Julie Denesha

Digital Media Specialist

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 89.3FM

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.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A new one-act play re-examines an enormous explosion that rocked Kansas City and killed six firefighters. The jury convicted five men of setting the 1988 fire, but investigative reporting has cast doubt on key facts in the case.

The process of producing the play, called Justice in the Embers, meant writing a script with a dogged journalist and visiting a convicted felon. 

Wikipedia

Eating locally during the summer is easy, but how do we eat local during a Midwestern winter?

Inspired by Harvest Public Media's series, Feasting on Fuel, we explore the history of eating locally when it's cold out, the environmental impact of obtaining fresh produce and why a grocer is stocking local products on his shelves.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Dickens Carolers have brought their roving band of holiday cheer to the metro since 1983. With a sprig of holly here and there, each quartet is decked out in costumes that evoke the Victorian era.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When 50 kids play a concert at the Plaza Library this weekend, it'll be one of the first public performances of a new program that provides free music education to low-income kids in hopes of improving their long-term academic performance.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The mood was intense on Wednesday at the final dress rehearsal for the Kansas City Ballet's world premier of "The Nutcracker."

After nearly two years of planning and collaboration, with artisans from all across the country, artistic director Devon Carney was finally ready to bring his new creation to the stage of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A large crowd of supporters and donors gathered Friday morning in the freshly renovated lobby space of the Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus.

After a seven-month, $5.6 million reconstruction, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's primary venue now has a new stage floor, new seats, updated lighting and acoustic design as well as an expanded lobby. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

For more than three decades, Kansas City audiences have gathered at the holidays to watch the classic ballet, The Nutcracker. This year, though, they'll be getting something much different.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Around Kansas City, spontaneous acts of decoration in hues of royal blue are surfacing in unexpected places. As a result, historic statues are becoming pop-up shrines to the Kansas City Royals. 

Museum staff at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum placed a Kansas City Royals baseball cap on the life-size bronze statue of Truman in the Legacy Gallery. A photograph of the smiling statue can be found on the museum’s Facebook page

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Photographer Mike Strong has spent the past two decades capturing the movement of dancers on Kansas City stages. 

When Strong first became interested in dance, he says he couldn't find much information about metro-area dance events. So in 1997, he started his own website, KCDance.com and has published photographs of performances and rehearsals ever since. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The air was crisp and the sun was high Friday afternoon as a small group of people assembled in the amphitheater at the athletic fields at 9th and Van Brunt in Kansas City, Mo. They’d come by bus to hear artist José Faus say a few words about his new mural, “The Sun and the Moon Dream of Each Other,” one of two new murals commissioned over the summer by the MAPIT, Mural Arts Program Inspiring Transformation.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The grass was still damp from overnight rains in Washington Square Park Tuesday morning as sculptor Will Vannerson stepped away from a section of the galvanized sculptural work called "Moon Garden."

After Vannerson lifted the work from the bed of a pickup truck, he said wanted to get a broader view of the large, silvery tubes in the context of the park’s landscape.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Cicadas sing the rhythm of late summer as plein air painter Patrick Saunders and his wife, photographer Kimberly Saunders, sit at a picnic table beneath the shade of a tent — the living room in their new life together.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Large puffy, clouds float overhead as Alex Hamil mixes water and pigment in the shadow of Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. "Bag of tricks: brushes, water for watercolor," he says as he pulls out supplies.

Alex has entered a plein air painting competition and is trying a new style of painting he knows well but has been reluctant to explore.              

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye counts out the beats as he directs three dancers darting across the floor in a rehearsal room.

Earlier this year when Jolicoeur-Nye created a pas de deux for Kansas City Ballet’s “New Moves” showcase set to the music of composer Max Richter, it caught the eye of Kansas City Dance Festival’s co-artistic director Anthony Krutzkamp. The two decided to collaborate on a larger work for the festival this weekend that they’re calling "Richter Scales."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Fringe Festival brings an edgy mix of theater, music, dance and comedy to Kansas City audiences. One production, "Silver: A Noir Ballet," gives a jazzy new life to an epic Greek poem. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Heidi Van says that Kansas City needs to send original, locally created theater out into the world every bit as much as it needs a baseball team. That means experimenting on stage, taking risks, re-tooling scenes and sometimes failing. In front of an audience. Get a window into the world of experimental theater in Kansas City. 

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As KCUR begins an exploration of how the Missouri River unites and divides the Kansas City metro, we must first consider our unique congregation of bridges. There are 10 of them, if you include the highways. Thirteen if you count the rail tracks that go over the river. And each one — though probably many people can't identify them by name — offers a unique perspective and connection for travelers.

As part of the Beyond Our Borders project, we'll soon take a look at the current state of the bridges and how we use them. But for now, we offer a little bit of history.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In a small dressing room Saturday afternoon, nine young dancers from AileyCamp The Group crowded around a bank of mirrors checking makeup and donning leotards. The dance troupe was one of three performing in Festival on the Vine’s youth matinee performance at the Gem Theater in Kansas City.

The three-day festival of dance over the weekend featured Kansas City-based Owen/Cox Dance Group, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance from Colorado and CRISOL danza Fusión from Mexico. And Saturday was the moment for young dancers to take the stage. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A nice, shady front porch can be a great place to swap stories or share songs. And the community event called PorchFest continues this relationship — by pairing musicians with neighborhood porches.

The first PorchFest took place about 8 years ago in Ithaca, New York. It's spread to nearly 30 cities, including the West Plaza neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, where visitors are encouraged to park their cars and follow their ears.

Matching musicians with the right porch

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas artist Jane Booth specializes in large, abstract paintings. When she outgrew her workspace, she created one that could expand her reach. As part of our occasional series called Tools of the Trade about artists and their relationship to the tools that make their work possible — we visited Jane Booth's new studio.

One early morning, Booth is out on the back porch of her metal studio in Spring Hill, Kansas. She’s dressed for work — jeans and a smock splashed with layers of paint. The prairie is alive with birds and Booth is just starting a new painting. As pigment moves across the fabric, Booth begins to get excited about what she sees.

“I mean, you know, can you even stand it?” says Booth. “I just love what happens right there. Where that water is and isn’t. So, we’ll come back in a little while.”

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