John O'Brien

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri-General Collection

When Kansas Citians talk about the Crossroads Arts District, they're talking about a bustling place full of innovative restaurants, vibrant art galleries, a world-class performing arts center and specialty boutiques, not to mention high-rent condos.

During prime-time, it's got all the parking congestion of a big-city destination. 

But when people talked about the Crossroads in the 1980s, well ... they just didn't. Nobody even knew it had a name.

courtesy Dolphin gallery

It was only fitting that one of the pioneers of the Crossroads Arts District would announce on a First Friday, May 3, that after two decades, his gallery would close. John O’Brien moved the Dolphin from the Crossroads to the West Bottoms five years ago. But now he says it’s time for something new.

courtesy: David Hughes / Charlotte Street Foundation

Dolphin Gallery's John O'Brien had hinted about a change for months. But, now, it's official. Dolphin, the exhibition space and framing business in the West Bottoms, will close after its last show (slated to open May 17).

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.