Kate Francis

Museum Affairs Officer, Development and Fundraising, Springfield Art Museum

Kate Francis
Photo by Brandon AlmsKatie Francis is the Museum Affairs Officer for Development and Fundraising at the Springfield Art Museum. Purchase Photo

Instant Boost
A long drive on country roads in the Ozarks

Top Event 
99X at the Springfield Art Museum

Meaningful Mentor
Cynthia Prost, former President and CEO of Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. “Two of Cynthia’s mantras continue to influence my work: “no means ‘not now,’ and ‘Hope is not a strategy.’”

One of Kate Francis’ favorite pieces in the Springfield Art Museum’s collection is called Springfield Landscape. “It’s one of the earliest known paintings of the city of Springfield,” says Francis. “It’s not on exhibit right now because it’s currently being conserved. In 2021, our community raised funds to restore the painting and ensure its life would continue. But the painting shows what Springfield was, to help us reflect.”

In every way, Francis’ job centers around celebrating and elevating Springfield through innovation at its Art Museum. Since joining the team in 2021, Francis has helped the museum raise more than $13 million toward its 2028 Campaign. The comprehensive capital plan includes renovation and expansion of the museum on improved grounds, enhancing the museum’s space for its 10,000-piece permanent collection.

“The Art Museum and Springfield have this rich commitment to culture with a heart for Americana,” she says. “Our galleries and especially our focus on American Art inspire awe, curiosity and joy. We want to improve the museum’s building to attract more cultural tourists, who spend more and stay longer than other types of travelers. A more modern museum will add to Springfield’s unique identity; we don’t profess to compete with Crystal Bridges or Nelson-Atkins. We are our own, unique destination.”

Artists and creatives in Springfield benefit from this effort. The Springfield arts and culture industry generates over $26 million in economic impact, $4 million from the museum. New, dynamic spaces and opportunities to showcase art and artists provide value to both patrons and practitioners, says Nicole Chilton, Springfield-based artist and writer.

“Investing in the arts is investing in the community,” says Chilton. “When most people visit other cities, they remember what makes it stand out, and almost always that’s public art. In addition to being a free and equitable way for all to enjoy the arts, the Museum adds intrinsic value to our quality of place and life.”

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