Visual Arts

courtesy: Mulvane Art Museum

Artist Rita Blitt made a significant gift to the Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka, Kansas — a bulk of her life’s work, an estimated 2,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures and film, as well as archival material. It represents preserving a legacy and a lifetime of giving. 

Courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced on Wednesday that it had acquired more than 800 photographs thanks to a $10 million grant made two years ago by the Hall Family Foundation.

In the early 2000s, an artist from Japan came to study at the Kansas City Art Institute. She made a big impression on the arts community here ... and it made one on her as well. She shares the story behind "Thank You for Teaching Me English," now on display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On a recent Saturday morning, Michael Wickerson was tending a hot fire in his backyard on a hillside near Wyandotte County Lake. At temperatures reaching as high as 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, the fire was hot enough to melt iron.

Wickerson, an associate professor of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, said working with metal is a great joy for him.

“You catch it, you pour it, you can draw with it,” he said. “You can paint with it. You can sculpt with it. And you can certainly fill molds with it.”  

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

One Missouri photographer has spent years collecting stories and making images of musicians and their most prized possession; their guitars. Today, Chuck Holley shares some of his favorites. Then, we visit with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller about the possibility of an upcoming bubble. Shiller says many harbingers of recessions in the past are present, but something important is missing.

Courtesy Chris Ortiz

Samantha Beeson definitely does not like to be the center of attention. But that hasn't prevented her from being the subject of a photography exhibition.

Beeson lives with an array of difficulties that her partner, photographer Chris Ortiz, describes as “social anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD and panic attacks as a result of a past abusive relationship.” Her "everyday struggle to manage these disorders" is the point of his exhibit “Living With Sam.”

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Alexander Austin has worked on some big canvases as one of the city's preeminent street muralists, but the new assignment he's executing in the Power & Light District is taking him to an even higher level.

As in 80 feet above street level painting a mural over a half-football field long on the new 24-story Two Light apartment tower.

"It's the biggest I've ever done," says Austin, who began his mural career on Troost Avenue in the early 1990s as a homeless person. "To have Cordish show this much appreciation for me, I'm honored."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Art fairs don't seem like a place of fierce competition — but getting a booth at one can be.

More than 1,400 artists apply each year for the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City. Participants are selected by a jury, a group of curators, gallery owners and educators. This year, 240 artists got in, including about 40 from Kansas and Missouri..

Chris Dahlquist

What do you expect to find at a vending machine? Soda or chips? How about a full-blown history tour?

That’s the idea behind photographer Chris Dahlquist’s exhibit History Vendor, located at City Market Park on 3rd and Main Street through mid-October.

Angie Jennings

73-year-old Mike Hartung has been producing art in his studio in Lindsborg, Kansas since the 1970s. 700 paintings later, he's finally having his first exhibit: "Gas Stations, Laundromats and the Spaces Between."

Plus, Crick Camera Shop closed its doors for good back in January. We'll hear from a former employee who photographed the final days as an homage to film in the era of digital.

Some of the exciting stuff on KC's arts calendar this month: an artist residency at the Nelson-Atkins; a three-person, 90-minute version of Macbeth; and a chat with soul singer Julia Haile.

Haile will be performing Gen Listen KC's Stockyards Sounds on Tuesday, August 8.

Guests:

Harris & Ewing / U.S. Library of Congress

People generally get their history lessons from a book or movie, not from a vending machine. Today, we learn about a novel way to put historical photos of Kansas City into the hands of City Market Park visitors.

Ryan Welch / KSMU

Springfield, in southwest Missouri, is the state’s third most populous city. Its business districts are filled with historic buildings and gathering spaces that serve as platforms for artistic expression. But it’s a predominantly residential neighborhood on the city’s north side that’s becoming a new destination for artists.

If you were to stand in the middle of Lafayette Park and turn a full circle, you’d find at least one constant: the base of every utility pole is painted.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Fringe Festival is now officially a teenager. Organizers this year are making a push to reach performers and audiences about that same age, or a little older. 

The 13th annual festival kicked off on July 20, and runs for 11 days — more than 400 performances across 16 venues. The KC Fringe is teaming up with Kansas City Young Audiences to provide more opportunities for teenage actors, singers and dancers.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

At a crossroads in his life, Kansas artist Dave Loewenstein was haunted by the words of an organic farmer.

"If we can't sell it to working class people," the farmer had asked about his produce, "what are we doing?"

Dave wondered the same thing of his art. He had a hard time seeing the point in his landscape paintings, even in a best-case scenario.

Šárka Ponroy Vamberová

A village in the Czech Republic was the site of a brutal massacre during World War II. 

On June 10, 1942, every man in Lidice over the age of 15 was executed. Some children were sent to German homes to be "re-educated" to Nazi standards, and others were gassed in a concentration camp at Chełmno in Poland. Most of the mothers were killed at Ravensbrück, a camp north of Berlin.

With the inhabitants gone, the Nazis razed the village.  

Todd Feeback / ShadowLight Images

At his sculptor's stand, paleoartist Gary Staab adjusted the expression on a 125-million-year-old predator in pursuit of prey.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

In small, incremental steps, a crew from Belger Cartage Service, Inc., on Thursday carefully moved Gates of Paradise into the Bloch Building at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The two, 17-foot-tall bronze doors weigh 4 1/2 tons, and installation is expected to take about six weeks. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

After months of stops and starts, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art now has the go ahead for the first phase of its master plan. On Thursday, the Kansas City City Council approved a zoning change for the museum's 29-acre property. 

Outdoor sculptures will take the place of the tennis courts of the former Rockhill Tennis Club along Rockhill Road. The clubhouse will be available for sale as a residence. The museum will expand offices, as needed, to the four historic houses it owns along 45th Street. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

A scene of vegetable carnage awaits visitors at Powell Gardens this summer — goblins raiding a patch of squash and onions in the Heartland Harvest Garden, and other mythological beasts rampaging through plots of edible plants.

It's exactly what artist Kendall R. Hart was aiming for when he designed the "Gardens of Myth" exhibit.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City-based photographer Dan White has won a Pulitzer Prize and traveled the world photographing people and places. From his home and studio in the West Bottoms, he's preparing to set out on his next trip into the field.

But his latest trip isn’t taking him off to some far-flung location. White is headed to his troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Vicky Diaz-Camacho / KCUR 89.3

A team of Lawrence and Kansas City artists have “revived” a lost mural in downtown Lawrence.

Figures painted in vibrant purples, blues and greens are shown gesturing, singing and gardening in “Pollinators,” which decorates the side of the relatively new loft building on the 800 block of New Hampshire.

“It's historic isn't it?” said Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art, to a crowd of about 50 people who gathered at a celebration on Friday, June 9.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

A unique collection of jazz art is on display in Kansas City’s Northland. The collector, Juan Houston hopes the display will draw attention to the little-known Garrison School Cultural Center in Liberty.

“He is local, he was born and raised here in Liberty, Missouri, and he wanted to do this for Garrison School to let the community come up to see Garrison as well as see his collection,” says Cecilia Robinson, a retired William Jewell College English professor.

Courtesy Todd Weiner Gallery

For years, Col. Doug Tystad (retired) regarded the little bronze statue as a cowboy. He’d walked by it countless times on his trips up and down the halls of the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, where he’s the CEO of CGSC Foundation.

Then one day he paused to look at the figure.

Michael St Maur Sheil

The National World War I Museum and Memorial plans several events, along with free admission for veterans and active-duty military personnel, to celebrate Monday's national holiday recognizing the men and women who've died in service to the U.S. military. 

"For a lot of families, it's really a significant moment to honor those who have served and especially those whose lives were lost," says Matthew Naylor, the museum's president and CEO.

KCPT

After more than 30 years at KCPT, Randy Mason, executive producer of cultural affairs, has been let go. KCUR has learned that three other staffers were also told their jobs were cut.

Davin Watne

Walk into Haw Contemporary in the Stockyards district of the West Bottoms, and in one gallery, artist Davin Watne has built a 30-foot long wall. There are nearly 40 paintings in a collage — small and large, clamped together — stretching the length of the room.

The exhibition, Picture the Wall, is, in part, an artistic response to Donald Trump’ s call for a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border during the 2016 presidential campaign. And it carries on a long tradition of, as Watne puts it, "oil on canvas as a means to convince" the public. 

Lynsey Addario

Your job might be challenging, but Lynsey Addario's is literally a battlefield. She's been injured, ambushed, and kidnapped while working as a photojournalist in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Today, we learn why the results motivate her to continue crafting stories out of conflict. Then, the life of a major league ace isn't all about 100 mile-per-hour fastballs ... or is it? We talk about the evolution of pitching with writer Terry McDermott.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

When Issac Logsdon moved to Kansas City for art school four years ago, he didn't know the Missouri and Kansas rivers flowed through town.

"It seems like that should be such an important understanding of this city," Logsdon says. "The Missouri’s where we get all of our drinking water. Ecologically, it's incredibly important to this city and this region. But as someone who’s living in the city, I can go most days without ever really recognizing that it’s here."

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