Julie Denesha

Reporter, Photographer

Julie Denesha is a freelance documentary photographer based in the Kansas City area.

Julie graduated from The University of Kansas in 1993, with degrees in Journalism and Russian Language and Literature. After college, she worked as a staff photographer for The Kansas City Star. In 1995, she moved to Europe and from 1996 to 2004, Julie was based in Prague, Czech Republic, where she covered Central and Eastern Europe for newspapers and magazines. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor.

After moving back to the United States, Julie spent three years working as a photo editor for The Washington Times.

In 2007, Julie was awarded both a Fulbright and a Milena Jesenská Fellowship to continue her ongoing project on the Roma in Slovakia. Her project on the Roma was featured in an exhibit of the Roma at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, The World Bank in Brussels, Belgium, The Half King Gallery in New York, and The Institute For Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

View more of Julie's work on her website.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Making plans for what happens to your possessions when you die can be tough for anyone. But for artists – it’s not just about stuff, it’s about a lifetime of artistic creation. And … what happens to it when they die?

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The grand spectacle of opera is an expensive art form. These days more and more opera companies are banding together to ease the financial burden. For the first time in its history, Lyric Opera of Kansas City is taking the lead in a new co-production.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A recital at New York City's Carnegie Hall, one of the world’s most celebrated stages, would be a career high point for any musician. For the last few months, Park University’s International Center for Music artist-in-residence Behzod Abduraimov has been preparing for a piano recital there.

Abduraimov has performed around the world, and this will be his third time to play at Carnegie Hall. But, for him, it's special; he says it's "kind of a holy stage." 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

After a four-month absence, a 40-foot tall, 35-foot-wide, 24,000-pound aluminum sculpture by artist R.M. Fischer has returned to the top of its 300-foot-tall pylon at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Each month on First Fridays, thousands of visitors stroll through galleries in the Crossroads Arts District. On the industrial northeast corner of the district, Tom Deatherage curates an eclectic mix of edgy, local art in his red, two-story The Late Show Gallery.

Deatherage, who lives in the apartment upstairs, says he’s always been drawn to artists and their work. And after more than 25 years of dealing in art, he says he knows what he likes.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kids in the Lyric’s Summer Opera Camp are getting some particularly timely lessons this year, and they don’t all have to do with vocal performance.

The opera they’re learning is She Never Lost a Passenger, which recounts the tale of Harriet Tubman, the slave who escaped to freedom and returned to guide some 70 slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad network of safe houses.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

A meeting of artists in the River Market four decades ago was the spark that ignited the Kansas City Artists Coalition, which brings visual artists together through curated exhibits and mentors them in their art practice.

On a recent Saturday morning, the organization's executive director, Janet Simpson, greeted artists as they dropped off their work for the fortieth anniversary show. Simpson has been working full-time at the Coalition since 1989.
 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City audiences might know Johnny Hamil from his funky bass lines in the band Mr. Marco's V7. But Hamil is also a music teacher and a one-man evangelist for the deep sounds of the double-bass.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A storefront on the corner of Brooklyn and Lexington, across the street from a Caribbean restaurant and a convenience store in Kansas City's Historic Northeast, might be an unexpected location for an art gallery. But The Source Fine Art owner Bill Heineken, who hosts his second art opening on Friday, says more artists are coming to the neighborhood.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City's new streetcar line presents hazards for bicyclists, but an artist named Don Wilkison, who calls himself m.o.i., for the Minister of Information, hopes his "Rail-Bike-Rail" installation will help them navigate this new environment.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ghostly, metallic-hued faces stare out from century-old photographs. They neatly line the walls on narrow shelves in Nick Vaccaro’s home office in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Let me get this out of the way,” said Vaccaro, as he opened the door of a lighted display and reached in for a small leather case. Inside, there’s a tintype: an innovation from the 1860s that brought photography to the masses.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

With about a week to go before the kickoff of the 12th Annual Kansas City Fringe Festival, local actors and performers are rehearsing intensely for the 11­-day festival that includes theater, dance, cabaret, and spoken word.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The members of Kansas City's Dance Gurukul troupe are hoping “Cosmic Forces” helps revive an ancient tradition while honoring the Hindu god Shiva.

This weekend, they'll be performing in the classical Southern Indian tradition of Kuchipudi, a style of dance that started as a temple art form thousands of years ago.

“The stage is a sacred space for us and the essence of the dance is deeply spiritual,” says Samarpita Bajpai. “It’s a way of connecting with God. That’s what you should feel when you are dancing.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

For this year's production of Twelfth Night, or What You Will, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has set the play in the Roaring Twenties.

Its three female characters represent distinctly different approaches to the gender politics of Shakespeare's time, so KCUR asked the actors for their thoughts on the characters of Viola, Olivia, and Maria.

Actor: Bree Elrod
Character: Viola

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's 18th and Vine shares similar roots with Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. And both of these music-infused, historically African-American districts have gone through ups and downs over the decades. 

Beale Street is now a thriving tourist destination with restaurants, bars, and shops, although some of its lively streetscape includes facades of historic buildings propped up with steel girders. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

For two decades, The Billie Mahoney Dance Troupe has riffed, shuffled and flapped to jazzy, syncopated rhythms year round.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

An electronic soundscape greets visitors to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art on a recent Sunday afternoon. Some carry yoga mats as they walk into the main gallery, and settle in on the floor. Musician and composer Paul Rudy stands in front of a large-scale collage of rice paper, and wooden shelves lined with ceramics.

Rudy is tall, and dressed all in white, with a golden scarf. He chooses an instrument — and the musical meditation experience begins.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Paul Tyler will retire later this month after 14 years of working as the grants director of ArtsKC-Regional Arts Council. Tyler has served the Kansas City arts community by working to form links between individual artists and the organizations supporting them.

For a man who is more comfortable working hard behind the scenes, Tyler says he's been a bit overwhelmed by the flurry of attention he's received after announcing his retirement.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

A small Westside neighborhood crowd gathered at 16th Street and Jefferson Sunday morning to watch a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane remove the largest of the four "Sky Station" sculptures atop Bartle Hall in Kansas City.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

As they rehearsed for an upcoming performance in the apocalyptic “Rite of Spring,” two dancers in the Kansas City Ballet recently got advice from the legendary ballerina who’d helped create the role.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

As Debbie Pettid, one of the creators of The Rabbit Hole, waited for some 30 elementary school students from Rosehill Enhanced Learning Classroom in the Shawnee Mission School District on a recent Friday morning, she reflected on the whirlwind of the past several months.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Sound and lighting designers at Kansas City's Unicorn Theatre are pulling out all the stops for the world premiere of the play The Ghosts of Lote Bravo. Thanks to a six-figure grant, the Unicorn has been able to upgrade to the latest technology the theater world has to offer.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The curtain rises this weekend on Georges Bizet’s Carmen, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s final production of the season. At the heart of this story of love, betrayal and revenge is Carmen, the tempestuous Gypsy played by Latvian mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Briarcliff Hills, in Kansas City's Northland, is a neighborhood with spectacular views of the city and the Missouri River Valley. But the cars driving through on a recent Saturday morning at a snail’s pace aren’t here for that view. They’re eager to glimpse the private home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1957 for Frank and Eloise Bott.

For fans of the celebrated American architect, the Bott House is a sort of pilgrimage.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Sixth-grader Miguel Gonzales sits at a grand piano at Eisenhower Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas. He’s in a large room reserved for special events.

Under a mop of auburn hair, Gonzales smiles shyly as he waits for his lesson to begin. His instructor Paul Adams (that’s Mr. Adams to Gonzales) soon shows up — on the screen of a laptop. Adams, a graduate student in piano at the University of Kansas, is about 35 miles away in a music studio on the Lawrence campus. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

For thousands of years, artisans have been making musical instruments out of clay — from whistles and rattles to ocarinas and horns. That tradition continues with two Kansas City artists who've turned ceramic vessels into a sonic experience. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Many actors say they finally get into character when they put on their costumes. An effective costume design can transport audiences to ancient Greece or to the nifty 1950s of the musical Grease. The wardrobe created for the Unicorn Theatre's production of The Whale brings to the stage the life of a 600-pound shut-in. 

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

PorchFestKC has a new home. After losing favor with the neighborhood that hosted its first two years, the afternoon music festival will move to the porches of Valentine, says organizer Kathryn Golden. She’s set a date for Oct. 8.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The sound of picking banjos, strumming guitars and fiddling fiddles permeated the air Thursday night as some 3,500 musicians, agents, promoters and other industry representatives from all corners of the globe descended on the Westin Crown Center for Folk Alliance International.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The ballet Swan Lake is a tragic love story. A beautiful princess, Odette, is under a spell, and, by day, turns into a white swan. A handsome prince falls for her, but then he’s tricked into pledging his love for an evil witch, Odile, the black swan. And the spell cannot be undone. 

Veteran dancer Cynthia Gregory made her debut as Odette/Odile in 1967, at the age of 20, on tour with the American Ballet Theatre in San Francisco.

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