Charlotte Street’s Open Studios: April 24-25


On April 24-25, Charlotte Street will hold its annual Open Studios event. 21 visual artists, 5 writers, and 11 performing artists and ensembles will open their studios for this annual event. The public is encouraged to take an insider’s look at these studios, interacting with the artists, viewing works in progress, and witnessing special performances.

On Friday night, all studios will be open from 6-10pm. There is also a special lineup of performances, happening in the Town Pavilion studio spaces.

On Saturday, Paragraph Gallery will be open 12-5pm for the exhibition 1 Infinite Loop, featuring the work of Studio Resident artists. At 1pm, several of the Writers in Residence will present an interactive reading. At 2pm, exhibiting artists will be present in the gallery for a walk and talk event, and a live musical performance.


Dates: Friday, April 24, 6pm-10pm + Saturday, April 25, 12pm-5pm


• pARTnership Place/906 Grand, 13th Floor

• Town Pavilion/1100 Walnut, 6th Floor

• Paragraph Gallery + Project Space/21-23 E 12th Street

Click here for more information including schedule, map and artist information.


Call for applicants: LaunchKC seeks tech startups


LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech startup business, begins its third week for accepting applications today.

LaunchKC is grants competition for tech entrepreneurs to apply and compete for one of 10 (ten) $50,000 grants and a leg up in growing their business enterprises in Kansas City, Missouri. The LaunchKC competition is open to applicants locally, nationally and globally.

Each eventual grant recipient will receive a $50,000 grant and a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

The grants application window opened just after midnight on March 31, and closes on July 2, 2015. Following an extended application review process, the eventual grant recipients will be selected by a LaunchKC judging panel consisting of Kansas City business leaders and national venture capitalists at Techweek Kansas City on Sept. 18, 2015.

In the first two weeks of accepting applications via the website, the pace has been strong. Thus far, applications have been received or are in process from eight states and two countries outside of the U.S.

“We are delighted with the early response to the LaunchKC application window,” said Mike Hurd, chief marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “We are looking for the best and brightest to enter the grants competition and compete to bring their business models to Kansas City.”

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, working in partnership with the Economic Development Corporation. It stems from Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ bi-state innovation initiative that was established in 2013.

LaunchKC is nonprofit, civic engine in the Kansas City tech scene. It is fueled by visionary investments from the Missouri Technology Corporation and other public, private and philanthropic communities, and maintained by a broad base of collaborators in the entrepreneurial and technology space. Click here for a current list of LaunchKC sponsors.

The bottom is line for LaunchKC is crystal clear:

  • Grow jobs and build new businesses in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Engage venture capitalists and equity investors in the tech scene of Kansas City
  • Elevate Kansas City’s brand as an innovation center across the country
  • Serve as an engine for regional and national tech talent recruitment

“LaunchKC will search locally and nationally to identify innovative entrepreneurs – the ‘real drivers,’ like mid-career professionals with expertise in existing industries to be uniquely qualified to spin off new businesses,” said Bill Dietrich, chief administrative office of LaunchKC and president & CEO of the Downtown Council.

LaunchKC will focus on high-growth potential businesses in scalable, vertical sectors – such as Big Data via Advanced Manufacturing, AgTech, Animal Health, Data Analytics, EdTech, FinTech, HealthTech, Mobile Tech, Cloud Services and Real Estate Tech – where KC has considerable depth and expertise to aid in welcoming and support the new startups.

To apply for a LaunchKC grant or to learn more, visit

Receive 20% Off Tickets to KC Rep’s Angels in America

Get 20% Off* Tickets to
Angels in America when you order online at or by phone at 816.235.2700 using promo code: DOWNTOWNDISH
Limit four (4) discounted tickets per household. Valid on adult tickets only. Cannot be applied to previous purchases, used in combination with other offers, or applied to Level C or student seating.

Also, join us 30 minutes prior to the show for Making the Play!
Making the Play is a free conversation series at every KC Rep performance, 30 minutes prior to your performance, where you can learn more about the incredible history behind the play and get a peek behind the scenes with our artistic staff! 

Part I: Millennium Approaches & Part II: Perestroika
Copaken Stage / 13th & Walnut St.

Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by David Cromer

A world-class revival of a modern classic. The most honored play in a generation, winner of the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama,Angels in America melds love, hate, religion and politics into a uniquely American epic. Sensitively reimagined, Angels in America changed the landscape of American theatre.

Part I: Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika will be presented in rotating repertory at Copaken Stage.

Part 1:  Millennium Approaches – Filled with poetry and haunting imagery, heroism and humanity, Millennium Approaches begins the story of two couples whose lives intertwine in New York City during the mid-1980s. This classic of American theatre begins KC Rep’s epic rotating repertory at Copaken Stage.

Part 2:  Perestroika – This seldom performed work completes the epic story of Angels in America, as eight incredible actors perform in multiple roles. Perestroika provides Kansas City audiences with a rare chance to see Tony Kushner’s work as it was meant to be seen – with the quality you’ve come to expect from KC Rep.

Appropriate for ages 17 & up. Contains adult language, sexual content, and brief nudity.

Announcing 2015 Art in the Loop Call for Artists

ArtintheloopThe Art in the Loop Foundation (AILF) is seeking artists to engage the Downtown Kansas City community through a series of art installations and performances in and around Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park, 12th & Walnut, from June 1 through September 30, 2015. This call is open to local artists, musicians, poets, dancers, and performance artists. More information and the on-line application are available at  Applications are due April 15, 2015. Artist fees will range from $500 to $4,000.

Art in the Loop will infuse the park and the center of Downtown Kansas City (Art Impact Zone) with innovative and engaging temporary art that will refresh, intrigue and surprise our audience of Downtown employees, residents and visitors while also creating an opportunity for local emerging and maturing artists to extend their practice into the Downtown environment with curatorial, professional and logistical support.

An Artist Selection Panel, consisting of arts professionals and community members, will review the proposals received and announce the successful projects in May.

Artwork will be installed in and around Oppenstein Park and at other Art in the Loop installations. Performances will take place in the park on Thursdays, 11:30 to 1:30, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 2015.  Artist-led walking tours will also be available. All projects, performances and walking tours will be free and open to the public.

This project is a partnership between the Art in the Loop Foundation, the Downtown Community Improvement District, the Downtown Council of Kansas City, the Kansas City Art Institute and the Municipal Art Commission of Kansas City, Missouri with financial support provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Corporate sponsorships will are also available.  For more information contact Ann Holliday, Art in the Loop program director, 816-979-1072, or Jessica Borusky, project curator,

Crossroads Academy: Enroll students by March 31

Do you have school age children and live Downtown?  Then you may be interested to know that the Crossroads Academy of Kansas City, located at 1011 Central in Downtown Kansas city, is enrolling grades K-8 for the 2015-2016 school year. Open enrollment lottery deadline is March 31.

Applications can be found at All enrolling families must live within the KCMO public schools boundaries. Of these families, those that live or work in the Greater Downtown Area receive priority in our admissions lottery.

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City is a tuition-free charter school located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Their mission is to prepare students to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education. The school opened in 2012 with 190 students in grades K-5 and will eventually grow to serve 370 students in grades K-8. Their mission is to develop graduates who are scholarly, culturally literate and service- oriented individuals who will pursue their dreams relentlessly and have a positive impact on their family, their community and the world.

Immersed in the civic, artistic, financial and historic heart of Kansas City, Crossroads Academy embraces the exceptional learning opportunities of our urban setting.

Meet Your 2015 Downtown Council Board Officers

Front Row: Nathan Orr, Vice Chair; Jon Copaken, Chair; Cathy Beaham Smith, Vice Chair; Back Row: Doug Stockman, Vice Chair; Christopher Briggs, Treasurer; Mike Hagedorn, Treasurer; Charlie Miller, Secretary

Front Row: Nathan Orr, Jon Copaken, Cathy Beaham Smith; Back Row: Doug Stockman, Christopher Briggs, Mike Hagedorn, Charlie Miller

The Downtown Council is pleased to introduce our 2015 Board Officers!


We asked the officers two questions about the Downtown Council and Downtown Kansas City.  Check out their responses below:

1) What is the top reason you would recommend someone should join the Downtown Council?

“The organization has more impact than any other civic group as it rolls up its sleeves and gets things done.  It is the only group that can unabashedly advocate for Downtown.” Jon Copaken

“If you have passion for Kansas City and want to see it continue to grow and thrive, you have to have passion for Downtown, because Downtown is literally the heart of the region.  So much of what has helped transform this city’s image, amenities and ability to attract top global talent is a direct result of the explosive rebirth of Downtown.  And there is no better way to get involved with this heart of the city than to join the Downtown Council.  It is literally guiding the city’s rise.” Nate Orr

“The Downtown Council is helping to shape the future of Downtown and helping us sustainably grow in a manner that supports business.” Mike Hagedorn

“It’s great opportunity to serve the community and collaborate with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues.” Doug Stockman

“The DTC works on a wide variety of important and interesting things that are part of downtown KC.  The organization is effective and dynamic.” Cathy Smith

“After every Downtown Council meeting, I am always excited about the future of downtown and proud to live/work in Kansas City!” Christopher Briggs


2) What is your favorite Downtown restaurant for lunch?

“Tie: The Bristol and Vietnam Café (greater Downtown)” Nate Orr

The Westside Local Jon Copaken

The Bristol Mike Hagedorn

TwentyTwenty Doug Stockman

The Westside Local Cathy Smith

Milwaukee Delicatessen Christopher Briggs



Gigabit Summit attracts tech leaders to KC

Ilya Tabakh (right), who works for Somametric, an interaction agency, discussed technology with Anurag Patel of the University of Kansas Medical Center at the Gigabit City Summit at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Kansas City has been a lot of hubs over the years: cattle hub, railroad hub, greeting card hub, college hoops hub. And now … tech hub?

“We’re not there yet, but last week brought the city closer to being a place recognized for its appetite for innovation,” according to a story in today’s Kansas City Star.

‘“Yes, Kansas City has buzz around the country,” said Heather Burnett Gold, who lives in Virginia. “Have you ever had buzz before?”

“Ouch. But her point had merit as Gold, an advocate for threading homes with high-speed fiber, joined delegates from more than 40 cities at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for a three-day conference called the Gigabit City Summit.”

The Gigabit City Summit began just days after the Downtown Council introduced its new LaunchKC tech startup business plan competition. LaunchKC will award up to 10 (ten) $50,000 grants at the new Techweek Kansas City conference in September to aspiring tech entrepreneurs with plans to build high growth potential starts right here in Kansas City.

The Gigabit City Summit was designed to attract tech leaders and players from around the country to learn from Kansas City and get the opportunity “to explore ways of juicing up their communities with ultra-fast Internet connections.”

The Star’s story continued:

Midway through the meeting, even the White House lauded Kansas City’s emergence on the high-tech stage.

Just before President Barack Obama’s appearance in Iowa last Wednesday to pitch a plan to boost bandwidth around the country, the White House released a video of him cradling an electronic tablet displaying a bar chart.

On his screen glowed the words “Kansas City,” among the pioneers of a small pack of communities with a “huge competitive advantage,” he said, because of the bistate venture into wiring neighborhoods with Google Fiber.

Throw in Kansas City’s victory this month in landing a prestigious technology expo known as Techweek, coming in September, and gee, maybe we are becoming an “it” place for geeks.

Not quite yet, said one of them.

“I think a lot of things are converging,” said local native Jonathan Wagner, founder of a startup called Big Bang. “But it’s still harder to raise money here than on the coasts.”

He said Kansas City needs to attract more deep-pocketed venture capitalists and software developers “willing to take a chance on a big idea and swing for the fences.”

Still, there’s broad agreement within the local technology set that area leaders have made huge strides toward becoming the capital of Silicon Prairie.

“The local average Joe working at a restaurant probably doesn’t recognize it,” said Mike Burke, co-chairman of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team, which was coordinating efforts. “But I can tell you, the energy within our entreprenuerial and technology communities is a thousand times greater now than a decade ago.”

Outsiders are watching.

They’re watching from Portland, Ore.; Charlotte, N.C.; Nevada City, Calif.; and Provo, Utah. All sent delegates, often teams of them, to the Gigabit City Summit.

In total, more than 200 people showed up to hear about the Google experiment from local planners, from national experts in the “smart city movement” and from the mayors of Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan. The summit was co-sponsored by several organizations and companies, including Google and the Kauffman Foundation.

Although the selection of the two Kansas Citys by Google as its starting point for Fiber launched much of the tech drive, the movement now includes other providers and startups.

Gail Roper flew in from Raleigh, N.C., where she works as the city’s chief information officer. She held a similar job in Kansas City until she left eight years ago.

“You wouldn’t have seen this conference in Kansas City back then,” Roper said.

To read more of reporter Rick Montgomery’s story, click here.

Downtown Council Annual Luncheon – highlight reel

More than 900 business and community leaders came out to support Downtown Kansas City last Friday at the 2015 Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon.  Keynote speaker Leigh Gallagher, a managing editor of Fortune Magazine, shared some interesting statistics about urban growth in downtown areas across the country and it was encouraging to see that we are on the right track.

Leigh Gallagher, Key Note Speaker

Leigh Gallagher, Keynote Speaker

The J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award, in honor of Downtown stewardship and vision, was given to Tom Trabon, who received a standing ovation when he stepped on stage to receive award.

The 2014 Urban Hero honorees, individuals who are passionate working at a grass-roots level to continue bringing life to Downtown Kansas City, were announced:


2014 Urban Heroes

2014 Urban Heroes


Jon Copaken, Downtown Council Chairman, announced a new Downtown Council priority is a “corporate recruitment with the measuring stick of success being at least one major corporate relocation downtown.”


Jon Copaken, Copaken Brooks, Downtown Council Chair

Jon Copaken, Copaken Brooks, Downtown Council Chair

Mayor Sly James spoke at the luncheon, emphasizing that Downtown is where innovation intersects with opportunity and stated that the KC Streetcar will be the new organizing principle for the future of Downtown and introduced a new video on the subject.

Matt McGraw, President and CEO of DSI, announced a new partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Downtown Council and the EDC, to bring a $50K grant competition to Kansas City through the LaunchKC initiative. LaunchKC seeks to attract technology startups and plans to select 10 companies for their first class. If selected, companies receive $50,000 in grant funding, free workspace for a year and access to industry expertise and mentors.

Matt McGraw, DSI, LaunchKC Committee Chair

Another highlight of the luncheon was made by Iain Shovlin, Executive Director of Techweek, who announced that Techweek has chosen Kansas City to host their week-long technology conference beginning in September 2015. Kansas City is the sixth city nationally to attract a Techweek presence. Others include Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Techweek is a seven-day technology conference/festival that will be held in Kansas City, September 14-20.  The event will connect and showcase Kansas City’s emergent tech scene, as well as attract companies from outside of the area to take a look at what Kansas City has to offer.

For more photos, tweets and videos, visit

Zebra looms large over Downtown


Phil “Sike Style” Shafer recently completed this “Angry Zebra” mural on the side of the Bonfils building at 12th and Grand, and opened a one-person show at the 19 Below gallery on Oct. 3. (Photo credit Rich Sugg)

There is an Angry Zebra loose in Downtown Kansas City.

In mid-September, a provocative new mural joined Kansas City’s Downtown streetscape, the Kansas City Star reported.

“Angry Zebra,” a signature image of KC artist Phil “Sike Style” Shafer, rises 50 feet high on the south wall of the Bonfils building at 12th Street and Grand Boulevard.

The project, sponsored by the Art in the Loop Foundation, coincides with the recent opening of “State of Shock,” a one-person show by Shafer at the 19 Below gallery.

To read more, follow this link.