This Week in Open Spaces: Sept 25 – 30

Sep 25, 2018


9/27 Museum Hotel 21c Salon, Navigating Public and Social Spaces

This week’s Open Spaces Salon features a panel discussion with Open Spaces artists Sike Styles, Anthony Marcos Rea, Randy Regier and Jillian Youngbird, moderated by Open Spaces Artistic Director Dan Cameron. Join the talk about how contemporary artists respond to our built environment, Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


9/29 The Saturday Afternoon Music Lineup in the Swope Park Village

Back by popular demand, Amado Espinoza and Karen Lisondra bring their special Andean sound to the Village, playing instruments made from junkyard finds. The Junkyard Orchestra plays at 1:30 p.m. followed at 3 p.m. by the jazz-dance music of BCR, reconvening their well-seasoned group for a rare Open Spaces performance. Finally, the great improviser and artistic pioneer, vocalist Lonney Holley, performs with his band at 4:30 p.m.

 9/29 Lonnie Holley Concert. Visionary, self-taught artist and musician

A pure improviser, Lonnie Holley makes every performance unique. His inimitable voice and inspired style are deeply rooted in blues, jazz, gospel, folk and rock traditions. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a national treasure: Lonnie Holley performs Saturday, Sept. 29, at 4:30 p.m. in the Open Spaces Village at Swope Park.

9/29 and every Saturday. Walking tours with Blue River Road Investigators

Open Spaces artists Trey Hock and Brent Jackson continue their investigation of the Blue River Road’s unsanctioned space, a three quarter mile stretch blocked to automobile traffic that lies just south of Bannister Road. Join the artistic creators of Blue River Road Investigators for a free walking tour each Saturday at 4 p.m. Get details on the Events Schedule at or on the Open Spaces app.

9/29 Triangle Learning Program: Bus Tour of Artworks and Creative Movement Workshop with Harlan Brownlee

On Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m., Kansas City’s renowned creative movement expert Harlan Brownlee offers an opportunity to learn about Open Spaces artworks by connecting mind and body. A bus will guide participants to Open Spaces art installations and return them to the Southeast Community Center for an art-interpretive session of creative movement. Be sure to register for this free program at the Events Schedule at or the Performance Schedule on the Open Spaces app.

9/29 Sydney Pener, Teen Metals Workshop

Teens are invited to cast molten metal and create body art in Sydney Pener’s weekly Gravity Casting and Metalsmithing workshops. People 13 to 18 can register for the free Open Spaces workshops at the Events Schedule on the Open Spaces app or at Workshops are Saturdays at 1:30 p.m.


9/30 Kansas City Rumba Collective, Village Performance

The Kansas City Rumba Collective has led the local Cuban music scene for decades, rousing audiences with their exciting brand of Rumba, a Caribbean dance music from Spanish and African traditions. In honor of their founder, they are playing The Romero-Diaz Project for four Open Spaces weekend performances, including this Sunday, Sept. 30, at 12:30

p.m. on the Village Stage.

9/30 Free Etching Prints in the Park

Maybe the 17th century was the great age of etching, but Kansas City’s Trey Morgan, with his portable etching press, lets us engage the living artistic tradition of handmade prints. From noon to 3 p.m. each Sunday in the Village, Mr. Morgan prints his etchings on demand, free, for attendees of all ages.

9/30 Mucca Pazza, Village Performance

When serious musicianship meets a fantastic sense of the absurd, the outcome is something like Mucca Pazza. The mismatched marching band performances sweep people up in beautifully expressive silliness with a swinging, marching beat. The Chicago-based Mucca Pazza comes to the Village stage this Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30, at 4 p.m.

9/30 Kids’ Corner Village Workshops

Get the kids out-of-doors and into Open Spaces on Sundays through October! Every Sunday afternoon the Swope Park Village hosts a different all-ages arts workshop, free. This week, local artist Amanda Burkhart leads artists of all ages in Leaf Collage at 3 p.m.

Exploring Open Spaces

 9/29 4:30 p.m. Lonnie Holley Quintet performs improvisational music

Lonnie Holley is a legend. When he sings and plays with his quintet this weekend in Swope Park, he will bring Kansas City the spontaneous and passionate improvisations that have made his artistry a national treasure. Holley performs straight from the heart and in the moment. His unique style conveys a remarkable and singular life experience through an organic mix of musical traditions. Born the seventh of 27 children in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1950, Lonnie Holley survived as a child on very simple means and hard work, affected by constant displacements and hardship. By his late 20s, however, he had devoted himself to acts of artistic improvisation, and today, his visual art is collected in major U.S. museums and his musical performances are in high demand. He made his first professional recording at age 62. No two Lonnie Holley performances are the same, but in each, his inimitable voice and improvisational style uplift people. Don’t miss the chance to hear the incomparable artistic gift of Lonnie Holley   Saturday, Sept. 29, at 4:30 p.m. in the Open Spaces Village at Swope Park.

Randy Regier Dreams of Flight is an ongoing Open Spaces Exhibition spanning three sites, with special presentations in October

Kansas City-based artist Randy Regier loves a good story, one whose inner workings extend into history to reveal how individuals react to their moment in the world. When he loves a story enough, Regier sets out to make it real, meticulously creating many objects and collecting many more to fashion that story’s setting. That world might not be entirely true, but Regier certainly makes it real, and the question, “Is it true or is it real?” is central to his recent project for Open Spaces. Randy Regier has created a world for the story of a toy. This toy is the central figure of his multifaceted artwork, Dreams of Flight, born in the history of the Cold War, when the ideas, longings and fears of individuals reacted to the global nuclear threat. Open Spaces presents Regier’s real but maybe not-altogether-true toy and its elaborate world, in three separate spaces: The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, the Kansas City Art Institute Crossroads Gallery, and the front window of River Market Antiques. Visit the Dreams of Flight sites on your own, throughout Open Spaces, or contact the Toy Museum to learn about the artist’s Oct. 19 lecture, as well as trolley car tours of all three sites, led by a wonderful storyteller: the real and inimitable Randy Regier.

Triangle Learning Programs for Open Spaces. Next up: a bus tour and creative movement workshop with Harlan Brownlee.

What just happened: On Sept. 15, workshop participants met with artists at the Lakeside Nature Center for an experience in percussion and nature sounds. Arx duo, a nationally renowned classical percussion ensemble, and Open Spaces Exhibition artist Karen McCoy joined creative forces for the program. McCoy introduced participants to her signature ear trumpets that amplify and “frame” ambient sounds. These were used indoors and out. Arx duo performed contemporary percussion compositions using shakers, blocks, drums and bells in the workshop hall and the Fox Hollow Creek bed. Activities alternated from listening to nature, listening to percussion, and experimenting with focused perception to create new sounds.

A second indoor-outdoor, collaborative workshop took place Saturday, Sept. 22, when artist Megan Gallant led discoveries in visual focus and magnification, inspired again, by McCoy’s Sound and Sight Walks. Triangle Learning participants made artworks, practicing techniques for focusing on details in nature.

Coming this week: If you missed those Triangle Learning experiences, don’t miss the next one: a bus tour of Open Spaces artworks paired with a workshop in creative movement. Harlan Brownlee, executive director of Kansas City’s Friends of Alvin Ailey, publishes, teaches and consults widely on arts-based education and engages scores of students each year in learning through creative movement. On Sept. 29, he offers two free workshops in Swope Park, in which participants will tour Open Spaces art installations by bus, and then interpret them through movement. This is an opportunity to experience great artworks starting from any skill level. Learn more and register for Triangle Learning Contemporary Art Programs for Open Spaces, at

Suggested Route for Visitors

 Four Open Spaces artworks in the historic 18th and Vine District create a collective tribute to the neighborhood’s cultural inheritance.

Four Open Spaces artworks by five international artists honor the cultural legacy of the 18th and Vine District, and Lucia Koch and Domenico Lancellotti’s Dynamo! installation is a brilliant point of entry for touring them. A useful parking spot for visitors is the parking area just behind Dynamo!, accessible just south of 18th Street off Highland Avenue. Descend the steps from the north end of that parking area into Koch and Lancelotti’s open air, sound and color celebration.

Brazilian visual artist Lucia Koch co-designed Dynamo! with musician Domenico Lancellotti to bring the 18th and Vine District a joyfully affirmative statement on its heritage. In an open lot next door to 1715 18th Street, Dynamo! transforms sunshine into a dance of color: overhead rows of rectangular lenses cast blue, orange, grey and yellow shades on the graveled ground. The rows of suspended rectangles echo the blue and grey gridwork that adorns the façade next door, where The Call newspaper has had its home for nearly a century. The Call has steadily

reported the enterprises and achievements of Kansas City’s Black communities, lifting them up with decades of factual reporting. With remarkable insight, Koch and Lancellotti’s work reflects the newspaper’s sense of order, clarity and positive outlook. As Dynamo!’s colors spill onto 18th Street, musical “pods” or sound stations in the lot play on our notions of inside and outside spaces. Five circles of audio speakers, arranged on the ground throughout the revitalized lot, play Lancellotti’s heartening rhythms and jazzy riffs, and these pleasantly overlap, recalling a time when music poured from many jazz halls on 18th Street.

Steps away, on the west facing wall of the Boone Theater over Highland Avenue, neon letters spell out, in a replica of Charlie Parker’s script, a note he wrote to his wife: I adore your every move — Bird. With this public presentation of a personal object from the Parker archive, Los Angeles artist Nikita Gale lets resonate the passion we know well in Bird’s music.

Continuing up Highland Avenue just a half block, the homage to Charlie Parker continues in Jamaican born, New York based sculptor Nari Ward’s Claim, a memorial installed on the fence of the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Parker’s home on nearby Olive Street could have been a historic landmark in the neighborhood but it was razed half a century ago. Laying claim to Bird’s legacy, Ward’s memorial box displays the lost home’s lot identification, -5-130-9, in foot-high numbers. The white box where the numbers are printed lights up at night to reveal a memorial to the bebop genius, while an elaborately decorated white casting of a replica of his saxophone hovers like an angel in the catalpa tree overhead.

Walk back down Highland to 18th Street and cross over to the Jazz Museum. In a gallery just inside the lobby stands Berlin-based artist Nevin Aladağ’s extravagant, large-scale sculpture that combines over a dozen musical instruments into one art object called Resonator, to be played by local musicians on special occasions throughout Open Spaces. Professional instrument makers added to the excellent craftsmanship of local fabricator April Pugh of Ingrain Studios for the fine fabrication of Aladağ’s remarkable Resonator design.

Together, Dynamo!, I Adore Your Every Move, Claim and Resonator play an international tribute to Kansas City’s brilliant 18th and Vine heritage. Check the Jazz Museum’s hours of operation to plan your 18th and Vine, Open Spaces experience.