Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer caught the radio bug more than a decade ago when she was asked to read a newscast on the air on her first day volunteering for KOOP, the community radio station in Austin, Texas. 

After moving home to Kansas City, she learned the fine art of editing reel-to-reel tape as an intern and graduate assistant with the nationally syndicated literary program New Letters on the Air. Since 2001, she's focused her efforts on writing and producing feature stories as KCUR's Arts Reporter. 

In 2011, Laura was one of 21 journalists selected for USC Annenberg’s seventh National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. She's received awards from the Associated Press, Kansas City Art Institute (Excellence in Visual Art and Education), Kansas City Association of Black Journalists, Missouri Broadcasters Association, Radio-Television News Directors Association (regional Edward R. Murrow Award) and Society for Professional Journalists. 

After a rocky decade, state funding for the arts in Kansas has begun to improve.

As of July 1, the start of a new fiscal year, state funding for the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission increased to $500,000, up from just over $190,000 over the last few years. It marks the highest state appropriation since 2013.

The Symphony in the Flint Hills on Saturday canceled its signature event — an outdoor performance by the Kansas City Symphony — for the first time in the organization's 14-year history. Early morning storms caused severe damage, including flattening four tents slated for ticketing, patrons, food and art.

Henry W. Bloch died Tuesday at the age of 96. A notable philanthropist, Bloch and his brother, Richard, co-founded the tax preparation business H&R Block Inc. more than six decades ago.