Charlie Parker Celebration opens 12-day run this week

Kansas City hottest jazz event of the summer begins on Thursday in Downtown KC, as the city celebrates the life and legacy of its native son, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker.

Experience the evolution of jazz from ragtime to bebop, as KC Jazz Alive presents Kansas City musicians alongside tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott (three-time Grammy Award winner) and pianist Sullivan Fortner (2015 Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz winner) in conjunction with the 4th Annual Charlie Parker Celebration that opens on Thursday at the American Jazz Museum and plays out in numerous jazz joints up to Tuesday, Aug. 29.

This 12-day celebration is jam-packed with music at KC’s greatest jazz venues. The festivities reach a fever pitch on next Saturday, Aug. 26 with a flurry of performances and special events that reach a crescendo with the 2017 Jazz Experience: Rhythm Changes that begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Folly Theater.

Festivities begin on Thursday with storytelling and jazz performances at the American Jazz Museum and the Blue Room; and continue through the weekend at some of Downtown KC’s best jazz scenes, including the Black Dolphin, The Phoenix, The MajesticGreen Lady LoungeThe Ship, The Ambassador Hotel and more.

For a complete schedule of Charlie Parker Celebration activities, visit charlieparkercelebration.com.

This is a jam session you don’t want to miss!

 

Art in the Loop featured in KC Star

Artist Shelby Burchett leading guided interaction with her artwork Don’t Wait, Get Lost at Union Station.

The 2017 Art in the Loop Project: Cue! was recently featured in the Arts & Culture section of the Kansas City Star. KC Star writer, Jacob Gedetsis, interviewed local artists Shelby Burchett, who spoke about her recent one-day performance art installation and Jon Johnson who will present a dance performance onboard KC Streetcar on August 9. The article highlights many of the 14 artworks included in this year’s project.

Click here to read the full article.

Learn more about all of the artworks at http://www.artintheloop.com.  Check out our events calendar (http://www.artintheloop.com/calendar/) for information on the on-going Art in the Loop Music Series highlighting local musicians with free lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays. The schedule includes Guided Meditation on Thursdays, interactive Silly Walkways performances with clown Clarity Brown and group runs following the Run The Town: A Civic Trail.

Missouri Senate passes funding for Downtown Arts Campus

The UMKC Conservatory Downtown Arts Campus has cleared a major hurdle in its race for approval.

The Missouri Senate has approved HCR 19 – authorizing the issuance of public bonds for half ($48 million) of the financing of a new UMKC Conservatory Arts Campus in Downtown – by a vote of 28 to 4. The Downtown Council received word of the vote just moments after the vote from Warren Erdman, our Downtown Arts Campus champion.

This is, indeed, an “incredible victory” for Missouri, the University and for Kansas City. We share Warren’s “deep gratitude” to Senators Holsman, Silvey, Kehoe, Kraus, and many many others.

The Kansas City Star published this account of the day’s breaking news story on Thursday afternoon:

All that remains between the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s new downtown arts campus and the state funding needed to build it is the signature of Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would authorize the state to borrow $48 million through a bond issue to help fund the arts campus, which would be adjacent to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“The asset will truly add to the cultural and economic prosperity of the city and state,” said Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat who has long championed the bill.

Half of the money for the Downtown arts campus already has been raised, primarily by private donors, including $20 million from Julia Irene Kauffman, but also $7 million from Kansas City government.

“The fact that Kansas City was able to come together as a community and raise $48 million tells you how important this is,” Holsman said on the floor.

He said he’d received no indication on whether the governor would sign the bill, and Greitens’ office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Still, leaders at UMKC, City Hall and throughout Downtown were jubilant.

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, who has been promoting a downtown arts campus since soon after he became chancellor in 2008, commended the lawmakers who pushed the measure. But he also poured praise on the business and civic leaders who got behind the effort from the onset.

“I tell you, there’s a reason why I love Kansas City and it’s the people,” Morton said. “These folks when they put their minds to it can really make things happen.”

City Manager Troy Schulte called the project “a huge step forward for the university.”

“I think it’s a transformative project for downtown, and it’ll elevate UMKC nationally and internationally,” he said.

Schulte envisions the new conservatory as “the Juilliard of the West” because it will have a symbiotic relationship with the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts just as Juilliard has a close relationship with Lincoln Center in New York City.

City Councilwoman Jolie Justus, whose district includes Downtown, said the campus would bring a steady stream of college and graduate students to downtown, increasing the whole neighborhood’s vitality and vibrancy. She also has hopes the new conservatory can serve as a bridge to connect the Kauffman Center with the 18th &Vine Jazz District, with improvements all along 18th Street.

Warren Erdman, chief administration officer for Kansas City Southern, was among those who put special effort into getting Missouri lawmakers to support the project.

“This is one of the best shows of bipartisan leadership I’ve seen in a long time,” Erdman said. “Just an incredible show of bipartisanship. But it’s not possible without the support of the donors. If we don’t have that $48 million in our pocket, we don’t have a bill to bring forward.”

Sean O’Bryne, vice president of the Downtown Council and president of Block 4 Acquisitions, the group responsible for assembling the land where the downtown conservatory campus would be built, said the legislative action “shows that the state of Missouri is willing to invest even in tough times.”

The bill, which the House approved in March, cleared the Senate by a vote of 28-4. But vocal opponents criticized it for taking on more debt during a budget shortfall.

Sen. Bill Eigel, a Weldon Spring Republican, said funding the arts campus would plunge the state further into debt without providing substantive benefits beyond Kansas City.

And while proponents have argued that the arts campus would attract new talent and resources that would have a positive statewide impact, Eigel didn’t buy it.

“Is there a great need for dancers in the state of Missouri?” Eigel asked on the floor.

He also expressed concerns that the project would raise tuition without adding to the university’s educational value.

“What I’ve come to realize is that the amount of money going into our higher education facilities is enormous,” Eigel said. “And what we’re finding is that a lot of those funds are being spent on buildings and styles of comfort versus improving the quality of education.”

But Holsman said the project is necessary to maintain the high-caliber reputation that the UMKC arts program enjoys. He said the current facilities have serious shortcomings that must be addressed to maintain talent.

For Sen. Mike Kehoe, who carried the bill on the Senate side, state support is a smart financial move.

Because the project would be state-owned but receive partial private funding, Kehoe said the project is a fiscally responsible move for the state.

“Whenever you can get an asset on a balance sheet for half the price that it will appear on the balance sheet,” Kehoe said, “I believe it’s a good time.”

Eigel challenged that.

“I understand that this is a state asset,” he said. “I’m not sure the founding fathers imagined the government being the owners of large dance studios in spite of whatever benefit of fiscal incentive we think there is.”

Holsman emphasized the teamwork required to pass the legislation. He said partnerships with business leaders and among members of the Kansas City delegation helped move the bill over the finish line.

Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, was part of that partnership.

“I think it’s going to be a great addition to downtown,” Silvey said. “It’s going to create wonderful synergy between the performing arts and the education facilities that we already have.”

For Holsman and Silvey, the passing of the bill marks a major milestone.

“We are ecstatic that Kansas City has the opportunity to have a world-class facility as this to add to our continued momentum,” Holsman said. “This could end up being a signature piece of legislation for the session.”

 

UMKC marches toward $96M Downtown Campus for the Arts

A plan to bring up to 700 university students each year to Downtown Kansas City is moving forward.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City has hit its $48 million fundraising target for bringing its Conservatory for Music & Dance to the Crossroads Arts District at the corner of 17th and Broadway, just across from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Now, leaders behind the Downtown Campus for the Arts plan are going to the Missouri Legislature to ask for a 50-50 funding match through a program that funds capital projects at public colleges and universities through public-private partnerships.
The University of Missouri System Board of Curators approved the university’s request in June. If it is approved by the state, will allow for a state-of-the-art practice and classroom space directly across from the world renown Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, reported MetroWire News.
Partnering with UMKC on this visionary plan, the Downtown Council (DTC) formed a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization called Block 4 Acquisitions to assist with the acquisition of land. The DTC negotiated with several property owners and acquired a full city block at 17th & Broadway. The land, valued at approximately $7 million, will be donated to UMKC upon the successful completion of the fundraising effort. In addition to acquiring the land, the DTC will act as the property manager and participate in fundraising.
The project has been named one of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5” goals, which is a title given to community-based projects that promise to “bring better health, improved education, more jobs, increased investment and a better quality of life to everyone in the region.”
Peter Witte, Dean of the Conservatory of Music and Dance at UMKC, updated the members of KC Downtowners this month on the progress of $96 million project. The four-story building will sit on the southeast corner of 18th and Broadway and will include a 250-seat performance hall, a choral rehearsal room, two dance studios and a 100 seat recital hall that will be used to host more than 300 events a year.
The building was designed with a nod to the Kauffman Center. The performance hall, rehearsal room, and dance studios feature tall, special soundproof glass windows that face the performing arts center to the north. But on the south side of the building, Witte says the building will have a more “jeans and jazz” feel, where students will take advantage of a courtyard area where special events and performances will take place.
With its prime location in the heart of the creative district and just a mile and a half from the historic 18th and Vine jazz district, the Downtown Campus for the Arts will seek to incorporate the culture of the downtown and Crossroads districts into the curriculum. The Conservatory seeks to enroll up to 700 undergraduate and graduate students, ranging in age from 18 to 35, anticipating that the campus will bring a much needed presence to Downtown on its slower nights.
Witte says that while the KC Symphony, KC Ballet, Lyric Opera and other neighborhood festivities take center stage on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the Conservatory will create a buzz in the earlier part of the week, bringing life to the area on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And, that spells opportunity for area retailers and restaurants.
“We’ll bring those 700 families, out of town mothers and fathers and siblings who will stay at hotels and look down at the Kauffman Center and plan their week,” he said. “You’ll start to see, if you’re a restaurant or retailer, that there’s that much more activity coming Downtown.”
With an anticipated three year build, the estimated completion date of the Downtown Campus for the Arts is 2020. The design team includes Helix Architecture + Design and HGA.
“I’d like to thank you, the companies you represent, the foundations you represent and just you as citizens for helping sending the message to Missouri that the arts matter that this is the right project for Kansas City, that it will augment our existing investments and that increasingly this is the right thing to do for Missouri,” Witte said.

Taps at the Tower returns nightly to National WWI Museum

taps at the tower

 

Taps, a musical piece sounded at dusk and at funerals, has a rich and storied history in the United States. It has long been associated with the U.S. Military, and is often played at civilian events nationwide.

The National World War I Museum and Memorial presents the third annual Taps at the Tower each evening at sunset (8:45 p.m.) from Sunday, June 19 – Saturday, June 25. Taps at the Tower links the beauty and simplicity of the Taps bugle call with the symbolism of the Liberty Memorial.

People are invited to come and use the grounds each evening, have a picnic, play games and enjoy the outdoors. At sunset, people will gather at the Tower (Liberty Memorial) to experience Taps being played during a brief, moving ceremony. The event will occur rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge inside the Museum.

For more information, visit TheWorldWar.org/taps.

KC landmarks bathed in French colors to show solidarity

The Downtown skyline - including Union Station, City Hall and the Downtown Marriott - is lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag.

The Downtown skyline – including Union Station, City Hall and the Downtown Marriott – is lit up in the blue, white and red of the French flag. The lighting is a demonstration of Kansas City’s solidarity with France, following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

The Downtown Council joins Mayor Sly James, the City Council and City Manager Troy Schulte in asking Downtown property owners with the lighting capability to join in and illuminate their buildings now through next weekend.

Cities around the world are lighting their iconic landmarks in this global act of respect and support.

 

Don’t Miss This: Race, Place & Diversity, Nov. 11

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey has committed to a five-year symposium project that directs attention toward fostering awareness of issues of diversity at the local, regional, national and international level. 

The goal is to deliver information and experiences that will impact, inspire and influence one’s outlook on race, place and diversity.

During the Symposium Series, they have invited featured speakers to share their contributions to American cultural arts and give important insights on race, diversity and success. More information about the symposium project is below.

Art Exhibition in Washington Square Park, Opening Reception, Thur. 9/10

AitSmapweb_Page_1This fall, residents and art enthusiasts of all ages are invited to Washington Square Park to enjoy public art installations as part of the City’s first Art in the Square Exhibit. Art in the Square is an initiative of the City of Kansas City to showcase public art while reinforcing the City’s commitment to investing in local artists. The five featured artists, Jake Balcom, Denise DiPiazzo, Rie Egawa, Kati Toivanen, and William Vannerson, were chosen by a selection panel of arts professionals and business and civic representatives.

The exhibit’s opening reception will take place in Washington Square Park on Thursday, September 10 from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Residents and art enthusiasts are invited to meet the artists, view the art installations, and enjoy live music and local food trucks.

Art in the Square is made possible through collaboration between the City’s Municipal Art Commission and the Parks and Recreation Department. The exhibit represents a unique collection of thought-provoking artwork that ranges from whimsical to innovative. The first Art in the Square exhibit, which will be placed in Washington Square Park, will feature artwork from five local artists. This outdoor gallery is free and open to the public from September 10 through December 21.

Click here for additional information about the art installations and the artists.

2015 Art in the Loop Kickoff Event: 7/1

ArtintheloopFrom singers, dancers, and musicians to a photographer, and a textile artist, the annual Art in the Loop project infuses downtown Kansas City with a variety of performances and exhibits.

As the four-month series ramps up, participating artists and performers deliver a whirlwind introduction to their works at the 2015 Art in the Loop Kickoff on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. They will be introduced by project curator Jessica Borusky, an artist and educator currently living and working in Kansas City through the Charlotte Street Foundation’s studio residency program.  The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

A total of 20 presenters or groups of presenters – offering 11 performances and nine exhibits – are featured in this year’s Art in the Loop, which is designed to bring cultural experiences to downtown employees, residents, and visitors and lend exposure to emerging and maturing artists from the Kansas City area. Most, if not all, will participate in the kickoff.

The lineup:

  • Singer-songwriter and pianist Camry Ivory: Coloratura, explorations of music and art
  • Nick Carswell of the band Carswell and Hope: The Hope Index
  • Performance Artist  Cat Mahari: Insta-bility
  • Visual artist Chris Daharsh: Reflections/Casts
  • Photographer Dan Frueh: Down Around the Corner
  • Artist Don Wilkinson: Work and Progress
  • Artist Jillian Youngbird: A Bear in Kansas City
  • Musician John Currey: Broken String Latin Jazz
  • Artist Kati Toivanen: Lacey Petticoat on Petticoat Lane
  • Textile artist Krista Jo Mustain: Print Party
  • Dancer Lauren Thompson and sound designer Jonathan Robertson: Downtown Replay
  • Dancer Maura Garcia: Everybody’s Chance Dance
  • Installation  artist Min DuPha: Insta-bility
  • Mnemosyne Quartet and Zach Shemon: Anomalous City
  • Artists Paige Hinshaw and Kevin Perkins: Neon Camouflage
  • Artist Shannon White: SkyWAVE
  • The Arts Asylum: Community Tile (community engagement)
  • Conceptual artist Tim Brown: The World Tree
  • Poet and spoken word artist Vincente Perez: B(lack)NESS and LATINI(dad)
  • Performing artist William Bradley: SOLLUS

The kickoff event is co-presented by Downtown Council and the City of Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services.  A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free.

Click here to RSVP: http://www.kclibrary.org/event/2015-art-loop-kickoff or call 816.701.3407.

Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.

The 2015 Art in the Loop series runs through September 2015. Details are posted at artintheloop.com and facebook.com/artintheloop. For more information contact Ann Holliday, ann@downtownkc.org or Jessica Borusky, jessicaborusky@gmail.com

Mnemosyne Quartet and Zach Shemon: June 16th, Prairie Logic

Join us for this experimental music performance on Tuesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at Prairie Logic (the 6th floor greenspace on the parking garage, above Onelife Fitness Center and just north of Cosentino’s Downtown Market, 1217 Main Street).

Anomalous City

Mnemosyne Quartet and Zach Shemon present Anomalous City.  Their explorational sound defies expectations, adjusting the way we perceive the city-life that surrounds our everyday. Anomalous City will transport you above and beyond the sounds of the natural environment into the urban landscape of Prairie Logic as they introduce the environments of remote landscapes such as the African jungle, Australian Outback, and eventually to the future: a future where an artificially intelligent being becomes active, adding to the sound of the digitally driven modulation. This is a fantastic and incomparable experience that the whole family will enjoy! Anomalous City will feature music composed by members of Mnemosyne Quartet as well as Dr. Mara Gibson.

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Mnemosyne Quartet is dedicated to heightening bystanders’ awareness of the auditory environments they interact with on a daily basis. Mnemosyne not only augments the listener’s physical environment, but also transports the listeners to remote destinations through the use of pre-recorded sound. They specialize in the creation of well-formed improvisation though the integration of old and new technologies. Mnemosyne recently performed for the opening of Adam Cvijanovic’s American Montage at the Kemper Museum of Art. Other notable performances include Analog Drift, a cross-disciplinary ArtSounds performance, and the inaugural Art in the Loop Foundation’s (AILF) 2014 Downtown Kansas City Street Art/Placemaking Pilot Project. Mnemosyne consists of Michael Miller- bass clarinet, Russell Thorpe- saxophone, Ted King-Smith- saxophone, and Eli Hougland- electronics. Mnemosyne Quartet- soundcloud- Stasis Oasis

Zachary Shemon is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Since joining the PRISM quartet in 2007 as the ensemble’s alto saxophonist, he has recorded on the Albany, innova, Naxos, New Dynamic, and New Focus labels and performed on many of the world’s leading festivals for contemporary music including the Bang on a Can Marathon, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and SONiC Festival. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Indiana University, where he studied with Donald Sinta and Otis Murphy, respectively. Zachary Shemon is a Conn-Selmer artist and performs on Selmer (Paris) saxophones. As a D’Addario Woodwinds artist, he performs on Reserve reeds and aids in product research and design. Zach Shemon- Prism Quartet

Art in the Loop
This is the inaugural performance for the 2015 Art in the Loop project. Our goal is to infuse Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park and the center of Downtown Kansas City with innovative and engaging temporary art that will refresh, intrigue and surprise our audience of Downtown employees, residents and visitors. Equally important, the project will also create an opportunity for local emerging and maturing artists to extend their practice into the Downtown environment with curatorial, professional and logistical support.

Artists were recently selected for the 2015 project. Performances, installation dates and other events will be announced soon.  Follow us on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/artintheloop and Twitter @ArtintheLoop for performance and installation updates or visit www.artintheloop.com.  For additional information contact Ann Holliday, program director, ann@downtownkc.org or Jessica Borusky, curator, jessicaborusky@gmail.com.

The 2015 Art in the Loop project is presented through the support of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Missouri Arts Council – a state agency, ArtsKC and our generous corporate sponsors.

Open letter – on First Friday – by the Mayor

An open letter on the arts and ArtsKC by Mayor Sly James.

An open letter on the arts and ArtsKC by Mayor Sly James.

Last fall, I wrote An Open Letter to America addressing the many assets Kansas City has to offer. It came on the heels of our Kansas City Royals playoff run, but it wasn’t about baseball. Instead, the letter was intended to draw attention to our elevated profile across the U.S. and to highlight all the ways in which Kansas City is winning.

The Kansas City Arts Community is a large part of our rising profile – and rightfully so. Our Arts are incredibly vibrant and we are being recognized as a leader in many disciplines including fashion, theater, jazz, song and dance – just to name a few! In fact, we are one of only a handful of cities across the country that have all four of the major arts – opera, repertory theater, symphony & ballet. As we continue to build our reputation as a world-class city, the Arts are truly making us shine.

This Friday (today) our regional arts council, ArtsKC , will launch their annual digital giving campaign – #timetogive. This important campaign is essential to the vibrancy and vitality of Kansas City’s world-renowned arts scene.  By contributing to the ArtsKC Fund, you are funding grants to artists, arts organizations, and arts programs from all over the region.

Accessibility to the arts should be open to everyone and ArtsKC does that by funding grants that support transportation and education programming in diverse and underserved communities, and by working with organizations to provide free events throughout our five-county region.

I love this City and I find more reasons to appreciate & celebrate it every day. As we continue to see our name landing on Top 10 lists, our Arts will continue to propel us straight to the top. I hope you’ll consider making a contribution – yes, right now – consider it a significant investment in your City.

Sincerely,

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri

One day Flower & Art Show in Downtown on Friday

Westport Garden Club

Fleur-ishing Art: An American Impression

The Westport Garden Club is collaborating with The Box Gallery and Commerce Bank for a one-of-a-kind art and flower show in Downtown Kansas City from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

Members of the Westport Garden Club will create 26 artistic flower arrangements – each inspired by a work of fine art from the Commerce Bank art collection. Judges from five states will help select prize winners.

Join us for a public reception from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Friday at the Box Gallery, 1000 Walnut St., as the show continues next door in the Trust Art Gallery. Parking will be available in the 1025 Main garage.

For more information contact Robin Trafton, director of The Box Gallery, 816-760-7885, robin.trafton@Commercebank.com.