Summer is probably the only season where it's frowned upon NOT to let down your hair. To that end, a number of Kansas City performing artists are spreading their love of clowning and physical comedy to others through community classes and workshops. As KCUR's Steve Walker reports, their goals are to both pass along their artistry and expand their dwindling ranks.
Following Hurricane Katrina, writers and filmmakers fairly quickly revisited the region to produce works like Douglas Brinkley's "The Great Deluge" and Spike Lee's documentary, "When the Levees Broke." This week, a new play opens in Kansas City that addresses the storm's devastation in a way that's both theatrical and personal.
Two new public art projects in downtown Kansas City sound a bit like the names of emo rock bands: Pedestrian Strands and Celestial Flyways. But they're both a sign of the changing times in the downtown loop and a shifting approach to public space.
The art of Chicago-based Kerry James Marshall is many things---politically conscious, historically rooted and aesthetically powerful. Marshall talks about his use of superheroes and the color black in his paintings.
Kansas Poet Laureate, Denise Low, was born and raised in the Flinthills of Emporia. A professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence for over two decades, Low has continued to build on what was started by the first Kansas laureate, Jonathan Holden--doing readings across the state and contributing to KansasPoets.com.
This summer marks the 12th season the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has drawn young people from all over the metro area to their summer camps. This year, through a partnership with Young Audiences and the National Endowment for the Arts, the festival will be broadening its reach even further. As KCUR's Steve Walker reports, Shakespeare to Go! has the capacity to reach communities and audiences that have yet to sample what Shakespeare has to offer.
American photographer Stephen Shore pioneered the use of color in art photography and documented everyday scenes in the 1960s and 70s, from a disappearing dirt road to a stack of pancakes in a diner. An exhibition of Shore's work is now on display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
As most college students prepare for final exams, one class at Park University is inviting the public to their final project. The class is called Acting Beyond Prejudice, and is staging three performances of a play that address how the students share challenges and biases.
This weekend marked the start of the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover. In some families, preparations for this holiday takes weeks. KCUR's Linda Sher talked with eight members of Yachad, The Travelling Tefillah Band about their childhood memories of Passover.
With Kansas City's summer musical season in the wings, one Kansas City actress is stepping into a solo spotlight. As KCUR's Steve Walker reports, the one-woman show offers an experience actors both dream about and dread.
When he was eighteen, alto saxophonist Chris Burnett wanted to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but the three hundred dollar scholarship he received from the school didn't exactly cover the tuition. Burnett, who grew up in Paola, Kansas, told KCUR's Alex Smith that his decision to join the Army was only meant to be a stepping stone to a life in jazz.
Artist William Willmott is a senior in painting at the Kansas City Art Institute. An exhibition of Willmott's pencil drawings, paintings and digital collages at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center explore issues of race in contemporary society.
The small town of Gee's Bend, Alabama was for decades just a blip on the map. That all changed when the art world embraced the vivid, ornate quilts that the town's womenfolk had been crafting for years as a way of documenting their modest yet complicated lives. This week, the Kansas City Rep opens a new play about Gee's Bend that animates the stories sewn into the quilts, and the women who lived them.
The play "Gee's Bend" tells the story of a group of African American women who make quilts. The play opens at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre on March 28.
By Steve Walker
KANSAS CITY, MO – The women of Gee's Bend, Alabama have been making quilts for generations. But they recently came to national attention when a traveling museum exhibit displayed their highly original and strikingly modern designs.
Throughout her career, contemporary art educator and curator Linda Weintraub has been drawn to art that challenges cultural norms. Weintraub is currently writing the first eco-art college textbooks, focusing on contemporary artists using ecology in their work. She visits the Kansas City area this week and talked to KCUR's Laura Spencer.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – Linda Weintraub's schedule in the Midwest:
An exhibition at the Epsten Gallery at Village Shalom showcases more than 50 ceramic works, including plates, pitchers, casseroles and canisters. It's a nearly 50 year retrospective of the work of Victor Babu, who taught ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute for more than three decades.
Art Sinsabaugh has long been admired by photographers, scholars and historians, but he's not as well known outside those circles. An exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art called American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh tries to shine a new light on the photographer.
CONCEPTUAL PLAY includes works by Stanton Fernald (a graphic designer at KU Medical Center) and Jack Rees (an architectural designer). Rees says the show is "about the interface between the world and our navigation of it." Here, he describes how his work fits into the idea of play.
Every year, the Coterie Theatre holds a showcase for students enrolled in their Master Acting classes. This year, the students perform a play by a Kansas City playwright that addresses the hot button political issue of guns in America.
By Steve Walker
Kansas City, MO – In 1991, the University of Iowa campus was devastated when an immigrant graduate student shot and killed 5 students and then himself.
The Unicorn Theatre celebrates its 34th season this year and specializes in presenting shows new to Kansas City audiences and developing original work. The company recently opened a second performance space called the Jerome Stage.
Funding for state arts agencies historically has been tied to the health of the state's finances. And with the expected slowing of revenue growth, the housing crisis, and anticipated shortfalls, arts advocates are bracing for potential cuts.
Reach, also known as Stacy Smith, hit it big a couple of years ago, when his song Comin' for You won a nation-wide contest sponsored by Scion. He toured the country with some big name artists. But Reach continues to do most of his work here, even while collaborating with beatmakers and producers around the world.