In 2008, High School Confidential, a documentary-type show that followed 12 high school girls at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park through their four years of high school, aired on WE tv. Sharon Liese is the filmmaker who created this show, and conceived the idea to create a documentary about the high school experience when her own daughter was going through high school.
The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open in Washington DC in 2015. And although the ground has yet to be broken, the museum's staff is already collecting historical objects and running education programs around the county.
"Partisan Pieces: Quilts of Political and Patriotic Persuasion" at the National Archives show the politics of their 19th century creators. But can quilts really tell us the political leanings of their makers?
By Anthonia Akitunde
Kansas City, MO – Some people wear their politics on their sleeves. Or on their bumper stickers. But on quilts?
The Mariel boatlift provided Kansas City musicians with a rhythmic maestro.
By Alex Smith
Kansas City, MO – Thirty years ago this summer, Cuban president Fidel Castro took the unusual step of allowing people to leave. Over the course of a few months, 125,000 Cubans came to the United States, in what became known as the Mariel boat lift. And that migration decades ago ended up providing Kansas City with a rhythmic maestro.
As the shell-like concrete curves take shape on the $413 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the building is about 75 percent complete. The most noticeable change last week - installation started on the first pieces of exterior glass for the grand lobby.
When the KC Fringe Festival unfolds next week, it will mark the sixth summer that performers of all stripes have exhibited their talents at venues all over the metro. Broken up into such categories as visual art, dance, and fashion, the festival has always had theater at its core, and this year debuts over 40 new plays and musicals. Among the latter are two musicals written by Kansas City natives that, as KCUR's Steve Walker discovered, delved into such tough subjects as murder and mental illness.
An exhibition at the Belger Arts Center called "Beneath the Surface - Excavating the Belger Collection" focuses on works by 10 of the artists in the collection, including Terry Allen. Allen was born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in the West Texas town of Lubbock. He's been described as a Renaissance man, working in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, video, and installations.
Americans for the Arts recently announced its 2010 Public Art Year in Review, recognizing 40 of the best public artworks in the United States and Canada. On the list: only one Midwest artist, based in Lawrence, who highlights global water issues sculpting with plastic water bottles. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
Since 1993, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has presented a free outdoor performance of the works of William Shakespeare, from the first year's production of "The Tempest" to this year's "King Richard III."
Photographer Edward Steichen has been described as "the Annie Leibovitz of his day, in overdrive." In the early 1920s and '30s, Steichen created more than 1000 celebrity portraits as chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – Photographer Edward Steichen's crisp, bold style helped create a new era of modern glamour.
An exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art features more than 150 of Steichen's black- and-white photos, as KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
In recording studios across the globe, even the most tone-deaf singers are achieving something close to perfect pitch, thanks to a computer program known as Autotune. Such was not the case in the early 20th century, when singers were rarely miked and either had a voice or didn't. Florence Foster Jenkins notoriously did not.
New York-based artist Nari Ward has been described as a "modern archaeologist," using salvaged materials in his works, like television sets, discarded clothes, liquor signs and grocery carts.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – For the past 10 years, Ward has lived and worked in Harlem, collecting objects there to re-purpose. KCUR's Laura Spencer caught up with the artist recently at the Nerman Museum during the installation of the show called "Nari Ward ● Re-Presence."
Over the last three decades, the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence has nearly doubled the size of its collection. Looking ahead to future expansion, the museum recently hired an internationally renowned architectural firm to create a plan.
This August marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In a recent edition of The Walt Bodine Show, we talked with a Texas-based artist about his new exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Art addressing Katrina and its impact on the people and the places along the Gulf Coast.
David Bates, painter
Barbara O'Brien, curator, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
In recent years, visitors to Powell Gardens, the 930-acre botanical garden east of Kansas City, have encountered stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, and 30 foot dinosaurs - or explored tree houses and mazes.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – In one of this year's outdoor exhibitions, artist Lyman Whitaker's copper blade sculptures turn with the wind. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
Scribe is now the full time mural artist at Children's Mercy Hospital - he told KCUR's Susan B. Wilson about his artistic journey.
By Susan B. Wilson
Kansas City, MO – If you have ever taken a child to Children's Mercy Hospital, you can't miss the colorful murals in waiting and exam rooms. The artist who creates the vivid and whimsical animal characters, landscapes and seascapes in vibrant colors is Donald Ross.
Like the crack of a champagne bottle against the bow of a ship, a menagerie of actors, artists and musicians are launching a new performance space within the skeleton of a an old car showroom this weekend. Called The Living Room, it's the newest venue in the Crossroads District to house a mix of performance styles. And when the yet unnamed company invited reporters down to the space for a preview recently, KCUR's Steve Walker took the bait.
The art of bead work has a long tradition in the Native American culture, passed down from one generation to the next. An exhibition at the Spencer Museum in Lawrence, Beaded Heritage, pairs beaded bags and moccasins from the collection with contemporary pow wow regalia worn by two Haskell Indian Nations University students.
The Theatre for Young America is revisiting plays and the players of the Negro Leagues in a musical fable called "The Monarchs of KC." The show proposes what might happen if the team were to reappear on the old field to a contemporary Kansas City family.
By Steve Walker
Kansas City, MO – One can almost smell the popcorn and the hot dogs at Theatre for Young America's salute to the Negro Leagues's most successful franchise, the Kansas City Monarchs.
It was seventy years ago that the Kansas City Museum opened to the public. The museum is located in a 100-year-old Beaux-Arts style mansion called Corinthian Hall. It's currently undergoing renovations and an extensive restoration.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – Corinthian Hall was formerly the home of lumber baron Robert A. Long and his family. After Long's death, his daughters gifted the estate to the city of Kansas City to be used for a museum.
When it was announced that South Africa would host soccer's World Cup this June, the pride of the country swelled in proportion to the amount of work necessary to bring the infrastructure up to that of previous host countries.
By Steve Walker
Kansas City, MO – That journey is the subject of a new play commissioned by UMKC called "Train to 2010." As KCUR's Steve Walker reports, it involved collaborations between local theater artists and those based half-way across the globe.
A new initiative called "The Kansas City Collection" is a curated show of artwork by local and regional artists. And this collection of about 100 pieces will go on display starting this summer in the offices of local businesses on a rotating basis.