Laura Spencer

Reporter

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. 

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Architecture
3:44 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Donaldson House Slated For Demolition

The historic Donaldson House in Kansas City, Mo. is slated for demolition on December 19. It's something that's been in the works for at least a decade.

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Architecture
5:00 am
Thu December 6, 2012

City Hall At 75

City Hall peeps through an opening in a parking garage across the street. More than 7,800 tons of stone was used to build it making the structure the fourth tallest city hall in the world.
Julie Denesha KCUR

City Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, turns 75 this year. It’s one of several city landmarks, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, designed by the architecture firm, Wight and Wight.

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Classical
10:46 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Kansas City Gets The Grammys Nod

Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Concertmaster Noah Geller, pictured at far left.

The 2013 Grammy nominations are out - and two nominees are based in Kansas City.

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Visual Arts
10:28 am
Thu November 29, 2012

KCAI In Legal Wrangling Over Unpaid Pledge

Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Painting Building at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The Kansas City Art Institute is taking a southern California couple to court. The issue is stirring up a lot of controversy and national -- and international -- attention.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Bronze Installation Inspired By Idea: 'Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around'

Michael Wickerson's nine-panel bronze installation is near the front entrance at the South Branch Library in Kansas City, Kan.
Laura Spencer KCUR

At the new South Branch Library in the Argentine district in Kansas City, Kan., nine 700-lb. bronze panels flank the entrance, some with images of vertical stacks of library books.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Terry Evans: Revealing The Secrets Of The Prairie

Bison at Maxwell Game Preserve, Roxbury, Kansas
Terry Evans Courtesy: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

It’s fitting that the first career retrospective for photographer Terry Evans takes place in her hometown of Kansas City, Mo., at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a place where she took art classes as a child.

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Visual Arts
12:46 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Charlotte Street's David Hughes Announces Transition Plans

Charlotte Street Foundation founder David Hughes
courtesy: Charlotte Street Foundation

Charlotte Street Foundation founder David Hughes announced today he would be stepping down as Co-Director in mid-2013, after the selection of a new Executive Director.

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Visual Arts
11:15 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Controversy In A Sculpture Garden

"Accept or Reject" by artist Yu Chang.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The 300-acre Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens garnered national attention in recent months over a bronze statue titled "Accept or Reject." The work, by Chinese artist Yu Chang, depicts a headless, bare-breasted woman holding a camera, pointing it at herself.

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Performance
5:35 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Projecting Emotion In The Lyric Opera Of Kansas City's 'Il Trovatore'

Under a full moon, Kirk Eichelberger, as Ferrando, tells the story of a Gypsy woman burned at the stake many years ago.
Julie Denesha KCUR

When it comes to the plot of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il Trovatore - which revolves around a love triangle, murder, and revenge - audiences are advised to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the music.

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Visual Arts
6:00 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

With A New Name, The Toy & Miniature Museum Looks Ahead

The museum is housed in a 1911 mansion.
cottonridge/Flickr

Thirty years ago, the Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City opened its doors, with a display of dollhouses, toys, and miniatures mostly collected by two Kansas City women.

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Visual Arts
9:05 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Political Power Of Imagery

Larry Schwarm, "Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States," 2002. chromogenic color print
Gift of the artist, 2006.0102 Spencer Museum of Art

What images best convey the meaning of politics in America? An exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence explores this idea through photography, prints, paintings, archival political ads, and a poodle skirt. 

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Visual Arts
3:11 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Artist Don Reitz, Art As Discovery At The Belger Arts Center

Laura Spencer KCUR

The Belger Arts Center often displays works from its own extensive collection, sometimes adding pieces borrowed from other collectors. A current exhibition, a tribute to ceramic artist Don Reitz, includes nearly 100 works, many from the artist’s own collection.

Decades Of Work, 1960s To Present

On the ground floor at the Belger Arts Center, tall ceramic totems with colorful drawings carved into the surface are illuminated like Japanese lanterns.

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Business & Tech
10:04 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Sprint Nextel Confirms Acquisition Talks

Overland Park-based Sprint Nextel has confirmed that Softbank Corp., which owns a large mobile carrier in Japan, is in talks to purchase a commanding stake in Sprint.

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Performance
8:13 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

UMKC Dancers Take The Stage At The Kauffman Center

Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center.
courtesy of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

It’s been a year since the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce released its "Big 5" list with ideas and priorities for the region.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Boxcar Installation Transforms Downtown Rooftop

Architectural rendering of "Prairie Logic."
courtesy of el dorado, inc.

A landscaped roof at 12th and Walnut, in the Power & Light District of downtown Kansas City, is now an art space and community focal point with the addition of a new sculpture called “Prairie Logic."

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Business & Tech
6:15 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Hallmark Consolidates Kansas Facilities, Cuts 300 Jobs

Hallmark Cards, Inc. today announced the consolidation of its manufacturing operations in Kansas to two locations: Lawrence and Leavenworth.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Work-In-Progress Inspired By Art At The Nelson

Composer Adam Schoenberg makes notes on the score for his new work, "Picture Studies." It's inspired by artwork in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Laura Spencer KCUR

This season, the Kansas City Symphony focuses on the theme of “Symphonic Pictures," exploring the intersection between art and music.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Two Decades Sharing A Vision For Collecting Art

Tony and Marti Oppenheimer leaf through a new book about the Oppenheimer Collection; it includes photos and essays about more than 150 works.
Laura Spencer KCUR

When you think of a patron of the arts, what name comes to mind? Maybe it’s Medici or Guggenheim.

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Architecture
9:47 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Broken Glass At The Kauffman Center: Who's To Blame?

A view of the broken pane from inside the Kauffman Center.
Laura Spencer KCUR

It's been a year since the $413 million concrete-and-glass shell-shaped Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. opened to the public.

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Government
4:59 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Kansas City Mayor Tears Down Walls In Urban Core

Kansas City Mayor Sly James (at left) prepares for demolition duty at 4406 Brooklyn in Kansas City, Mo.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and other city officials gathered Wednesday afternoon on the city’s east side to tackle a new program for the backlog of dangerous buildings.

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Visual Arts
4:00 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

A Photographic Cabinet Of Curiosities

Wilson Alwyn Bentley, American (1865–1931). Snowflake, ca. 1905. Gelatin silver print. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation.
courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In Shadow of Night - the second book in a supernatural trilogy by Deborah Harkness - the main characters travel back in time to Elizabethan England in search of a mysterious book called Ashmole 782.

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Visual Arts
9:03 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

'SmellScape' Encourages Nose-First Exploration

Just follow your nose, or the nose glyph, to collect one of 20 possible smell cards in the game/project called SmellScape.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Berlin-based artist Sissel Tolaas travels the world collecting scents.

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Visual Arts
4:40 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

City Officials Call Special Session To Discuss Controversial Statue

"Accept or Reject" by artist Yu Chang at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Flickr user 39_Steps

The Overland Park City Council called an extra meeting for Wednesday night. On the agenda: an executive session to discuss legal issues around controversial statuary at the city’s Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

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Performance
4:36 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Lyric Opera Officially Opens New Center

Recently retired general director Evan Luskin and Artistic Director Ward Holmquist prepare to cut the ribbon.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City on Friday marked the official opening of its new $10.5 million, two-building facility in the Crossroads Arts District.

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Arts
10:06 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Discussing The Future Of A Downtown Arts Campus

courtesy of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance

In September 2011, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced "the Big 5," ideas the city would champion, ranging from revitalizing the urban core to boosting medical research.

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Visual Arts
5:56 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Group Files Signatures To Remove Controversial Sculpture

Flickr user BSevett

A grand jury may decide the fate of a life-sized bronze sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

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Business & Tech
2:25 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Apprenticeships Provide Options For Workers

Many skilled trades offer apprenticeship programs. It’s paid, on-the-job training in occupations like plumbing and carpentry.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Jim Leedy: The Documentary

Jim Leedy is known as the "founder of the Crossroads Arts District." His gallery, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center at 20th and Baltimore, was founded in 1985.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The Crossroads, a once blighted area in downtown Kansas City, is now a thriving arts district. 

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Education
12:16 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Funding Verdict Against Kansas City Public Schools

bigstock.com

The Missouri Court of Appeals' Western Court ruled Tuesday against the Kansas City, Missouri School District, now known as the KCPS.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Kemper Hosts First Museum Retrospective For Lois Dodd

Men’s Shelter, April, 1968; oil on linen, 47 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Museum Purchase made possible by a gift from the Kemper Foundations.
D. James Dee

Artist Lois Dodd is known for painting from the inside looking out and the outside looking in - from the cityscapes of the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the gardens near her farmhouse in rural Maine. 

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