Editor’s Letter, July/August 2018

KC Studio editor Alice Thorson, photo by Mark Berndt.

The arts are now in summer mode. As the Ballet, the Symphony and the Opera take a much-needed break to recharge for next year, many cultural offerings move outdoors and strike a note of informality. How about the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s “Puppies & Pints” mixer, where guests were invited to bring their dogs to mingle on the museum’s East Sculpture Terrace?

The May event is just one example of the way galleries and museums are using cute pets and other animals to attract visitors, detailed in our story by Brian McTavish, page 46. As gallery owner Sherry Leedy observes, “It’s . . . about creating an environment where people feel comfortable.”

Readers will find a wealth of great summer music, art, dance and theater in the current issue of “KC Studio.” The American Guild of Organists Convention, July 2 to 6, leads the way, with a full schedule of recitals and concerts highlighting extraordinary organs around the city. Scott Cantrell, former classical music critic for “The Kansas City Star,” who is now at “The Dallas Morning News,” gives a tour, page 58.

Another summer highlight is the KC Fringe Festival, July 19 to 29, now in its 14th season. Theater critic, Bob Trussell, discusses the festival’s important role as an incubator for the city’s theater scene, page 52.

The Kansas City Dance Festival is back July 14 to 21, with performances of cutting-edge choreography by classically trained dancers at Quixotic Black Box and the Gem Theater.

Also, in the month of July, music lovers can once again enjoy a series of Summerfest Concerts, held on Saturdays at UMKC’s White Recital Hall and on Sundays at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. This year’s theme is “The Art and Soul of Chamber Music.”

Music at the Cathedrals picks up the baton in August with Sunday concerts at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Talented guitarist Beau Bledsoe is also front and center in the month of August. His country act, Slim Hanson & The Poor Choices, will perform Aug. 17 at The Colonnade at Concourse Park as part of the SummerDusk Concert Series; Bledsoe will also be part of Ensemble Ibérica’s Aug. 20 “A Night in Havana” concert at Musical Theater Heritage. (For Dance Festival and concert details, see More to See, page 124.)

As exhibits go, you can’t beat the 2018 Kansas City Flatfile and Digitalfile exhibit at the Kansas City Art Institute’s H&R Block Artspace. This year’s installment of the popular biennial show features works by more than 200 Kansas City artists, housed in flatfiles stacked with folders of work that viewers can remove and peruse at their leisure. And if you fall in love with something, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to purchase it.

Get a sneak peek at some of the great selections in the current issue’s Artist Pages, page 84.

And if you’re looking for a road trip, The Pulitzer Arts Foundation has a not-to-be-missed four-decade retrospective of leading international artist Mona Hatoum, reviewed in this issue by our cultural critic from St. Louis, Calvin Wilson, page 64.

As summer winds down, fall ramps up with Open Spaces, a citywide festival of visual and performing arts featuring local, national and international artists, opening Aug. 25.

About The Author: Alice Thorson

Alice Thorson

Alice Thorson is the editor of KC Studio. She has written about the visual arts for numerous publications locally and nationally.

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