Lauren Kirby

Freelance Reporter

Lauren is an independent multimedia producer living in Kansas City, Mo. 

Her love of radio began at The University of Kansas where she spent all of her free time working at the university station, KJHK. She holds a degree in Humanities & Western Civilization as well as a graduate certificate from The Salt Institute of Documentary Studies.  

Media production has allowed her to travel extensively, living for extended periods of time in California and Florida as part of long-term documentary projects. Most recently, she spent a year in India as the multimedia director of a nonprofit, crafting narrative pieces and producing media to advance the prevention of domestic violence. 

Her work has aired on The World from Public Radio International, Weekend America from American Public Media, Voice of America, Making Contact and various public radio programs in Seattle, Chicago, Maine, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. 

View more of Lauren's work on her website

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A nearly decade-old art movement called Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is one of the more quirky ways artists find community in metros across the globe. But Kansas City's version is known for taking that quirkiness a step further, and for uniting a new and growing artist community when it needed it most.

Lauren Kirby / KCUR

Stacy Lafontant is nervous. The 16-year-old junior at The Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts is about to step up to the podium to do something she’s never done before in public: Recite poetry.

“I’m going up in front of a lot of people,” she says, “and there might be kids that are better than me; I might forget the words.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Every Sunday for the last two years or so, a group of artists has been heading outside to capture the charm of Kansas City on their canvases. You might even see them, brush in hand, in the West Bottoms or at Longview Lake. Landscape painting is nothing new, but this group – known as Kansas City Plein Air Coterie or KC PAC — has a unique style and curious rituals that set them apart from other outdoor painters.

Jump-starting studio practice by painting outdoors

Lauren Kirby

Kansas City, Mo., will take on a folksy note next month when Folk Alliance International holds its annual conference at Crown Center.

A celebration of all types of folk culture, the event is perhaps a harbinger of bigger things to come. The nonprofit Folk Alliance moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City last summer — and already, the folk connections are building. 

The group set up its headquarters in Kansas City's River Market and opened a boutique music shop called The Folk Shop on location.