KANSAS CITY INSTITUTE FOR MEDIA, ANIMATION AND GRAPHIC INNOVATION IN EDUCATION
Thank You Walt Disney Inc. (TYWD) and digiSTORY KC, two 501 (c)(3) organizations based in Kansas City, have established a program to promote collaboration between stakeholders in our region’s digital media industry. This program, the Kansas City Institute for Media, Animation & Graphic Innovation Education (KC-IMAGINE) brings together area leaders from educational, business and civic organizations to explore ways to improve how we prepare talent to serve the region’s digital media industry.
Kansas City’s digital media industry is extensive, but very decentralized. KC IMAGINE provides a forum for stakeholders to address their talent pipeline challenges. A January 2022 study by the Missouri Department of Economic Development revealed these facts about our region’s digital storytelling industry:
“Kansas City has nearly 50,000 workers employed in industries related to digital storytelling. This figure has grown 60% between 2011 and 2021 with the computer system design industry seeing the bulk of that growth.”
“The KC metro has seen 24% growth in occupations related to digital storytelling between 2011 and 2021. Growth was particularly strong on the technical side with software development and computer user support growth surging.”
In 2017 the Mid-America Regional Council updated its original research on the KC area’s digital media industry. Research results indicated that digital media is an economic cluster worthy of greater development support. The location quotient for KC’s digital storytelling industry is 1.07. This ranks us 9th among our 31 peer cities. MARC’s recent update also indicated that KC’s strengths lie more on the technical side and less on the media side.
KC IMAGINE believes that a consortium of regional educational institutions, digital media firms and civic programs can accelerate growth in this industry by:
- Helping colleges adjust curricula to better meet the talent requirements of digital businesses
- Establishing career readiness programs that encourage high school students to explore occupations in digital media
- Building national and community awareness of our region’s digital media industry
- Fostering entrepreneurial growth in digital media
- Providing forums and continuing education to promote best practices in digital media business and technology
TYWD & digiSTORY KC believe that Laugh-O-gram, Walt Disney’s first professional studio here in Kansas City offers the opportunity for redevelopment to leverage Walt Disney’s legacy of animation and entrepreneurship. In addition to being a home for Disney’s legacy, the redeveloped facility can become a hub of creative media innovation, an educational resource for lifelong learning and a catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation in digital media.
 Digital Storytelling in the Kansas City Metro: Occupation and Workforce Data, Profiles and Resources, Mid-America Regional Council, 2013.