Arts/Entertainment

Keeping Up With Kansas City Arts

Keeping-Up-Kansas-City-Arts

Supporters, casual fans and aficionados have many opportunities to bolster the local art scene. Who’s providing the pathways?

Kansas City is fast becoming one of the most impressive art capitals in the country and even the world. With the construction of The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in the middle of downtown, Kansas City’s status as an art-supporting city was affirmed once again. The support of the community via show attendance at the Kauffman, local concert venues and First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District is strong. Dedicated KC metro art enthusiasts are taking support for the arts to the next level by getting involved. Several art organizations offer the opportunity to participate in our thriving art scene and keep it thriving for a long time to come.

One of Kansas City’s oldest young professional organizations, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Young Friends of Art is a networking group for individuals in their 20s and 30s. YFA is also an outlet for arts-minded people to enjoy the collections of the Nelson-Atkins with similarly minded young professionals. The group frequently pairs with other young professional organizations during their second Friday happy hour meetings in order to foster a larger networking reach and knowledge of the young professional community at large.

Nelson-Atkins’ YFA is no stranger to intriguing events. Their Summer White Party quickly sells out and remains a memorable highlight of the group. Everyone puts on their best summer whites and enjoys hors d’oeuvres, sipping on wine and listening to live music in the beautiful setting of the museum in the hours before sunset. Another huge YFA event is Party Arty. Held in the opulence of the museum, YFA-ers join together in cocktail attire to drink, eat local foods and dance the night away. Visit nelson-atkins.org for more information.

Hello Art is an organization focused on connecting artists to the viewers of their art. As is a common theme among all arts organizations, Hello Art strives to break down any barriers that prevent people from enjoying the art present throughout the community. Artists, gallery owners, curators and those just dabbling in the art scene are encouraged to mingle and learn together through Hello Art events. Year-round, Hello Art presents events such as First Friday Trolley Tours, artists talks and demonstrations and Hello Art member exhibitions.

Top: The Hello Art trolley tour is one of the best ways to see art in Kansas City. Photo courtesy of the Hello Art website. 
Above: Kansas City Young Audiences rehearses for a performance. Photo courtesy of KCYA.

Bolstered by the support of numerous local businesses, Hello Art provides membership opportunities on two levels: Artist and Art Lover (both $100 per year). The Artist membership allows budding local artists the opportunity to view the art of others and have their art considered for a Hello Art exhibition. The Art Lover membership allows the art appreciator to view exhibits and artist demonstrations to further their knowledge of the local art scene. Membership can be applied for at helloart.org.

According to statistics, children involved in arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, participate in a math and science fair or win an award for an essay or poem they have written. Kansas City Young Audiences was founded in 1961 with the purpose of bringing classical music programs to local school children. KCYA, the largest provider of arts programs in the area, has expanded its program to include music, dance, theatre, creative writing and visual arts. 

Some Kauffman Encore supporters enjoying a colorful evening of music and performance. Photo courtesy of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.

In a time when arts programs are rapidly disappearing from schools, KCYA partners with school and community programs and Kansas City Arts Partners to keep an art presence strong in schools. The Community School of Arts is also operated by KCYA to allow students to explore creative outlets after school, on Saturdays and throughout the summer. KCYA provides numerous opportunities for children to become involved in art, but community members are also given many opportunities to support the organization. Community members can donate, sign up for a month giving program, leave a legacy and volunteer. More details on the program and becoming involved can be found at kcya.org.

Encore is the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ young professional organization where members are encouraged to attend a variety of performances and support the Kansas City community at large. Collaborations with other young professional groups allow Encore to engage in events at the Kauffman and beyond.

For example, a collaboration with Starlight Theatre’s young professional group gave Encore members the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Les Miserables at Screenland. Kauffman’s newest edition to the organization is EncoreTix, a program designed to make performances more accessible to young professionals ages 21 through 39. This program collects no annual fees, leaving the young professional free to pay for programs and events that interest them. More information about Encore, EncoreTix and The Kauffman Center programming can be found at kauffmancenter.org.