Come See The Fairy Princess!

Ring in the holiday season with the Kansas City Museum at our Neighborhood Holiday Open House. We’ll toast the holidays with sweets, savories and beverages as special guest Irma Starr presents our 2014 Fairy Princesses and Fairy Princess Costume Contest Winners. Special guest performers, soprano Alyssa Toepfer and accompanist Richard L. Williams from the Lyric Opera, will perform at 6 p.m. The Museum this year will also be doing a special lighting of Corinthian Hall. 

The Fairy Princess will be spreading holiday cheer at the Museum the first three weekends in December, for $10 per child.

The Fairy Princess
Saturdays, December 6, 13, 20 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sundays, December 7, 14, 21 | Noon-4 p.m. | $10 per person


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Exhibit In Print

“Exhibit in Print” means an exhibition-without-a-gallery. This innovative program explores and publishes our collections during Corinthian Hall’s extensive restoration. The Exhibits in Print program invites diverse historians, artists and scholars to offer their unique perspectives about Museum artifacts, our historic home at the R. A. Long Residence and larger themes of regional and national history.

These publications are available to review here, and for purchase in the Museum Gift Shop.

Join us for our next great event: Windows of Kansas City Author Talk and Book Signing with Author Bruce Mathews Thursday, November 13 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. | Free

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Kansas City Museum – Interpretive Plan

Kansas City Museum Interpretive Plan

What is an Interpretive Plan?

An Interpretive Plan is an interdisciplinary guide that informs integrated, site-wide implementation of public program goals. It focuses on visitor needs and addresses professional issues of museum operation. The Kansas City Museum Interpretative Plan comprises a building-by-building site-use projection detailing expected visitor experiences and the environments where “interpretation” takes place.

Vision  The Kansas City Museum envisions that its visitors will experience a meaningful personal connection to the city’s histories and be inspired toward thoughtful citizenship.

Mission  The mission of the Kansas City Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Kansas City, Missouri.

The Kansas City Museum Interpretive Master Plan results from more than 5 years’ collaborative planning by the Kansas City Museum Advisory Board, Union Station Kansas City / Kansas City Museum and numerous community constituents and professional peers. Inspired by this Vision and informed by this Mission, the Museum will interpret the development of the Kansas City area via multiple methods and perspectives.

In 2005 the City embarked on an ambitious program of restoration and rehabilitation at the 3-acre, six-building estate. The City is investing significantly in this process and the Museum’s managers, Union Station Kansas City are collaborating with City colleagues to complete plans for rehabilitation and restoration at the site, and subsequent design and installation of all-new exhibits and complementary programs.
The KCM Interpretative Plan is not a build-ready set of designs or blueprints – but will lend to this in future work phases – rather it will answer “who, what, when and where.” The Plan will anticipate programs that allow visitors to answer the “why” and, increasingly, the “so-what”.

The KCM Interpretative Plan will also address staff size, visitor flow and optimal visitor group size, as well as auxiliary Museum operations such as food service and retail, in order to guarantee mission-specificity in these areas.

Illustrations and conceptual drawings will be included in the KCM Plan, detailing select period restoration and other rehabilitation of the historic buildings and grounds, much of which is already under way.

Click here to review the entire Interpretive Plan

Click here for Interpretive Plan as pdf

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Rituals and Celebrations: Exploring Meaning Through Dress – Corinthian Hall Kansas City

See the works of local emerging and well-established artists and designers in our new Community Gallery in Corinthian Hall. The Museum, in partnership with the Kansas City Art Institute, presents Rituals and Celebrations: Exploring Meaning through Dress, an exhibition of emerging and well-established Kansas City fiber artists and designers who interpret the body as a form of artistic expression to celebrate significant moments or a new journey. The exhibition – co-curated by the Museum and Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, Professor and Chair of the Fiber Department of the Kansas City Art Institute – complements the Museum’s newest exhibition: Dressing Up in Kansas City.

The Community Gallery is intended to feature local artists and run in conjunction with our exhibitions.

Until the end of November 30
Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
West Gallery, 2nd Floor, Corinthian Hall | Free

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What Speaks to Me Most … CCVI Gingerbread Lane

By Kellie Houx1424327_747534178607630_284078133_n

I have been a judge for Gingerbread Lane, a benefit for the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, since 2008. I don’t know why, but to me, it seems like a pretty great track record. While some reading this will say that offering less than an hour out of a day to judge gingerbread house creations may seem like, forgive the pun, a cake walk. Let me simply reply, “It is not.”

I feel really privileged to be asked along with many television and radio personalities in town as I walked up and down the Crestwood Shops. I sometimes wonder why I am chosen, but a co-worker tells me that I am the editor of KC Studio so my opinion might hold a little weight.

Holidays in Crestwood featuring Gingerbread Lane will be here soon — Dec. 4, 5 and 6. Cheri Elder, owner of Sweet Bliss Cakery, Blue Springs, has been in the cake business for more than 40 years. She is a master at wedding cakes, theme cakes and almost any sort of specialty cakes one can think of … they range from elegant and modern wedding cakes to humorous and festive party cakes.

Entering the Gingerbread Lane contest annually gives Elder a chance to stretch her creative wings and put frosting on something different. “I do nothing but cakes and the chance freedom to do what I wanted appealed to me. It was the metaphorical and literal icing on the cake,” she explains.

Elder has won several accolades during her years competing, but calls the real joy being able to take a tour of the various entries and watch children. “I am a mother to three children and grandmother to 11. Every year, we go down and look at the houses. The total joy that comes across a child’s face is the best gift.”

Elder didn’t know about CCVI when she was recruited as a contestant. “I didn’t know they had a school here in the city,” she expounds. “Several of us took a tour and saw how much help children receive. It’s just wonderful.” CCVI offers visually-impaired children skills that include a variety of real-life experiences designed to increase independence and develop self-confidence. CCVI currently serves about 212 children from both sides of the state line: 105 children in the Infant Program, 50 children in the Preschool & Kindergarten Program, plus 24 sighted peers, and 33 children in the Outreach Program.

388178_563513807009669_1174900081_nThe emphasis on aiding children at CCVI and those who come to see the gingerbread houses prove to Elder that her time and devotion to this contest is worth it. After all, she discovered her abilities in sixth grade through a drawing contest sponsored by Walt Disney that resulted in the company purchasing four of her pictures for $4 each. Her first experience with cake decorating didn’t come until her daughter’s first birthday. That daughter, Pamala Lair, now competes in the gingerbread contest too.

This year, Elder is leaning toward the theme Over the River and Through the Woods. “I am hoping to create a horse-drawn sleigh with a family heading to visit grandma. It takes roughly 100 hours to make these creations. Of course, we are working in between the normal cake orders.”

So Elder has begun looking up ideas for sleighs and other aspects of her design. “We have a lot of fun. Both Pamala and I question if we should tackle the contest again, but it’s important. Our creations are so personal to us. We like to see where our imaginations take us and sometimes we get a little carried away, but it’s all for a good cause.”

Needless to say, being a judge for this contest is just plain hard. I was impressed with every chef’s efforts and Elder’s in particular. They are the sweetest representations of Christmas. Of course, having done stories on CCVI and all the good things they do to help low vision and blind children, it’s pretty easy to be a judge and share the word about the good things are going on at CCVI and the Shops at Crestwood.

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National Archives Opens Say It With Snap!: Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-1929 Exhibition

William Frederic Elmes, Mather & Company, Bull's-Eye, 1929, color lithograph, 44 x 36 inches, collection Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.

William Frederic Elmes, Mather & Company, Bull’s-Eye, 1929, color lithograph, 44 x 36 inches, collection Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.

The National Archives at Kansas City’s latest exhibit Say It With Snap!: Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-1929 is on view now through Jan. 7, 2015. Can posters inspire employees to improve their work habits and increase productivity? This exhibit highlights historic work place posters created by the Chicago-based Mather & Company in the 1920s. These posters answered the needs of a rapidly changing American work force through the use of dynamic color and catchy slogans designed to cajole, coax, and even admonish employees to perform at their best.

Exhibits Specialist Dee A. Harris calls the exhibition a glimpse of American culture that can be juxtaposed with today’s contemporary motivational posters. “It is interesting to see what worked before the Great Depression and what helps us to be productive 85 years later.” While the exhibition looks at just a few years, there are clear shifts in the target audiences.”

DSC_0304 NEWSome of the posters are iconic with famous and recognizable faces such as George Washington or almost mythical locations such as castles. “Whatever the poster depicts, there is also a clear emphasis of the Art Deco movement.” The ideal 1920s man is striding forward, smiling and neat in his appearance. Each poster has a three-pronged message. There is a bold-faced caption, a descriptive statement and final moral instruction. “Over this short span, the three-part message tightened up, but clearly the concept remained constant,” she explains.

The exhibition shows how the direction of the graphic messages changed over time, shifting from incentives targeting white-collar workers and their managers in the early years to a greater focus on factory workers. There is even one woman depicted on a poster. “By the 1920, there was a rise of women in the work place. Concerns in the work place centered on safety and employee challenges such as controlling tempers and smiling,” Harris says.

Mather tapped into veins of popular entertainment such as sports, music, and the circus to craft dramatic posters that both motivated and schooled employees in appropriate workplace behavior. During the company’s most successful years, in the late 1920s, Mather claimed his business supplied more than 40,000 firms nationwide. While the content of some of these posters – such as “Do You Explode?,” or “What Are Loafers Paid?” – may seem naïve today, they captured a moment in time not unlike our own: when changes in society and employment trends upended the relationship between workers and management.

William Frederic Elmes, Mather & Company, Ready to Spring!, 1929, color lithograph, 44 x 36 inches, collection Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.

William Frederic Elmes, Mather & Company, Ready to Spring!, 1929, color lithograph, 44 x 36 inches, collection Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE.

Although the theme of workplace motivation may not seem like an inspirational topic, co-curator Dulce Roman of the University of Florida’s Harn Museum sees Mather’s images as signposts of a unique kind of optimism. These original lithograph posters are an exhibition a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with The Missouri Arts Council and The National Endowment for the Arts. Harris sees them as a sort of propaganda. “They are designed to change behavior,” she says. “We have already had high school students looking at the messaging; students from KCAI specifically analyzing the design aesthetic including the fonts and use of color. There is something for all us here,” explains Harris.

Along with the exhibit, the National Archives is an agency with many public events as well as research tools for genealogy and historical research. The agency was established in 1934 – during the Roosevelt administration as a part of the WPA initiative. The local office was established in the late 1940s as a Federal Records Center and the entire operation moved south to the GSA complex until 2009. The local office, with the official moniker of National Archives at Kansas City, moved to the Union Station complex.

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Television Co-Host Continues Storytelling with Screenwriting and Acting

Michelle Davidson Bratcher is the fusion of Hollywood glamor and Midwest spunk. She’s a lovely face that is comfortable in front of a camera as well as sitting in front of a computer screen, crafting a savvy short film.

KC Live co-hosts Michelle Davidson Bratcher and Joel Nichols.  Photo courtesy of KSHB.

KC Live co-hosts Michelle Davidson Bratcher and Joel Nichols. Photo courtesy of KSHB.

For those in Kansas City, Bratcher is seen on the small screen five days a week as the co-host of Kansas City Live on KSHB. This job gives her the opportunity to interview local stars and national celebrities such as Sally Field, Harrison Ford and Jon Hamm. She’s also a co-host and produces CinemaKC on KCPT with fellow actress and friend Erin McGrane. However, her other significant roles come in local films and writing with her co-writer Patrick Rea.

“I have always loved going to the movies,” she says. “It’s all about storytelling. That led me to the a degree in journalism and a stint as a reporter.” The lure of movies still sways her. “I love it all.. the writing, the producing and this thriving community has embraced me.”

As a pre-teen, the movie Flashdance, the story of a fearless woman dancer, still holds up for her. “I was living in the St. Louis suburbs and studying dance, it was just a great story. My goal is to do a dance film. I have written a screenplay and I have taught dance. I know I could tell a story on film. It would be a coming-of-age film. I would love to make it here in Kansas City.”

While there is sentiment to this film, Bratcher is not limited to realistic fiction. She likes a good dramatic piece and some horror comedy, especially from partner Rea. “Then I also enjoy a sweet, uplifting film. It’s just being a storyteller.”

She has been the president of Kansas City Women in Film and Television. Now she is the director of the short screenplay writing contest. “It’s great to help support new writers. When I was president, we saw an upswing.” She is now the treasurer for the Film Commission and on the board of the Kansas City Film Fest. She is even serving on the board of the Missouri Motion Media Association. “This group is seeking to reinstate film tax credits. The film Gone Girl was the last film credits to be used. We need to see these credits renewed so that films can be made here. Those in New York and California need to see that we have a growing film community here and we can be employed.” Movie production incentives encourage in-stage film production.

On the set of Girls with Bratcher and Patrick Rea, diretor. Photo by Phil Peterson

On the set of Girls with Bratcher and Patrick Rea, diretor. Photo by Phil Peterson

Over the summer, Bratcher learned she is a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting with the screenplay No Man’s Land, co-written with Jeffrey Field. The script is also a finalist in the 2014 Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Contest at the Nantucket Film Festival. They were also a finalist in the Austin Film Festival pitch contest for the film. Bratcher’s screenplay, Badass Betty, won Best Comedy Screenplay at the Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, Calif. “The work with Jeffrey has been so rewarding,” she says. “My writing process for No Man’s Land came with a notebook next to my bed. I put my ideas there and this one stayed with me. For Patrick, we keep a file of ideas and the idea calls to you. That’s what he tells me. We are as original as we can be.”

Rea calls Bratcher “talented in multiple ways.” “She’s a talented on-camera host and actress. She’s also an extremely talented writer, director and producer. But most importantly she’s a great person with a terrific sense of humor. The Kansas City film scene is lucky to have her! I am proud of Good Conduct and The Hourglass Figure with her. She wrote the script for Good Conduct and I directed. In Hourglass, I directed her as an actor.”

Bratcher says she and Rea found a friendship in film while her husband Rob supports her in her endeavors. “I like to surround myself with people who are more talented than me. My kids are 4 and 8 and their activities come first. I do my writing at night. All of it brings me happiness. Writing provides me flexibility. No matter what, I am passionate about my family, the show, the film business … it is a gift from my parents … to be a hard worker.” Bratcher, whether she is hosting a show, acting, writing or producing, has a goal to connect with her audiences. “It can be a challenge, but I like to rise to the challenge.”

Michelle Davidson Bratcher on the set of Cinema KC. Photo by Larry Levenson.

Michelle Davidson Bratcher on the set of Cinema KC. Photo by Larry Levenson.

Recently, she also made a short film with Bruce Branit titled Gõtcher. Bratcher calls him another brilliant mind to learn from and she expects the film to be chosen for film festivals. Branit says of Bratcher, “She is tireless. Somehow she manages to be an on-air personality, write two or three feature scripts a year, act in any number of projects, direct and produce her own projects and still be willing to offer help and shepherd other projects. She is a talented and creative writer, who understands the craft and what makes a good story, as her many screenplay awards prove. I have collaborated with Michelle on a number of film projects from beginning to end. In an age where people are too busy to answer emails, this person who should be too busy, is quick to reply with fresh ideas, critiques and enthusiasm. The entertainment world is a loud and crowded place where it is difficult to see who’s got it and who doesn’t. Michelle has talent on many levels. She’s going to break through.”

While Bratcher has many plates spinning, she has never forgotten her mother’s advice. “She was a special education teacher and her advice is to be kind, follow your dreams, lift people up and be the positive person in the room. I know that if I merge all this with creativity, everything ends better. I also remember to be grateful for the chances I have been given.”

If all this isn’t enough, Bratcher is also submitting her short film, The Girls to festivals too. “It’s colorful, funny and celebrates women. I like to celebrate talented people.”

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Five Questions with James Murray III, Conductor of the 70-Year-Old Heritage Philharmonic

  1. The first concert is Music of France, Oct. 18. What is special about this concert?
James Murray III

James Murray III

To kick off the 70th season, we have a look at the Music of France. Harpist Emily Granger helped determine the country as she wanted Saint-Saëns’ Morceau de Concert and Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane. I wanted to feature the harp as it is not often seen in the solo world. It will be a treat for the audience. It worked that Emily wanted the French pieces because I then wove in Bizet, Gounod and Ravels’ Pavane for a Dead Princes. Gounod’s musicfrom Faust is one of my favorites.

  1. How did the 70th season come about?

With the 70th season, we kept much of the tradition, especially with the approaching holiday concert. We are calling it Music of Christmas Dec. 13. On February 21, we will have the Music of Russia. Susie Yang, cellist, will be the soloist. The Music of England May 2 will include the Young Artist winner. This will be our fourth competition and fits with the idea that education is and has always been an important part of the mission. We have added a fifth show, a bonus celebrating the Music of America June 13 on the steps of the Truman Library in Independence. Guest conductors will be Conductor Laureate Jack Ergo and Principal Guest Conductor Bryan Busby. We are hoping to pick a piece of music from each decade the Philharmonic has been around … it will be a fun challenge for the musicians and me and a gift to the community. Remember, all our concerts are free.

  1. What is your definition of a community orchestra?
Heritage Philharmonic

Heritage Philharmonic

A community orchestra is a mix of professional, community and student players. The five string musicians and I comprise the professional make-up. The other big difference is that we rehearse in the evening. I am so grateful that the quality of schools in the area produces great players who want to play. We are a place that gives community members a locale to continue their love of music. It’s the communal nature of music, be it choral or orchestral, which proves we are more than the sum of our parts. When I think of the word community, I also think about the community within the orchestra and what can be attained.

  1. What does it mean to you to help lead the Heritage Philharmonic? Where will the philharmonic be in the next 70 years?

For me, I have many hats, and one of those is to continue on that community ideal. My greatest role is to be a collaborator and that begins with the entire orchestra and those five professional players. It’s a team effort. Then I collaborate with the board who are community members and some musicians. My role as a leader means helping the orchestra get better. This could mean picking music that is a bit tougher or diversifying the programming. In the 70 years of this group and in all the organizations I am honored to work with, we have to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those before us. We have to honor that legacy and solid foundation.

  1. Share a funny or poignant story that best represents the Heritage Philharmonic.

For me, one of the best and funniest moments comes right after summer break and the first fall rehearsal. It’s hard to get the members started as they are all catching up with friends. There is such a strong connectedness and that allows us to have fun and support each other when it is needed.

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Crucial Literature: Nancy Horan

By Vivien JenningsHoran NEW

Nancy Horan’s first bestselling historical novel Loving Frank examined the complicated personal life of Frank Lloyd Wright. During a conversation at a recent luncheon for the Children’s Center For the Visually Impaired, Nancy shared her thoughts on her second bestselling novel, Under the Wide and Starry Sky, which explores the improbable love affair between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife Fanny Osbourne.

“Writing historical fiction about real people allows me to go inside the rooms where they converse and go about their lives, so that I (and the reader) can feel the tension or warmth in those rooms, and imagine the humanity beyond the biographical facts. I can explore the ‘why’ questions that arise out of the facts of the subjects’ lives.”

Cover 1NEWAsked how she “bumped into” another interesting dynamic woman whose life was hidden in history behind her famous husband, Nancy said that she was visiting the Monterey Bay area and was surprised to learn that Stevenson had lived there in 1879. She was puzzled what the Scottish author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was doing there. She soon learned that he had come to California seeking to marry an American woman he had met at an artists’ colony in France. Nancy’s curiosity was aroused. “Who was this Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne who drew Stevenson half way around the world?”

Further research revealed, “The Stevensons were two extraordinary people, not only by their natural gifts, but by their spirits and grit as well. When I learned about their amazing life together, and a love challenged by convention, geography and illness, I knew they would be good company. How could I resist them?”

The novel explores the perspectives of both Louis (as he calls himself) and Fanny. Nancy explained: “I wanted to show how roles can change over time, how a long-term relationship can be both beautiful and thorny, and how you can lose yourself in the institution. At the same time I wanted to explore the strengths of long-term devotion and commitment. “

When asked if writing about real people is both a blessing and a curse, Nancy replied, “I am drawn to big personalities and stories with powerful arcs that I see when I set out, and I feel that because the people are fascinating to me, they have the potential to be fascinating to readers. That is the blessing. The challenge then comes in finding the inherent conflicts and shaping the story so that the reader feels suspense from the uncertainty they feel about complicated personalities who are given to unpredictable choices. Some of their struggles are against forces over which they have limited control, while other struggles arise out of their flaws. It’s the personal frailties that are especially interesting to me. Stevenson was often bedbound by a serious lung ailment, yet he was a literary athlete. Fanny, who was ten years older, appeared fearless on the outside, but was easily wounded. For Louis’ health Fanny embarked with him on a two-year voyage in the South Seas, despite the fact that she was seasick every day. She saved Louis’ life time and again.“

The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals who shaped each other’s artistic lives and accomplishments unfolds as a passionate and unpredictable adventure equal to one of Stevenson’s own classic tales.

Etched into a bronze plaque on the tomb Fanny shares with her husband in Samoa is the tribute he wrote to her:

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,

A fellow-farer true through life,

Heart-whole and soul free

The august father gave to me

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Haw Contemporary Gallery Marks First Year, Rolling Into Year Two

DSC_0124 NEWWith the turn of the calendar year, Bill Haw Jr. has found his stride at the Haw Contemporary Galley located in the Stockyards District. Dolphin owner John O’Brien stepped aside, but found his successor with Haw.

The anniversary is Aug. 1. “It’s been an incredible year. The year exceeded expectations on every count. The arts community has opened its arms as has the general public.” Haw says the real coup and threads of continuity are held together by longtime Dolphin gallerist Emily Eddins. She worked for 15 years at Dolphin. “It was a very smooth transition and so positive,” she says.

Haw’s family connections to the area are strong. His father is Bill Haw Sr., the owner of the Livestock Building and a figure well ensconced in the West Bottoms history and business world. Haw the younger spent much of his career in Japan where he worked in translation and interpretation after graduating from the University of Kansas. He returned to KU to receive a master’s in Japanese studies. He founded Lexicon, a translation business in San Francisco. He returned to Japan where he eventually led the Japan location of Amazon.

“It felt natural to return,” he explains. “I found the metropolitan area better than when I left. It has better restaurants and a great arts scene. I marveled at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the gallery scene.” This time, he returned with a wife and two children. “I am glad that the children started their lives in Tokyo, but they also need to experience the Midwest. I really returned with an open mind. However, I can’t take all the credit. The stars lined up and I really believe I am the lucky recipient of the hard work of John O’Brien. He was a genius with space and had such a vision and creativity.”

The stars continue to line up for the West Bottoms in general. The upsurge in approving the area includes Amigoni, an urban winery, and Voltaire, an upscale restaurant. “This is an area where we are all trying to bring in the right businesses and people down here. It is an area that has a great energy and in the next 10 years, I expect some incredible things.”

As for Dolphin, Haw retained many of the artists that were represented by Dolphin. “It is about two-thirds from Dolphin and the others have been added over the past year.” With the aesthetics intact, Haw continues showing artists in solo projects as well as a few group shows. “We have a commitment and a responsibility to a partnership with these artists. I want to make sure they have our loyalty and support and that street goes two ways. It’s a collaborative spirit with lots of support and hopefully lots of sales.”

A major lesson Haw learned this past year is that he really doesn’t have to journey outside of the region to find artists. “The level of creativity and the quality doesn’t suffer. I have learned that I am proud of our town. I don’t really need to pull in people. I thought I might have to, but that is not necessary,” he explains.

Now as he starts year two, Haw is examining whether he needs to participate in art fairs or look into satellite space in other Midwest towns such as Chicago and Nashville. “I am at a stage in my career that I don’t want to go halfway. I want to be positive and make a positive impact. I love being here every day. There is the technical aspects and as well as the grunt work and it is all fun. No matter what, we will never sacrifice the integrity.”

Art ranges from $500 to $25,000. “John built something incredible over 20 years and it seemingly defies explanation. It’s a great head start. Sure I will evaluate what we are doing.” During the first year, Haw has presented eight opening dates. “We have offered simultaneous solo shows. As for the coming year, nothing is set in stone. We might try some experimental ideas, perhaps some young artist shows. Perhaps we might look at a Kansas City Art Institute show.”

The other lesson that Haw wants to teach the community is that his lack of formal art training has given him a different take on the art world. “I look at things differently, more from the business side … I try to be alert and aware. Of course, I also rely on Emily and her thread of continuity.”

Haw Contemporary’s philosophy of success can’t be easily articulated, Haw says. “I want to support the artists, encourage dialogue citywide and bring financial success for all of us. I want to see the city become like San Francisco or Tokyo.

studiolambWith the second year underway, the late fall/early winter solo shows feature Peregrine Honig’s show Unicorn and Corey Goering’s primal as I wanna be. Both shows run Oct. 24 to Dec. 6. Goering’s latest collection of paintings and drawings are intense works on paper filled with anxiety and introspective wonder. Viewers are immediately brought into a world informed by childhood drawings and 1970s television graphics, complete with vibrant, unnatural color, energized parades of lines, and intricate patterns of simple imagery filling the space with a restless, exciting pulse.

Corey and sculptureHe has worked with various artist collectives and has been included in group shows around the country including the Flux Factory in New York, the Receiver Gallery in San Francisco, and Big Medium in Austin, Texas. The upcoming show, in October, marks his first ever solo exhibition.

For Honig, Unicorn is her first show with Haw and the first local in about 10 years. She is excited to take her seven large oil paintings and have them displayed in the museum-like setting of Haw. “There is something exciting and terrifying about sharing my works. They are some of my deepest thoughts. My art is the ability to make my thoughts into reality.”

This exhibition will ask viewers to think about the latest trends of selfies. “My work is about permission to glorify the self. I took a huge leap in materials with these oils which cost around $200 a tube of paint, but I really wanted the right pigments for red and yellow. In saying this, I want these works to be seen and used. These donor selfies reference the rich history of patrons commissioning artists to paint them into elaborate and decadent settings. In Honig’s collection each sitter has the power to produce, edit, and digitally publish their own image. With the assistance of a collective hashtag, visitors take part in creating a contemporary, and constantly evolving, book of hours. It would be so great to know these works were in a home and pictures are taken of family members each year. It becomes living history. I would love to see a family grow up in front of the painting.”

There is also that look into transgender culture. A couple of the pieces examine this sense of second puberty in the world of those experienced transgender. “That is where the title of the show comes from … Unicorn. Those who are moving from male to female or female to male are often unique in a place. They may be the only one in a room. It’s almost seemingly mythical. However, I want my works to be part of a conversation.”

DSC_0152 NEWLike Haw, Eddins has a positive attitude toward the future. “It’s our role to continue to represent regional artists and expand their presence with ours on the national level. John built up the clients and Bill is bringing in new clients through his connections. It’s been a good first year.”

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‘You Would Even Say It Glows…’ Coterie Theatre Ready to Offer Musical about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Photos courtesy of Character Arts, LLC. All elements © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.

Photos courtesy of Character Arts, LLC. All elements © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.

The holiday season rouses feelings of nostalgia and for many, the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated films such as The Year Without A Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. However, one that may fly above the rest is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Initially the red-nosed hero was created as a coloring book in 1939 for Montgomery Ward. After the unveiling, there were songs and other publications. By 1964, Rankin and Bass took on the story and created an instant holiday classic.

The iconic red nose remains embedded in the holiday dreams. For the newest generation, the Coterie Theatre offers a fresh take on Rudolph with unique costuming, but the familiar strains of tunes everyone knows and loves, says music director Anthony Edwards.

Anthony Edwards, photo by Tim Scott

Anthony Edwards, photo by Tim Scott

Edwards, like Rudolph, has leadership that many may not know or see, but his work has been seen all over the city. Right now, his musical skills and influences can be felt in The Christmas Carol at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and The Coterie. His mentor, the late Molly Jessup, molded him and “taught him everything to do.” “She instilled in me all the qualities that I can use to help make someone else better. I learned how to examine how people learn and offer up different processes to bring out the best.” He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Theatre Department at UMKC and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.

He’s not just a “music guy,” but a hands-on director who learns about the sets and costumes. “I love when songs have to be introduced. We have run out of spoken words. Songs make it better and I want that to be part of the experience. I want to pull the best performances from the actors and to do that, I have to watch it all. I want to be involved in good storytelling.”

Edwards has worked on other challenging shows which feature animals. The Coterie’s Lucky Duck drew record audiences and even took the cast and crew to New York. “We are animals all the time,” he says. “The actors and actresses get to be reindeer and play reindeer games.”

Like all Coterie shows, there are educational components and other lessons. With Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the show is all about differences and acceptance. “The message, like Rudolph, is timeless,” Edwards says. “The Coterie is all about the kids and what they enjoy. We act down to them as they sit on the floor. We engage them. We see this as a theme that time has not taken care of … the idea of acceptance is still relevant.” In 1964, cultural differences and race riots were part of the American landscape. Edwards brought up the recent tensions in Ferguson as a reason to stage Rudolph.

However, Edwards makes sure the actors and actresses not only understand the moral lessons, but also the vocal lessons. His favorite song from the musical is Clarice’s ballad There’s Always Tomorrow. “She is Rudolph’s support and the song just has a sweetness that speaks to you,” he says.

While Rudolph is the title character, the action and the plot development go nowhere without the guidance of Sam the Snowman. This character serves as the narrator. In the original cartoon, the snowman looked remarkably like the actor and singer Burl Ives. The Coterie’s Sam the Snowman will look like Ron Lackey, local actor and singer.

Ron Lackey

Ron Lackey

Lackey is just coming off on a run at The Coterie where he played E.D Dixon in Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He’s also appeared in Bud, Not Buddy. Ron’s other local credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Spinning Tree Theatre, Evita at Musical Theatre Heritage, and Wizard of Oz and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Columbian Theatre. In addition to being a graphic designer, web designer, and video editor, Lackey is also a licensed minister and former worship pastor of 15 years. Ron sings, plays piano and drums, and now leads an R&B funk band called 2Proud2Beg that performs around Kansas City.

Lackey’s four children, preteens and teens all, encouraged their father to take the role. “They are excited about what Dad is doing and they even told me that I am doing something cool, pun intended.” This will also be Lackey’s first Christmas show since he moved to the metropolitan area six years ago. “I know it’s going to be tough, but with the support of my family, I just have to do the musical.”

Lackey remembers the emotions that float around when he talks about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “The special would come on once a year and the family would gather to watch it on television. When I had kids of my own, I wanted them to love the show as much as I did. Now, every Christmas Eve, we watch Rudolph and a few other Rankin/Bass as part of that tradition.”

Initially, Lackey didn’t expect to audition for the musical until he received a phone call from Jeff Church, The Coterie’s artistic director. “I didn’t think there was a part for me, but Jeff said I would be good for Sam the Snowman. I could see myself in the role so I auditioned, but I still wasn’t sure. However, when I saw Anthony’s vision and got offered the part, I jumped.”

Sam the Snowman sings three iconic tunes: Silver and Gold, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. “The songs are charming and warm. Sam, for being a snowman, has to radiate warmth and create an inviting place.” Lackey doesn’t want to impersonate Ives. “It’s not an impersonation, but rather a realization that what makes Sam so loveable and iconic is this warmth of character. I’m not recreating Ives, but rather the essence.”

Lackey says that as an actor, he has to bring his own abilities and who he is to the role. “My plan is to allow the character to develop and allow what makes him special to reveal itself.”

At the time of the interview, costuming was still in the works, but the appearance of a snowman will be there, Lackey says. “Sam will be there on stage for the people, serving as the singer, storyteller and presence on stage. I am so excited.”

Of the pieces, his favorite is Silver and Gold. “There is something so special about the song. Sam invites everyone in and loves telling the story. It’s going to be a great opportunity to be part of this show. I know we are going to get to introduce some people to Rudolph and for others, it’s going to be reconnecting with that childhood favorite.. I know it’s going to be wonderful to watch the children during the school shows and then the older audiences who come in later on. As an actor, you don’t get this really anywhere else.”

Edwards agrees with Lackey and hopes that the family experience will help stir the Christmas spirit. “A good musical at the Coterie is gratifying. Getting to watch an audience respond is just joyful and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?”

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