Bill Summers, drummer and percussionist, and his group Forward Back perform in KC last month on International Day of Music.  Summers (far R) is the new abassador of music for UNESCO-KC.  He will be on the tour to help build the case for Jazz as a economic driver for Kansas City

If New York is Broadway and so much more, California is movies, Nashville is Country Western and New Orleans is Jazz, what then is Kansas City?

That’s the question Anita Dixon-Brown wants to explore with her Music Economic Development Tour on Tues., July 19, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Dixon-Brown is executive director of Kansas City’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative City of Music. In 2017, Kansas City became the only UNESCO Creative City of Music in the United States.

This highly coveted global designation has opened a flood gate of economic development opportunities through creative placemaking and an emphasis on building a music economy similar to what Nashville and New Orleans enjoy.

The designation, which Dixon-Brown applied for and received, was awarded in recognition of Kansas City’s rich jazz history.

The UNESCO program recognizes creativity as a way to bring diverse people and cultures together and that “creative” industries like jazz music and others identified earlier can be “a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.”

That’s exactly what these other cities have done. They’ve developed an economy around their special brand of creativity.

It’s a point Dixon-Brown says she’s been trying to get across in Kansas city since 2017.

For her tour, she’s titled “It’s Time to Swing!,” she’s inviting the media, but also anyone who’s interested in hearing more about how important creative industries are to local economies.

The tour will depart from the Goin’ To Kansas City Plaza, at Paseo and 12th St. During the press conference participants will be taken on a guided tour of the assets that are part of UNESCO’s proposed music economy strategies.

As the city that is considered to be one of the main cradles of the creation of Jazz globally, we of UNESCO-KC, our partners and musicians are gathering to demonstrate our commitment to furthering this music known worldwide and how we will make it an economic powerhouse for business, residents and all concerned,” wrote Dixon-Brown.

During the tour, UNESCO-KC will also announce and distribute literature on an international media tour scheduled for Sept. 15-17, 2022 . She’ll also introduce organizations, musicians and partners in the media tour and introduce UNESCO-KC’s new International Music Ambassador Bill Summers of the first platinum selling Jazz album in history, HEADHUNTERS.

The July 19 tour is free, but reservations are required because space is limited. If you plan to take the tour reserve your spot by contacting UNESCO-KC by email @

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...