Arts & Culture | KCUR

Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

photo: flickr, Rock Chalk Jayhawk Cartographer

Kansas City, MO – The City of Kansas City Missouri has officially designated Tuesday, September 16 as Bob Rohlf Day, in honor of his nearly 3 decades of leadership at Starlight Theatre. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

During his tenure at Starlight Theatre, outgoing president and executive producer Bob Rohlf oversaw the construction of a new 10-story stage, and more than $32 million worth of facility and program improvements over the last 15 years.

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

A passage from a poem by Walt Whitman sparked the inspiration for a new multi-media work, Ritual of the Body Electric. It incorporates a chamber ensemble, dancers, and video.

Kansas City, MO – The 30-minute work is loosely based on a section of Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric" and expresses the emotion behind the loss of a parent and celebrates relationships.

As part of an exhibition called Conversation Pieces, each Sunday the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a gallery talk about a work. Dr. Craig Prentiss, associate professor of religious studies at Rockhurst University, provides a reading of Ed Blackburn's Cain and Abel from a religious standpoint.

Kansas City, MO – It's fairly typical for a museum to be closed to the public on a Monday. On September 2, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art added another day: Tuesday. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's Director and CEO Marc Wilson stresses that the museum will not be closed on Tuesdays. It will be closed to the public, but reserved for school groups, an estimated 1000 visitors a week. Wilson says it's a priority to keep the museum free, and with rising fuel and energy costs, they didn't want to pass along cost increases to visitors.

The Food Critics return to The Walt Bodine Show for a discussion about area restaurants.

Kansas City, MO – Gather 'round for The Food Critics as they talk about old and new area restaurants. In the second half of the show they ask the listeners for their favorite Asian appetizer locations.

Listen to the program

Visit The Walt Bodine Show page

The Food Critics return to The Walt Bodine Show for a discussion about area restaurants.

KansasCity, MO – Everybody loves The Food Critics, heard alternating Fridays on The Walt Bodine Show. Listen in as they discuss new area restaurants and also a conversation about late night eateries.

Listen to the program archive

Don Bartletti

Kansas City, MO – Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her series about a boy who migrated from Central America to the United States. Like many other children, as Nazario uncovered, he traveled through Mexico riding on top of freight trains. Nazario based her series on one Honduran teenager's experience, and she spent years researching his life and journey.

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

The Kansas City String Quartet Program celebrates its 15th season this year. And for the past two weeks, middle and high school age string players have gathered in classrooms on the campus of Pembroke Hill to learn the fine art of chamber performance. KCUR's Laura Spencer sends us this postcard.

Kansas City, MO – Faculty Concert: August 8, 2008, 6 p.m. Kauffman Foundation Town Center 4801 Rockhill Rd Kansas City, MO

James Brinsfield, Transit, 1993

As part of an exhibition called Conversation Pieces, each Sunday the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a gallery talk about a work. Artist James Brinsfield talks about his own artwork Transit, on display in the exhibition Conversation Pieces.

In previous works, New York-based composer Kristin Kuster has drawn inspiration from architecture, weather and mythology. A new work, called "Ribbon Earth", is inspired by Missouri artist Brent Collins's sculpture, Pax Mundi (World Peace), created with a spiraling bronze ribbon. It's on display at the H&R Block headquarters downtown.

Starting in September, more than 70 billboards across Missouri will display artworks by eight artists for a get-out-the vote initiative called Art the Vote.

rendering of Kemper at the Crossroads, courtesy KEM STUDIO

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has two locations near the Kansas City Art Institute and plans to open a third downtown, in the Crossroads Arts District, in November.

Kemper at the Crossroads will be located at 19th and Baltimore, at the former site of the Dolphin Gallery, which has moved to the West Bottoms.

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

Officials symbolically broke ground Wednesday morning to start the restoration of three fountains along Paseo Boulevard, including one of the city's oldest.

Parks board president John Fierro detailed the history of the 1899 Women's Leadership Fountain at 9th and Paseo, the oldest public fountain in Kansas City. It's fallen into disrepair and hasn't worked in years. The stonework is crumbling, and the lights and railing are gone.

A $17 million Crossroads redevelopment plan received the green light from a City Council committee Wednesday.

The Finance and Audit Committee endorsed philanthropist Shirley Helzberg's proposal for the Vitagraph Film Exchange Building, which would house the Kansas City Symphony offices. The project includes a tax increment financing district to renovate the four-story 1930 building, add a two-story addition and a two-level 40 space parking garage.

As part of an exhibition called Conversation Pieces, each Sunday the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a gallery talk about a work. Kemper Museum director and CEO Rachael Blackburn Cozad explains her attraction to artist Richard Diebenkorn's Untitled (1987)

Kansas City, MO – Conversation Pieces at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, July 11-September 28, 2008

photo: Charles Stonewall

EXTENDED RUN: August 1 - 3, American Heartland Theatre. At performance spaces throughout the city, over 50 events make up this year's KC Fringe Festival, a celebration of the off-beat, nontraditional, and avant-garde.

When people think of stories about mortal men who create life from inanimate objects, Frankenstein and Pinocchio come immediately to mind. Less well-known is the 1870 ballet, Coppelia, about a creator of dolls who come to life.

The Arts KCFund, like a United Way for the arts, raised nearly $732,000 during its annual spring workplace giving campaign and recently announced its latest round of grant recipients. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Singer Megan Birdsall grew up in Kansas City, but in this last year, she has really come to understand what being a part of the local jazz community is all about.

Crossroads Ballet Festival Artistic Director Matthew Powell started dancing at the age of 6, and he's danced professionally for 10 years, including 7 years with the Kansas City Ballet. But, Powell's a relative newcomer as a choreographer.

Kansas City, MO – Here, Matthew Powell talks about how he first started to learn the skills in a Choreographic Workshop at the Kansas City Ballet.

photo: courtesy of Crossroads Ballet Festival

Summer is usually the off-season for dancers. But this weekend, dancers from across the country will be featured in a new showcase for classical and contemporary works called Crossroads Ballet Festival.

Kansas City, MO – KCUR's Laura Spencer spoke to artistic director and founder Matthew Powell about starting the Crossroads Ballet Festival and his decision to leave the Kansas City Ballet after seven years.

On Tuesday, UMKC officials announced selecting Peter Witte as the new Dean of the Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Purists sometimes criticize Cray's brand of the blues as "too commercialized." His fans say it's fresh and contemporary approach. KCUR's Susan Wilson asked Robert Cray about that recently, when he was in town for the Rhythm and Ribs festival.

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art preparators Jason Myers and Christopher Bell discuss the arduous task of installing Chakaia Booker's large-scale, sculptures created from salvaged rubber tires in her exhibition.

(photo by Laura Spencer, KCUR)

Kansas City, MO – It's the work of three generations of African artists and most are Shona, the majority ethnic group from the country of Zimbabwe.

Listen to the story here.

Chapungu: Nature, Man & Myth continues through November 2, 2008 at Powell Gardens.


Photo Credit: Marc Baptiste

Singer and songwriter Angie Stone is no newcomer to the music industry. Stone was in KC recently for the Rhythm & Ribs festival.

Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost joined Steve Kraske for a discussion about wine pairings (and beer, too) for your summer gathering.

Kansas City, MO – Whatever your plans entail - from a backyard barbeque or park picnic, to a large gathering under a tent, you're sure to learn something new about wine and discover a variety you might not have considered before.

Listen to the 6/20/08 program

Hear the Food Critics dish about new and favorite restaurants, and explore recent topics from outdoor dining to ice cream. Listen to previous Food Critics shows by visiting the Walt Bodine Audio Archives and search for "food."

Kemper Museum Curator Christopher Cook interviews visiting artist Chakaia Booker and discusses the materials she uses as well as her background.

Kansas City, MO – RubberMade: Sculpture by Chakaia Booker at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, June 6-August 17, 2008 MUSIC: "Demon" performed by Kansas City group BCR (from the album BCR: Tribute to Sun Ra)

In the second part of their conversation, artist Chakaia Booker talks with Kemper Museum Curator Christopher Cook about various interpretations of her work and some of the challenges she has faced in the creation of her large scale sculptures.

Kansas City, MO – RubberMade: Sculpture by Chakaia Booker at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, June 6-August 17, 2008