Middle of the Map Fest returns over next 3 weekends

MOM Fest

Buckle up! The third annual Middle of the Map Fest, curated by The Record Machine, returns to Westport and Downtown Kansas City over the next three weekends. 

Middle of the Map Fest has gained national attention to Kansas City for its three weeks of Music (April 3-5 in Westport), Forum (April 10-11 in Downtown) and Film (April 16-20 in Downtown).

The first Downtown events will begin with the Middle of the Map Fest Forum at The Kansas City Star Press Pavilion on Thursday, April 10

 Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum is the convergence of the arts, tech and cultural communities in America’s heartland. The Forum features compelling speakers and panel participants discussing a wide spectrum of topics. It is an event that represents the Midwest’s diverse arts, culture, and technology communities and seeks to enrich the public’s understanding of the elements that make Kansas City unique.

 At the opening party from 5:30-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, guests can connect with Forum speakers and participants over cocktails and interactive art, including a special projected light installation created by Quixotic, where dance, sound and technology seamlessly play together. George Packer from the New Yorker, author of The Unwinding, will be the featured guest from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

Friday, April 11 will feature a full day of panelists and presentations starting at 8 a.m. and concluding at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase online at for $25. The first 200 tickets purchased will include a pass to a special Forum event held on April 23 with guest speaker Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author and one of SXSW’s Keynote Speakers on creativity in the digital age.

2014 Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Full Forum Participants

50+ speakers and panelists including: Matt Baldwin, Baldwin Denim; Matthew Barksdale, Engage Mobile; Jason Bays, Kung Fu Robot; Tyler Beckett, Hugo Tea; Cameron Calder, Burn the Lot; Julie Cole, Charlotte Street Foundation; Jason Domingues, Prairie Goods; Shane Evans, Artist; Colby Garrelts, Bluestem and Rye; Damian Garcia, Dark Horse Distillery; Jason Grill, JGrill Media; Shane Guiter, KCPT; Matthew Hufft, Hufft Projects; Sly James, Kansas City mayor; Austin Kleon, Author; John Kreicbergs, Propaganda3; Mike Lundgren, VML; Mike McCamon,; Louis Meyers, Folk Alliance; Eric Miller, Gossup; Brian Mirakian, Populous Activate; Dylan Mortimer, Artist; Danny O’Neill, The Roasterie; George Packer, Author; Mi-Ai Parrish, The Kansas City Star; Kyle Rogers, Knoda; Patrick Ryan, Port Fonda; Leroy Shatto, Shatto Milk Company; Chris Shaw, Tech Trek; Richard Shipley,; Anne St. Peter, Global Prairie; Jon Stephens, KCCVA; David Sullivan, ArtsTech; Ryan Sutton, Pinsight Media+; Celina Tio, Julian, Collection and The Belfry; Paul Tyler, ArtsKC; Tyler Vanwinkle, Leap2; Erik Wullschleger, Sprint Accelerator

 About Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest

Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest annually curates and cultivates the unique arts and creative culture of the Midwest, bringing together a sense of community in local and national talent in an annual festival featuring music, forum and film. In addition to The Record Machine and Ink magazine, the Music Fest is also curated by promoters Steve Tulipana of The Record Bar, Neill Smith of The Riot Room and Terry Taylor of Mammoth Production.


King Tut comes to life next week at Union Station



The North American debut of The Discovery of King Tut exhibition is only days away from opening on Friday, April 4 at Union Station

The largest exhibit in Union Station history, covering a total of 20,000 square feet, will feature a total of 1,000 stunning reproductions that were scientifically and expertly hand-crafted over five years by leading Egyptian artisans. Approximately 5  million people have experienced The Discovery of King Tut in 20 host cities around the globe since its opening in 2008.

“Because Egyptian antiquities from King Tut’s tomb can no longer travel outside Egypt, this is an experience like no other,” said George Guastello, President and CEO of Union Station. “The selection of Union Station to host the North American premier of this breathtaking exhibition is a coup not only for us, but for Kansas City and the entire Midwest region”

The exhibition, which has taken five weeks to install, will open to the public on Friday, April 4 and run through Sept. 7.

“We wanted to bring the moment of the tomb’s discovery back to life and allow our visitors to relive it vividly,” said Christoph Scholz, executive producer, The Discovery of King Tut, SC Exhibitions. “A show without barriers or behind glass, in which not just a few objects can be shown, but the whole treasure and even the reconstructed burial chambers. An exhibition that leads you right to the heart of Tutankhamun’s tomb, presents his treasures and explains them in context. An exhibition in which people can relive what the archaeologist Howard Carter went through in November 1922.”

Tickets for the general public are $19.95. Admission price includes a special audio tour (one for adults and one version paced for children) which enhances the exhibition experience. It not only captivates, but educates, making it appropriate for all ages. Tickets are available at Union Station.

The Discovery of King Tut has visited the cultural capitals of Europe, including Munich, Dublin, Seoul, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Geneva and now, Kansas City,” Guastello said. “We are in prestigious and world-class company.” 

“We are delighted to bring this remarkable exhibition to North America for the first time, and in choosing a host city for the premiere, Union Station and Kansas City was the perfect fit,” said Mark Lach, vice president  for Premier Exhibitions.

“We value our longstanding relationship with Union Station and have seen great success with previous exhibitions including: Titanic: The Artifact ExhibitionReal Pirates and America I Am. The story of King Tut has fascinated the world since the remarkable discovery of his tomb, and this exhibition presents this fascinating subject in a thrillingly unique experience, and I’m confident visitors will leave The Discovery of King Tut exhilarated by having seen something very special.”

To learn more about the Tut exhibition, click here to read Union Station’s new On Track magazine.



One Light construction to begin in April; lane closures began this week

The One Light Luxury Apartment Tower project in the Kansas City Power & Light District will begin shortly! Evidence of the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony surfaced this week, as lane closures began on Walnut and 13th.

One Light (right) will feature a fourth floor club room with a walk-out to the Jones Pool. Groundbreaking is set for April 14.

One Light (right) will feature a fourth floor club room with a walk-out to the Jones Pool. Groundbreaking is set for April 14.

 One Light, announced just two weeks ago, will feature a 25-story, high-rise apartment building located at the corner of 13th and Walnut in the Central Business District.

Construction will start with a groundbreaking ceremony on April 14, and carries a target completion date of late 2015.

One Light will be the first new residential tower built in Downtown since the 32-story San Francisco building opened in Crown Center in 1976. It will feature 315 luxury units .

“This groundbreaking is a big deal for our downtown,” Mayor Sly James said told The Kansas City Star earlier this month.  “The opening of this residential project, combined with the launch of the streetcar starter line, will make the next couple of years a pivotal moment for Downtown Kansas City.”

To prepare for the April construction start, lane closures began this week on Walnut and 13th streets. Here is a rundown of what to expect when driving around the Power & Light District:

Walnut Street: Traffic on Walnut between 12th and 13th streets will only be permitted northbound from 13th Street, with no southbound traffic. Access to the Main Street parking garage, Town Pavilion parking garage and Cosentino’s loading dock will be permitted. At this time, drivers will be permitted to go southbound from 12th Street only to access the parking garages or loading docks.

13th Street: 13th Street, between Walnut and Main street will be down to one lane. The curb cutout in front of Cosentino’s Market Downtown will be within the closure and unavailable for parking. Concrete barriers will be in place throughout construction.




KCPT illustrates residential growth boom in Downtown

KCPT, Kansas City’s public television station, is airing a new story about Downtown residential growth — in terms of population and residential properties. Check it out here!

The One Light residential tower (center) will be the first high-rise apartment building built in Downtown since 1976.

The One Light residential tower (center) will be the first high-rise apartment building built in Downtown since 1976.

KCPT’s story on The Local Show provides a progress report on the growing Downtown population, as well as plans for several new residential developments in greater Downtown.

Featured in the story is the new One Light residential tower that was introduced by the Power & Light District earlier this month.

The luxury, state-of-the-art, 343,000-square-foot apartment building, developed in partnership with the Cordish Companies and the Kushner Companies, will launch construction with a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, April 14.

Downtown’s population has grown to nearly 20,000, and one of the Downtown Council’s leading goals it to double that number. The Downtown Council is working closely with Cordish officials and other developers to create more housing opportunities in the greater Downtown area.

The KCPT program is currently airing on channel 19. KCPT works in partnership with the Downtown Council to identify and produce stories on topics of strategic importance to Downtown. The program is available online at

In the last year, that partnership has produced stories on the burgeoning Innovation District in and around the Crossroads; the Crossroads Academy charter elementary school in the Central Business District; and a progress report on the Kansas City Power & Light District.




Downtown charter school wins support to double its size

The Crossroads Academy charter elementary school in Downtown Kansas City received an endorsement this week on its plan to use $5.5 million in tax incentives to double its size. The endorsement came from a city development agency.

City's TIF Commission opens the door for Downtown school expansion.

City’s TIF Commission opens the door for Downtown school expansion.

The school, which was founded two years ago in a former office building at 1015 Central St., wants to acquire the building next door at 1009 Central so it can expand to include middle school students. Its current enrollment is 230 students, kindergarten through fifth grade, and the expansion would allow it enroll 270 students by fall, according to The Kansas City Star.

Reporter Kevin Collison wrote in today’s digital edition of The Star:

The Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission endorsed the school’s request for $5.5 million in TIF assistance from the existing 11th Street Corridor TIF Plan covering the area.

The Crossroads Academy request now goes to the Kansas City Council for final consideration where it is expected to be approved.

The Downtown charter school has been supported as another amenity to the revitalization of downtown by proving educational opportunities for children of both residents and employees.

Dean Johnson, co-founder of Crossroads Academy and its executive director, praised the TIF Commission support.

“We think it’s not only a great day for Crossroads Academy, but for public education in Kansas City and the ongoing urban revitalization of Downtown,” he said.

Crossroads wants to buy and expand into the Uhlmann Building at 1009 Central. The Uhlmann Co. supports the sale and is considering moving its 10-employee operation to midtown Kansas City. The school also wants to buy its existing building which it now leases. The entire investment is estimated at $7 million.

The $5.5 million in tax increment financing aid would come from the 11th Street TIF Corridor Plan established in 1992 to help fund improvements on the west side of downtown between Ninth and 12th streets. The area has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, and part of the new tax revenue has financed the TIF plan’s improvements.

Supporters said a charter school was exactly the kind of public amenity the 20 year-old TIF plan was designed to encourage, but the idea was opposed by TIF commissioners representing Kansas City Public Schools, Jackson County and the Kansas City Public Library when it was first introduced in February.

The TIF Commission delayed their consideration of the Crossroads Academy plan last month because of the concerns expressed by those representatives.

In a compromise that addressed concerns that school district revenues generated by the TIF Plan could potentially be used to support a charter school project, the Crossroads Academy request was amended to remove that funding source.

The revised plan was approved by the TIF Commission on a 7-4 vote, with the two school district representatives, one library representative and one of the two Jackson County representatives opposed. All the city-appointed TIF Commissioners voted in favor of the proposal.

Crossroads Academy supporters say the expansion project still is on track for completion this fall if the Council approves the plan. It is expected to be introduced to the Council next month.

“We want to move forward with all deliberate speed,” Johnson said.