This post is going to be all about art since this week I had two wonderful fun art experiences. One of them was at a place I didn't know existed so I definitely want to share because it was awesome and it's right here in Kansas City! Through the organization Arts Alive I attended an event at the Belger Crane Yard Studios. It is located on the east side of downtown overlooking the Belger Crane Yard, and is a very cool warehouse that houses 50 artist studios and a lovely display/event space.
Arts Alive is an organization composed of people who love the arts and like to go to new places and hang out with fun people. They have one event a month and it's first come first serve when the event opens as far as buying your ticket to attend. There is usually some type of art event which includes a light meal and cocktails followed by some kind of music or theater event. Everything I've attended has been great and I've gotten to find out about things I had no knowledge existed here - like the Belger Crane Yard Studios.
The studio is open to the public Weds - Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and on First Fridays from 10 AM to 9 PM. I picked up the schedule of specials exhibits and will definitely plan on a return visit!
The second floor of the studio is home to the Lawrence Lithography Workshop and we got to tour that as well. The owner Michael Sims, a master printer was available to answer questions and explain what makes this facility so unique. To date they have worked with over 100 artists from across the United States because they do the printing the original way which is on stone blocks.
Next we headed over to the American Jazz Museum for part 2 of our evening. Kansas City is well known for it's contributions to jazz and the museum is located at 18th and Vine. It shares a lobby with The Negro Leagues Museum which is another fantastic place to visit. Attached to the Jazz Museum is a famous music venue called The Blue Note. Before we went in we got to see a special art exhibit on display called Spectrum - Autism, Art & Music by the artist Juliette Hemingway. Her son is autistic so they worked together on many of the pieces. The colors are incredibly vibrant and I thought it was quite striking.
We headed into The Blue Note and heard some excellent Latin jazz! Also got salsa lessons!
It was a fun night and a great way to see more of what Kansas City offers!
My next art event for the week was attending a preview of the new Bloch Galleries at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Since I volunteer at the museum I have been somewhat in the know about what an amazing addition to the museum this would be - but the reality far exceeded my high expectations. Henry Bloch who lives in KC is the founder of H&R Block. He and his wife Marion were avid art collectors primarily of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, and owned one of the few outstanding collections still in private hands. Originally they planned to donate their extensive collection to the museum upon their deaths, but in 2015 decided why wait! They donated their collection along with 12 million dollars to redesign the European wing of the museum, and for the past 15 months that section has been undergoing that renovation.
I was invited to attend a reception and see the galleries so of course I had to make time for that! The event was wonderful because it was for all the people that in even some small way had contributed to this happening - so volunteers, docents, staff, engineers, construction workers etc. They had a lovely reception with wonderful food, drinks and speeches from the curators and board of directors. The galleries are truly state of the art and all the technicians who made it possible were there for us to chat with and walk us through it all.
They asked everyone to sign this bench to symbolize our contributions. They will be covered with a cushion but I'll always know exactly where I signed!
The Blochs donated 30 paintings which is just incredible! They also donated the frames of which many are valued at over $100,000 each. The new galleries now display those works along with the other pieces the museum already owned.
You can download a free ap called Detour and it will automatically tell you about the piece of art as you stand in front of it. You can also use the ap to take a tour of the galleries which is pretty cool. If you live in Kansas City I highly recommend making a trip to the Nelson post March 11th, and if you don't live here and you like the Impressionists you should plan a trip here! You will not be disappointed and you can get some good barbecue too!
You may be asking yourself - I thought this was a travel blog?? If you have read about any of my travel then you know I love going to museums and seeing art - although not even close to being an expert. But my next post will definitely be about travel as I have a great trip right around the corner! Time to start packing so please check back again soon!