KC+ Connect: The Big Event


KC+ Connect kicks off the inaugural gallery series with the May 2 artist reception and exhibition at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. Before the first event, Marketing and Event Coordinator Ashley Anders organized the 40 participating artists into meet and greets and gallery visits.

During the months of February and March, the 40 artists spent time getting to know each other and networking. These talks were meant to generate conversation and collaboration. The two Meet and Greets took place at the City Ice Arts where the concept for KC+ Connect was born more than two years ago as Gorilla Events.

Dave Dumay, owner of the City Ice Arts building, does a great job supporting the art community in Kansas City. He is always opening his doors to initiatives such as KC+ Connect. “I am pleased to see KC+ Connect pick up and run with the Gorilla Event format.  It’s such a joy to witness the concept expand,” he says. “The importance of networking in the art community is so very essential. And I would like to see more opportunities for artists and businesses to unite and see partnerships form.”

KC Connect’s Curator and Coordinator Ashley Anders comments on the Meet and Greets, “I was overwhelmingly impressed with the amount of energy the group had as a whole as well as in their collaborative exhibition groups. Everyone had a chance to introduce themselves, talk about their work and comment on how they saw a program like KC+ Connect being beneficial to their practice,” she says. “It is vital artists and entrepreneurs have a chance to practice presenting themselves in front of a group. Similar to an elevator speech, artists and creative entrepreneurs need to know how to articulate their work to perspective buyers, clients, or supporters.”

This practice will continue throughout the year to prepare each artist and entrepreneur for a one-minute introduction at their respective Network Gatherings scheduled from 4p.m.-6 p.m. before each First Friday.

After the exhibition groups met and discussed their interests, gallery visits were scheduled. It was an opportunity for the artists to see the space together and work on how they plan to collaborate and coordinate the space. “It is interesting to see how each group is progressing so organically different,” Anders says.  “The dynamic of each show has an individual way of functioning. For example, our first set of featured artists for May already know the work they will show so it was easy for me as a curator to see how each artist fits in the space. Contrast to our first show, the October exhibition at Outpost Worldwide will have a completely different process. October’s group will be taking on a more collaborative direction. They are more interested in learning what each artist has to offer and how they can seamlessly present themselves throughout the space.”

Another interesting connection that has been made is the addition of Mood Food, founded by Jamie Ward. She will be catering all the events and partnering with Door-to-Door Organics to bring in organic dishes, created from unique recipes – just right for a First Friday treat.

“We hope to see you out for the upcoming First Fridays. Come and see what we have been working on at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in May and Weinberger Fine Arts in June,” Anders says.

CategoriesKC Studio
KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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