Cheryl Kimmi is the President/Executive Director of the sometimes bawdy, sometimes irreverent, raucous, but always inclusive, artistic and original, but never duplicated, nonprofit, 501(C)3 KC Fringe Festival. Now that was a mouthful of verbiage, but it takes that for one to embrace the numerous possibilities, that an audience has available to it, at a KC Fringe venue.
2011 KC Fringe STATS:368 performances, 18 venues, 455 artists, 14,655 attendees, all in 11 days were handled by the KC Fringe volunteers and staff. That’s the way the Fringe fest has been rolling since 2005. Attendance/ticket sales have grown 25%, 50% every year and a 60% growth in 2010, 2011.
It is very nice to see some of the dreams of Cheryl Kimmi realized in black/white numerology. But since 2005 there have been many hot, sweltering, triple digit summers, and below zero winters, that Cheryl and her staff have had to overcome. Along with meager budgets, bad weather, working without air conditioning or heat, on occasion, they still embraced and continued the show business mantra, “the show must go on!” lodeplus.com experienced the lack of air conditioning during this past summer, while doing an interview with Cheryl, and her staff photographers. While many fans were blowing hot air in the meeting rooms, with 100+ degrees outside temperature. But getting shows scheduled on the computers, and tickets lined up for KC Fringe customers and sponsors, were priority #1.
A quote from Sandy Woodson, KC Fringe Ticket Manager illustrates the “can do and will do” atitude, that is pure representation of Cheryl Kimmi’s persona:” I’ve known Cheryl for the last 2 years. I’ve been impressed by her passion for all things art and artists. She works tirelessly to promote the festival and the artists who choose to be a part of it. She is the biggest cheerleader for all the Fringe artists doing what she can to help and encourage them to do more and better. She is a volunteer but works on the festival all year around. She is the first one to show up and the last to leave and has somehow manage to rook her family into helping out as well!
Specific instance? Last weekend she and I worked the Kauffman Center (we are team captains of the volunteer ushers and consultants to the KC) and though exhausted already from the day she went on to the Arts Asylum which is owned and operated by a couple of Fringe volunteers and then on to see a show at the Fishtank (a Fringe venue, run by Heidi Van, a Fringe artist) to see Lucky Deluxe, another Fringe artist. The night was not over until midnight and Cheryl was chatting up the audience members she knew from Fringe when I went home! It was important to her to support the people who come to Fringe. She has a real love for all the artists.”
Her crew sometimes calls her Queen Cheryl or Queen Bee, because of her passionate “due diligence” in all things associated locally, regionally, nationally or internationally, involving Fringe Fanatics.
This nonprofit juggernaunt is rolling slowly but surely, and its in step with the recent Grand Opening of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. And to that end a statement by Jane Chu, President and CEO of Kauffman Center about KC Fringe is: “Kansas City’s national reputation for it’s cultivation of the arts and artists is growing due to the wide array of artistic opportunity. The range and quality of performances presented by the Fringe Festival create an electric connection between audiences and performers, helping to enhance the entire arts scene.”
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