Sean Starowitz

Celeste Lindell/Flickr -- CC

It's a well-known cycle: Artists move into neglected neighborhoods, use their creativity to transform the area, then get priced out. In a recently published article in Lumpen Magazine, two local thinkers wonder, do artists make these places? Or do they just move in? We invite one of those authors and another arts developer in town to discuss.

Sean Starowitz / Courtesy photo

Bread can serve as an important connector between people.

It can fuel discussions, break through social barriers and institute change. 

A 2014 Charlotte Street Foundation award winner, Sean Starowitz is an artist whose work is hard to place on the walls of galleries. As the artist-in-residence at Farm to Market Bread Co., his projects often focus on bread and community. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Artists have a reputation for moving into places others don’t – turning areas once full of empty buildings into thriving districts, such as the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Mo. So, it’s not surprising they’d take a look at the thousands of vacant lots and vacant houses in the city, exploring everything from sculpture parks to art galleries on some of the least desirable lots.

Creating a new space with a purpose

courtesy of the artist

In late September, a billboard went up picturing a white man aiming a rifle at The Scout, the locally-famous statue of a Native American on horseback that’s in Penn Valley Park. The billboard also called out a cheery “Discover Kansas City!” in cursive font. But, it didn’t go over very well. The billboard came down about a week after it went up, and it nearly wasn’t installed at all.   

Sean Starowitz

Over the next six months, a quiet Midtown laundromat will be transformed into the site for a series of arts events. It’s an experiment - combining different genres including film, poetry, and even culinary arts - with a focus on public-oriented artwork.