Artistic treasure set to open in historic 18th & Vine District

The Zhou B Art Center – a new hub for visual and performing arts in Kansas City – will open on June 1 in the landmark Crispus Attucks School building in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Jazz District.

Downtown Kansas City is preparing to welcome an international gem to its already vibrant visual and performing arts scene.

The Zhou B Art Center will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, June 1 in the heart of the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District. The event is open to the public and will serve as the first annual fundraising event for the Zhou B Arts Foundation of Kansas City. Proceeds will contribute to developing subsidizing programs for artists’ studios, exhibitions, educational workshops and programs for the community in support for the Zhou B Art Foundation of KC. Click here for tickets and to learn more.

“The mission of the Zhou Brothers Art Center is to provide an opportunity to support artists… for artists to live and explore their creativity in an environment that enhances their professional abilities and their ability to share their art with the world,” said Allan Gray, partner in the $27 million center and a long-time leader in the KC’s arts scene, including roles as chair of ArtsKC and the Missouri Arts Council  as well as founder the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. Gray was honored in Aprl by the Downtown Council with an Urban Hero Award.

The Zhou Brothers, Shanzuo Zhoushi and Dahuang Zhoushi, are renowned Chinese painters born in Guangxi, China, now based in Chicago, who have achieved international acclaim for their abstract art. The Kansas City art center is designed to serve as a new hub where artistic expression flourishes, showcasing a diverse range of visual and performing arts tailored for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

You are invited to experience the Zhou B Arts Center beginning Saturday, June 1 at the public grand opening. Zhou B Arts Center interior rendering, courtesy of BNIM

The Kansas City location – their second U.S. arts center – inspired the expansion and renovation of the landmark Crispus Attucks School building at 1815 Woodland Ave. Attucks School was established in 1893. The school was constructed in two stages – the original section was completed in 1905 and a two-story addition was added. to the east facade in 1922. Over the next several decades the Attucks School was one of the main grade schools for African American students in Kansas City.

After the integration of public schools by the 1960s, the Attucks School was used as a grade school for all children in the Kansas City area until its closed in 2007, due to low enrollment. On Sept. 9, 1991, the school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It was a building that was a true neighborhood school, a place ot true vitality,” Gray said. “That inpired us to want to bring that back to the Attucks building. This is a place that is symbolic of the past, but through the arts center we are creating a new future for it.”

Today, nearly 33 years after its closing, the historic Attucks School willl discover new life as an arts and cultural hub. Click here to learn more about the transformation of the Attucks School into the Zhou B Art Center.

The Zhou B Art Center Grand Opening Celebration will allow guests to experience the brand-new space with an inaugural exhibition with actress and art collector, CCH Pounder, featuring renowned artists Michael Brantley, Robert Hale, Tony Ramos, and Harold Smith. Guests will get a first look at the Zhou B artist studios, along with the opportunity to meet with resident artists.

The event is will introduce the Zhou B Art Foundation of Kansas City, a nonprofit effort dedicated to fostering the arts with future creatives and residents alike. Through educational programs, community partnerships, exhibition sponsorship and advocacy efforts, the Zhou B Art Foundation aims to cultivate a vibrant and sustainable arts ecosystem.

Click here to learn more, and to secure your tickets to the opening event.