Editor’s Letter, May/June 2024

KC Studio editor Alice Thorson, photo by Mark Berndt.

Whew. In early April we learned that the unique character and identity of Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District will not be shattered by the incursion of a baseball stadium.

And in other good news on the local cultural front, Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid’s new Rabbit hOle museum of children’s literature landed a profusely illustrated front page story on the cover of The New York Times April 3 arts section. The museum, an immersive wonderland placing books — not screens and buttons — front and center, is a visionary cultural asset that adds immeasurably to Kansas City’s investment in future generations.

There is also heartening news in Julius Karash’s story on the latest economic impact report from ArtsKC
and Americans for the Arts, tracing the dollars, jobs and attendance generated by the KC area’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. Also, gallery entrepreneurship continues as evidenced in Karash’s column on the new Monarca Art Space in the West Bottoms and Ashley Lindeman’s Arts News report on the street-art-driven Upper Level Gallery located in the now restored East Crossroads building that collapsed in fall 2018.

The May/June issue of KC Studio is filled with milestones across the spectrum of Kansas City’s cultural scene. This summer, for the first time, the Kansas City Symphony will perform in Europe under new music director Matthias Pintscher. The theater community is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Kansas City Repertory Theatre, which meets the moment with a strong commitment under artistic director Stuart Carden, to reach underserved communities in the metropolitan area.

Kemper Museum racks up two milestones this year, marking both its 30th anniversary and the hiring of a new director, Jessica May, who shared her plans and ideas with our writer Brian Hearn.

Kansas City celebrates a first with the appointment of Melissa Ferrer Civil as the city’s Poet Laureate, a post she assumes with a history of searing poems in pursuit of truth and a desire to use poetry to help build a better world. See Brian McTavish’s story at www.kcstudio.org.

A sad milestone comes with the news that Folk Alliance International’s 2024 conference is the last one it will hold in Kansas City. We commemorate the popular event with a vivid photo essay by Dan White and an essay by longtime fan Steve Paul.

Another beloved KC institution is bouncing back from tragedy. A fire in February decimated the historic Warwick Theatre, home to Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. The MET has been a labor of love for artistic director Karen Paisley, who was hit with a double whammy when her dog disappeared a week before the fire. Robert Trussell reports on the happy ending of the dog saga and Paisley’s determination to regroup and rebuild the theater.

Elsewhere in this issue, you can find multiple events to put on your calendar this spring, including a May 4 concert with the Kansas City Symphony by renowned rapper Tech N9ne; Kansas City Lyric Opera’s, “Journey to Valhalla,” a production of powerful moments from Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle; and, at the Nelson-Atkins, the long-awaited screening June 28 of Hugo Ximello-Salido’s documentary film exploring Mexico’s Muxe culture and its unique take on perceptions of gender. If you haven’t yet seen the restored Nelson Memorial Chapel in Mount Washington Cemetery, burial place of William Rockhill Nelson, plan to tour it May 27, when it will be open to the public in celebration of Memorial Day.

Alice Thorson

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

Leave a Reply