I’ve always had a peripheral interest in art, but it wasn’t until I moved to Kansas City that I truly began to explore and appreciate a local arts community. The natural starting point for any arts amateur is First Fridays, a monthly gallery crawl in downtown’s Crossroads Arts District complete with street performances, artist receptions and some of the best people-watching in town. Kansas City’s museums are also some of my favorite ways in which to spend a leisurely Saturday, whether within the hushed, palatial hallways of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or exploring the lively, thought-provoking works found at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Once I began writing about Kansas City, the arts community took on an even greater importance. Reporting on artist profiles, gallery openings, collecting art and local fashion gave me a chance to meet some of Kansas City’s talented artists and artisans, and I know there are a multitude of others who work tirelessly on their craft, collectively uniting to help increase the prominence and recognition of Kansas City’s arts.
More recently, I’ve made more of a personal investment in the local arts thanks to my fiance, Rob Schamberger, who’s had two gallery shows and currently features a collection of vintage album recreations at Midtown’s The Rhythm Lounge. Living with a creator has given me a heightened appreciation of how much time and talent artists funnel into each piece, and it’s made me even more aware of how much art can be found in Kansas City. Galleries, museums, festivals, art walks–the opportunities to become a participant in local arts are nearly endless, and if you haven’t already taken advantage of these events, I urge you to do so as soon as possible!
The best part about Kansas City art? It’s everywhere. You don’t necessarily have to go into a gallery or museum to see handcrafted work from a local artisan. Several local boutiques, including Bon Bon Atelier, offer goods created by local artists. Murals are common sights, especially in the downtown and Midtown areas. Public art is becoming a vital component of urban renewal, resulting in outdoor sculptures, ornate bridges and other fixtures that are as functional as they are eye-catching. Empty downtown storefronts are being transformed into accessible gallery spaces visible from the streets. Kansas City’s art is as diverse and varied as its artists, an ever-evolving masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the entire metropolitan area.