The Kansas City Museum has a mission to preserve, interpret, and celebrate Kansas City through collections, exhibitions, and bold programs that reflect the City’s evolution and spirit, and engage visitors in unfolding stories about Kansas City’s vibrant history, cultural heritage, and pride. The vision of the Museum is to be a hub of learning, creativity, and collaboration where individuals and communities innovate and inspire engagement and civic unity.
One of the ways the Kansas City Museum fulfills its mission and vision is through the involvement of artists in the design and development of programs and experiences that examine Kansas City’s past, present, and future. For example, International Architects Atelier—the primary, lead architecture firm for the Museum’s renovation project—has been working with local artists on the architectural design and visitor experience planning for the Museum, and beginning in early 2018, artists will work with Museum staff, project architects, museum designers, and local historians, curators, and educators on the development of content for the Museum’s interpretive exhibitions, public programs, and educational offerings. In particular, the Museum aims to create content that invites inquiry and conversation, and exhibition spaces that foster respectful interaction and participatory learning.
HEART of the City (History Embraces Art) is an initiative that features new works of art by local artists (visual, performing, literary, media, and multidisciplinary) that explore Kansas City’s history, resonate with the Museum’s collection, and that examine contemporary, sociocultural issues, and dynamics that impact Kansas Citians. Artists may access the Museum’s collection and collaborate with Museum staff and the community to produce works that are in alignment with and enrich their artistic discipline and studio practice. In addition, the Museum encourages artists to take a deep dive into the heart and core of Kansas City’s past, present, and future to engender dialogue-driven narratives that bring to light opportunities for discourse, equity, agency, and ultimately civic unity.
HEART of the City projects include:
Imprints & Traces
Watch video here
Over the past three years, the Kansas City Museum has been participating in conversations with local residents and stakeholders about its role and responsibility as a history museum to be a unifying force in bringing Kansas Citians together through collaborative efforts that promote community-driven programming and social justice, with the goal of affecting positive, systemic social change. Specific questions have surfaced about how the Museum will present exhibitions and programs that accurately, inclusively, respectfully, and productively address experiences of inequity, discrimination, and oppression that are a part of Kansas City’s past and present. With exhibition design and development on the horizon of the Museum’s restoration and renovation project, the Museum collaborated with Cat Mahari to lay a foundation for the journey ahead.
The Kansas City Museum is located on the east side of Kansas City in the Historic Northeast, which remains the most culturally diverse neighborhood in the City. The Kansas City Museum has been a public museum since 1940 and for 77 years has attracted thousands of visitors from a variety of backgrounds and experiences with myriad ideas, beliefs, aspirations, traditions, intentions, perspectives, biases, and more. They have left their physical and emotional imprints on the interiors; they have left traces of themselves—hands touching railings, footsteps traversing stairs, conversations echoing from room to room, thoughts filling the spaces.
Imprints & Traces centers on the embodied narrative of two empathic researches, Krumpers Gool and Vendetta from AfroFuture, who grapple with encountering embedded traces of racism, anti-blackness, capitalism, classism, and gender disparity. Upon bearing witness to their findings, and as an agreed solution to their mission, they layer the Museum site with the forces of healing deconstruction and affirmation.
Imprints & Traces is directed by Cat Mahari in collaboration with Celestial Pictures.
Cat Mahari creates work with personal and collective transformational possibilities. She is the founder and director of 31st&Brklyn, a platform for performance art and community engagement.
In 2017 Ms. Mahari received a Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performance Artist Fellow, won Jit Vs House, House 1 v1 in Detroit, MI; and premiered the solo mixtape series Violent/Break: Vol II, a semi-autobiographic video projection mapping performance that explores ontology of violence, fractures and transcendence.
She is a 2x SEARCH grant awardee, 2008 Fulbright/Gilman Scholar, for her performance-as-research series on inter-connectivity between Merce Cunningham and breaking, presented at University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, as part of the SEARCH Symposium (2007, 2009). The series explored street dance, chance procedure, film and movement technologies. She received a KCArts Inspiration Award for the interdisciplinary work The Projects (2010), which drew on the heterogeneity of city life at a business mall. The solo mixtape series Violent/Break premiered in London at the Brink Festival (2011). Vol I has been shown in London, Carei, and Toronto. Vol II received 2016 Lighton International Artist Exchange funding for travel and study Chen tai chi chuan in China.
She is a recipient of St. Louis Regional Arts Commission Artist Support Grant (2013) and the Andy Warhol Rocket Grant (2016) for The Floor, a site-specific performance and trans media study into traditions of partnered dance, Great Black Migration of WWII, and folk lore. The BAM! series began with Expectation of Violence/Rites due Spring: B-BAM! (2015) an immersive multi-media performance work, focusing on Blackness, America, and violence in Kansas City. Ms. Mahari, is a member of Gool, a Krump family, and Gateway City Breakers, a hip hop crew. She has a BFA in dance from UMKC, and a MA in Performance, Practice, and Research from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
was on View in 2017
Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall*
3218 Gladstone Blvd., KCMO 64123
Gilded Attrition was an outdoor, site-specific installation by Ari Fish as part of the Charlotte Street Foundation’s 20th anniversary event, Every Street Is Charlotte Street.
Gilded Attrition was located on the south-facing grounds of the Kansas City Museum and viewable from the street. In a nod to Native American “bent trees” or “pointer trees,” branches of the trees that flank the entrance of the Museum and point toward the Missouri River were gilded in copper-colored aluminum foil much like the slow growth of moss. This installation was a memorandum to the current residents of Kansas City and of the peoples that traversed the land centuries ago where the Museum now resides.
*The Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall is closed for construction; however, the installation was viewable from the sidewalk.
CUT/PASTE was a site-specific installation by Madeline Gallucci as part of the Charlotte Street Foundation’s 20th anniversary event, Every Street Is Charlotte Street.
Inspired by the Kansas City Museum’s collection of “crazy quilts” from the 1880’s, CUT/PASTE referenced the multitude of colors and textures combined together to create a new whole. Gallucci re-imagined the “crazy quilt” from object to image and reinterpreted it through her frenzied mark-making and painted patterns.