Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience Will Debut with Imaginative Force

Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience Will Debut with Imaginative Force

Nov 27, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Today, the City of Kansas City, Mo. announced the official launch and call for artists to participate in an innovative, new two-month arts event called Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience - an exciting partnership between the City and local philanthropic and community arts leaders.

Diversity and unity will ignite when experience, exhibition and expressive language collide to celebrate the next and newest wave of Kansas City's commitment to art with Open Spaces. 60 days of city-wide visual, contemporary and performance art debuts on a scale previously unseen in Kansas City. Anchored in Swope Park, an Arts Village will enable audiences to experience cutting-edge performances, while strategic City collaborations offer artists an endless expanse of exhibition opportunity. Open Spaces will radiate across the city as it launches a hybrid of culture, mixed-media installations and breakthrough performance.

Open Spaces 2018 will feature art installations in open spaces across Kansas City, showcasing the city’s famed parks and boulevards, as well as urban spaces and existing arts and cultural venues. Art experiences will include visual art and performances created by local, national and international artists – all curated by internationally-recognized artistic director Dan Cameron.

"I firmly believe that Open Spaces can bring together the people of Kansas City and the surrounding region in a way that can put our city on the map as an arts and culture center," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. "The arts have the power to capture our past, challenge the present and inspire our future. I am encouraged by the outstanding artistic talent our city has to offer and the possibilities this event could bring for our future."

The event will run Aug. 25 – Oct. 28, 2018, with a hub of artistic activity in Kansas City's largest park, Swope Park and a network of additional venues throughout Kansas City. Attendees can expect a wide variety of visual and performing art experiences over the course of the two months.

Open Spaces 2018 is a collaboration between the City's Office of Culture and Creative Services and a private arts initiative led by Kansas City philanthropist Scott Francis, to create an event that highlights Kansas City's arts, culture and creativity, one of 10 goals included in the City’s Arts Convergence Plan, adopted by Mayor James and City Council in 2013.

The public-private partnership includes the City of Kansas City, Mo., a Founders Circle of large donors and arts leaders, artistic director Dan Cameron, KC Creates and O’Neill Marketing & Event Management. Fundraising efforts are well underway led by Francis, toward an overall goal of $3.5 million.

Years of discussion and planning among community art leaders, artists, civic leaders, private donors and foundations, along with the visionary dedication of Francis and Mayor James, are credited for bringing Open Spaces to life.

Cameron, who was the founder and Artistic Director of the Prospect New Orleans triennial, which opened its 4th edition on Nov. 17, has organized numerous biennials and exhibitions at museums in New York, Madrid, Moscow, Istanbul, Vienna, Beijing and Sao Paulo, among others. Last year, nearly 150,000 visitors viewed installations at 14 historic venues as part of Impermanencia, Cameron’s XIII Bienal de Cuenca in Ecuador, more than quadrupling attendance from the previous edition.

"Open Spaces 2018 should resonate with Kansas City's heritage as both the cradle of modern jazz and the present-day site of unprecedented technological innovation," said Cameron. "The title evokes the broad plains of the American Midwest, of which Kansas City has long been a metropolitan hub. Swope Park will serve as a natural, open-air environment that will celebrate a diverse range of artistic practices, and help move our collective conversations about heritage and creativity forward, toward greater mutual understanding and respect as a community."

The Office of Culture and Creative Services contracted with KC Creates to provide overall coordination of the project and oversee fiscal management. KC Creates’ mission is to boost the Kansas City economy by producing educational, cultural, accessible and affordable events that connect artists with audiences, businesses and civic organizations across the region.

About Open Spaces 2018
Open Spaces 2018: A Kansas City Arts Experience is a two-month multi-platform arts event that aims to attract cultural visitors and bring significant visibility to Kansas City. The event showcases renowned local, national and international artists, with a hub of activity in Swope Park and a network of additional venues extending throughout Kansas City. Open Spaces 2018 is led by internationally-recognized curator Dan Cameron and backed by a public-private partnership that includes the City of Kansas City, Mo., KC Creates and a Founders Circle collaboration of large donors and arts leaders. For more information, visit

About City of KCMO Office of Culture and Creative Services
The Office of Culture and Creative Services (OCCS) was established to lead cultural development efforts for the City of Kansas City, Missouri in 2015. The mission of the Office is to serve Kansas City residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture and creativity and by leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and cultural vitality for its citizens.