Editor’s Letter, November/December 2022

KC Studio editor Alice Thorson, photo by Mark Berndt.

Now well underway, the fall arts season is proving to be an exciting showcase for Kansas City talent. At H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, an exhibit through Dec. 10 of new works by Charlotte Street’s latest visual artist fellows speaks to our times with quiet strength. The handsomely installed exhibit fills three galleries with works by Andrew McIlvaine, Johanna Winters and Harold Smith Jr., who recently received news that he is the winner of a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation award.

Smith is also well known as a contributing writer to “KC Studio,” and the current issue features his profile of Amber “Flutienastiness” Underwood. Underwood, in addition to her talents as a performer, has become a jazz ambassador for Kansas City, most recently at UNESCO’s North American Creative Cities Forum in Querétaro, Mexico. Underwood is a force, as reflected in “KC Studio” photographer Jim Barcus’ stirring image of the artist on our November/December cover.

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov has brought credit to what he considers his “second hometown” since winning the grand prize at the 2009 London International Piano Competition. He was then a student at Park University’s International Center for Music, where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch. Thanksgiving weekend brings an opportunity for Kansas City music lovers to catch up with the now world-renowned pianist, when he ascends the Kauffman Center’s Helzberg Hall stage to perform with the Kansas City Symphony.

The recent achievements of local authors also redound to Kansas City’s credit. Noted author and regular “KC Studio” columnist Steve Paul was named the Winner of the 2022 Society of Midland Authors Award for Biography for his “Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell,” which has recently become available in paperback.

In the current issue Robert Trussell revisits the newly published trilogy of plays by Kansas City actor and playwright Lewis Morrow, whose “Black Matters: Lewis Morrow Plays” was published in September under the Methuen Drama imprint of Bloombury Publishing. Anyone who has seen one or all three of the plays — “Baybra’s Tulips,” “Begetters” and “Mother/son” — at KC Melting Pot Theatre cannot but have been impressed by their power and insight. This is work that deserves to enter the American canon and be seen in venues well beyond Kansas City.

Another literary achievement of note is the publication of Andrew Michael Johnson’s second book, “The Thread,” which receives a glowing review by Calvin Wilson in the current issue. Johnson, who has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Vermont Studio Center residency, is currently a resident writer at Charlotte Street.

Fall brought several new hires in leadership posts, and all, as it happens, are women. See our “Arts in Brief” section to meet the new faces at Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City Women’s Chorus, Midwest Trust Center and the Edwin Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University.

Congratulations are also due Kansas City artist Kathy Liao, recipient of the 21c Kansas City Art Artadia Award, and sculptor Tom Corbin, whose statue of President Harry S. Truman commissioned by the Truman Library Institute in Independence was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in September.

Corbin’s statue joins another piece from the region that was recently added to the National Statuary Hall Collection: a bronze statue of Kansas-born aviator Amelia Earhart. In September, a “twin” of the piece was installed at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Atchison, Kansas.

CategoriesKC Studio
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