCCulturalOutboundFund will be allocated towards covering the $15,000 needed for this trip. Any additional funds raised will contribute to a sustainable fund designed to support future international travels for Kansas City’s artists, educators, and community leaders. 

Forward Into Africa—May 2024 Exchange to Senegal 

In May 2024, Kansas City’s own Calvin Arsenia, John Raux, and Poet Laureate Melissa Ferrer Civil will travel to Dakar, Senegal, to participate in the Dak’Art Biennale. This journey, facilitated by Global Ties KC, promises a rich cultural exchange and an opportunity for creative transformation. 

Representing the heart of America and the Kansas City art scene, their itinerary includes: 

  • Engaging speaking engagements and training sessions. 
  • Strategic meetings with the US Embassy and alumni from the US Department of State Professional Exchange. 
  • Volunteer efforts and an in-depth exploration of Senegal’s art scene. 

Dak’Art: In the Wake is a month-long arts festival that welcomes members of the global African diaspora to Dakar. The festival serves as a platform for showcasing, experiencing, and influencing the creative endeavors within our communities. 

Meet the Artists Embarking on the Senegal Exchange

Melissa Ferrer-Civil

Melissa Ferrer Civil (she/they) is a christian, black, latine, queer, femme poet, organizer and educator living in Kansas City, MO. They are the first poet laureate of Kansas City, MO, the founder of the arts and organizing event series A Nation In Exile, a Charlotte Street Studio Resident, a Heartlandarts KC fellow, and a Chrysalis Institute alumni. 

Calvin Arsenia

Gaining widespread recognition for his soulful vocals and virtuosic classical-harp playing, Calvin Arsenia is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist hailing from Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to his solo work, Arsenia has collaborated with a variety of artists across genres and has performed at numerous festivals and venues around the world. He is known for his heartfelt and introspective lyrics, which often touch on themes of love, loss, and personal growth. Arsenia’s music has been described as a blend of folk, pop, and R&B, and he continues to use his gift of music to draw bridges between communities separated by race, class, gender, or religion.

John Raux

Born in Dakar, Senegal and raised in Kansas City, John Raux is a run on sentence with no drivers license cultivating abstract multi-media art exhibitions (Takt in Berlin, Jaaga in Bangalore, Badseed in Kansas City…), large scale murals (Sike Style Industries), collaborative installations (Middle of the Map Fest, Rockcottage Glassworks), international hospitality and relations (Global Ties KC, IVLP), and publications to inspire and provoke individuals and isolated communities from stasis and apathy into active cultural exchange and restored poetic imagination all the while traveling the globe on foot and by bicycle with his backpack full of art supplies and food made for sharing. 

Join us in laying the foundation for this exciting new fund! Our journey starts with Senegal, but that’s just the beginning. Up next, we’re planning to send a group of 8 local high school students to Washington D.C. this August, with even more adventures on the horizon.