I had the good fortune to work last weekend in this heartland city that is thriving in the midst of an amazing renaissance. Over the course of three days, we saw the rich arts district, built on the foundation of a beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts surrounded by artists living and working in older and historic buildings. Incredible historic homes – like the one at the top of the post – were opened to us so we could visit the treasures along the city’s famous boulevards. In this particular home, the retractable roof over the courtyard was opened for songs (by the Kansas City Chorale) and dinner.
There is a great deal to highlight, but because my time is limited I’m going to post a few pictures to give you a flavor of the weekend. Do yourself a favor – find a long weekend to visit this thriving, alive city.
We began our visit focusing on J.C. Nichols’ landmark Country Club Plaza, the nation’s first shopping center designed to accommodate the automobile. Our overview included this panoramic view.
The relatively new home of the Kansas City Ballet – located in the re-purposed historic power house of Union Station – was a marvel to behold. The light that came into the studios highlighted the beautiful space and the wonderful architectural details. We were able to sit for a bit and watch a rehearsal in the main studio.
Later that day we stopped in to hear a rehearsal of the Kansas City Symphony in the wonderful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This Moshe Safdie-designed complex is stunning – inside and out. The acoustics are amazing (the same acoustician who did Disney Hall in LA). And the views of the city cry out for a panorama. My shots were all taken with my iPhone on a rather gray day. Do yourself a favor and Google the Center and click through the images. You’ll be as amazed as I was. (And for those near KC, I noticed that Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer are playing on Thursday, September 25th! How often do you get to hear two MacArthur Genius Grant winners play together on stage?)
This city is filled to the brim with arts and cultural center, one of the best known being the Nelson Atkins Museum, with its famous shuttlecocks.
The Thinker always makes me think of Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs!
We saw so much more during the weekend, but I hope this whets the appetite. I hadn’t been to KC in about five years, and I was astonished at the vibrancy one sees throughout downtown. Well worth the visit.
More to come…