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. 

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

You may know John Mark Eberhart from The Kansas City Star, where he's the Book Editor, or as one of the Book Doctors on The Walt Bodine Show. What you may not know is that Eberhart is also a poet.

Jonathan Biss makes his Kansas City Symphony debut. At the age of 27, Biss is considered one of the finest pianists of his generation, working with orchestras, as well as performing solo recitals and chamber music. KCUR's Laura Spencer talked to Biss recently from his home in New York about his love for Beethoven and what it's like to be the third generation in a family of professional musicians.

photo: Mark Hutchinson

This week, the eight-voice a cappella choir, Octarium, presents a program called "Should Have Been Choral" including everything from Renaissance music to ABBA. Artistic director and founder Krista Blackwood is the former choir director at St. Andrew's. Blackwood told KCUR's Laura Spencer that when 8 of her soloists sang together in 2001, it planted the seed for the group.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

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.

Up and coming jazz trombonist Kevin Cerovich talks about his new album and why he's leaving KC.

Kansas City, MO – Every May, many college students are graduating, and struggling to decide what direction to take next. For trombonist Kevin Cerovich, who recently graduated from the UMKC Conservatory , the next step is a big one. Soon, he'll be moving to New York City in hopes of breaking into the jazz world. But, as Alex Smith found out, the 23-year-old musician is already off to a strong start.

(photo by Laura Spencer, KCUR)

Kansas City, MO – Fifty massive stone sculptures of graceful human forms, animals and plants are now on display amongst the waterfalls and lush vegetation at Powell Gardens.

Listen to the story here.

Check here for a slideshow of images.

On Mother's Day weekend, StoneLion Puppet Theatre unveiled The Spirit of the Wood. It's a giant interactive puppet spectacle that the community helped build: a 20 foot monster of trash, 9 foot giant butterflies, 20 foot walking trees, and lots and lots of frogs.

Kansas City, MO – Artistic director Heather Nisbett-Loewenstein provided this preview before a recent rehearsal on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Nearly 150 years after his death, abolitionist John Brown remains a controversial figure; some consider him a martyr, others view him as a terrorist. A new opera, written by a native Kansan, aims to explore the complexity of John Brown's character and his legacy. For John Brown photos, check here.

Kansas City Youth Jazz and conductor Leon Brady prepare for this Sunday's performance with legendary trumpeter Clark Terry at Unity Temple on the Plaza.

Bach Aria Soloists

Apr 24, 2008
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

For nearly a decade, the Bach Aria Soloists have highlighted some of the arias by the prolific German composer and organist Johann Sebastian Bach.

Kansas City, MO –

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Danish dancer and choreographer Ib Andersen visited Kansas City recently to help stage the Kansas City Ballet's full-length production of Romeo and Juliet.

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