Editor’s Letter, May/June 2020

KC Studio editor Alice Thorson, photo by Mark Berndt.

In this time of personal fear and professional peril, Kansas City’s artists and arts organizations have rallied to the challenge.

The good news is that you can’t lock down creativity: Artists continue to paint, musicians continue to play, writers continue pen in hand and actors continue to practice their craft. In the wake of a mind-boggling number of cancellations and closures, many have moved their activities online.

For the past two months, “KC Studio” has been tracking the city’s wealth of online cultural offerings at our resources page. Visit often for information on the latest in online museum and gallery tours, theater and music performances and more. We are also posting schedule changes and virtual events on our Facebook page and Twitter.

Among notable disruptions was the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey decision to change its annual fundraising gala to a virtual gala, which took place May 2 and featured performances by Ailey II and KCFAA students.

In another break from tradition, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Beyond Bounds: Envision” event planned for April 25 has been “re-envisioned” as an online auction to take place in mid-September. In the meantime, the museum plans to install the 180 works in the auction as a temporary exhibition, beginning in June and continuing through mid-September.

The current issue of “KC Studio” went to press amid much uncertainty about when live events will resume and museums will be able to reopen their doors. As a result, we have moved our regular More to See calendar pages online, in order to be able to quickly respond to cancellations and new event postings.

We have postponed the Artist Pages feature we had planned for May/June as well as Libby Hanssen’s Concert to Come column. Hanssen advanced Owen/Cox Dance Group’s planned June 13 “aRound & aRound” performance, which will be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 threat. In the meantime, don’t miss her report on “Survival Strategies for Music Buffs in the Time of COVID-19.”

Despite all the disruption, readers will find plenty of people and projects to get excited about in the pages of our May/June issue. They include Bob Trussell’s report on the upcoming season at KCRep. (Don’t miss more theater news from Trussell, including a new partnership between Fishtank and The Living Room.) Also not to be missed is Robert Butler’s story on a new documentary in the works about composer and Kansas City native Virgil Thomson, which includes a roster of area talent, from filmmaker Aimee Larrabee to performances by many KC musicians. Highlights of this issue’s visual arts coverage include Brian Hearn’s stories on major exhibits at the Spencer Museum of Art and the Wichita Art Museum and Harold Smith’s interview with art collector Dwight Smith, known for his inclusive collecting ethic.

When we emerge from this crisis, it is expected that the financial impact on our city’s arts organizations will be considerable. In coming issues, “KC Studio” will examine that impact in depth and continue to bring readers the good news about all the engaging and innovative projects in the works in our cultural community.

About The Author: 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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