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Community Highlights: Meet Logan Stacer of HE[ART]LAND

Today we’d like to introduce you to Logan Stacer.

Hi Logan, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My story began in 8th grade. I was an aspiring NBA player choosing elective classes for my first year of high school when my mom said I was better at arguing with her than I was at basketball so maybe I should try debate. Taking debate class was a decision we agreed on and one that began a snowball effect that has rolled for over a decade now.

Debate introduced me to a world of performing and to public policy at only 14 years old. Over the course of high school, the snowball grew to include theatre, slam poetry, and forensics (or speech) which I would end up going to college for on a scholarship. In college at Kansas State University, I was a national champion in speech but I also added stand-up comedy, a passion for social justice, and lots of teaching experience to the snowball. When it came time to think about grad school, New York University’s MA in Arts Politics seemed like a perfect fit, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted.

ACT 2 begins in New York. Prior to starting graduate school, I was accepted into the Summer 2018 cohort of the #BARS Theatre in Verse Workshop at the New York Public Theater. This gave me an opportunity to build on the skills I’d developed since high school under expert guidance. From there, I jumped into my MA program where I was able to pick up screenwriting, acting for the camera, and an academic context for what I wanted to accomplish once I left the safety of the school. After graduation, I was able to be a teaching artist at NYU Tisch and Columbia Law while also taking Sketch Comedy writing classes at UCB in New York. After working with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition in January 2020, I decided to make my own workshop combining everything I learned with the intention of supporting Kansas City artists. This was the beginning of HE[ART]LAND.

Me and 4 other artists from Kansas City went to Atlanta to do this performance workshop centered on voter suppression, we were able to collaborate with artists from Atlanta, learn about public policy from experts, perform original work, and register voters over the course of the three days. We were planning a second workshop in Chicago when COVID struck and sent me back to the drawing board.

I moved back to Kansas City in March of 2020 and have been here ever since. ACT 3, if you will. While in Kansas City I have worked as a Performing Arts Teacher for the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, had my first play produced for Kansas State University’s Ebony Theatre, and officially launched HE[ART]LAND as a 501c3. Life in the arts is a little different than being a professional basketball player, but it is special that the snowball that began in 8th grade has grown into a full-blown avalanche.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have definitely been challenging periods- namely sleeping in 18 different places my first 2 months in New York- but honestly, I’m struggling the most right now. Launching HE[ART]LAND has been very rewarding but I’ve had to switch my brain from “artist” to “executive” and it’s difficult.

Currently, it’s me and my wife holding it down for HE[ART]LAND. That includes fundraising, communications, strategizing, executing… all of it. It’s a constant grind and I love it, but I’ve struggled to maintain my own creative practice which had been consistent for so long. Of course, I need to extend myself grace because *gestures at the whole world*, but right now is definitely a season of adjustment.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
HE[ART]LAND is an arts advocacy nonprofit that creates awareness of the power of public policy and uplifts people in the Midwest through art and performance. Our early work is focusing on developing emerging artists and finding ways for the performing arts to be a bridge between policymakers and the communities who are affected by those policies.

Making dope performances will always be a priority, but we’re also about using art to make local politics more accessible. Long term, we hope to develop programming that focuses on young artists and even create an arts-integrated civics curriculum that can be taught in local high schools.

Having this work rooted in Kansas City is unique because KC is a much more intimate city than LA or New York. Thus, there’s an opportunity to create an infrastructure that bakes arts advocacy into the identity of the city in a way that can be transformative.

Any big plans?
We’re looking forward to building a community and hitting our fundraising goals! We’ve been planning for over two years now, so the biggest change will be having the financial support we need to make our plans happen.

In 2022, we’re planning to launch our HE[ART]LAND Fellowship. This program will select 5 artists each from KCK and KCMO to work with the community, develop expertise in policy, and create original performances that speak to the needs of the Kansas City community.

Pricing:

  • A $150 donation sponsors one Fellow for one month
  • A $500 donation sponsors one Fellow for the whole program

Contact Info:

  • Email: heartlandartskc@gmail.com
  • Website: www.heartlandartskc.org
  • Instagram: @heartlandartskc
  • Facebook: @heartlandartskc
  • Twitter: @heartlandartskc

Image Credits
Mikala Stacer, Stephanie Soto, and Rico Frederick

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