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5 Things To See And Listen To In Lawrence And Kansas City Before The Solar Eclipse

courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This Monday, August 21, the moon will cover the sun in a rare total solar eclipse across a 70-mile path of the United States.

The eclipse starts at 11:40 a.m. and reaches totality around 1:06 p.m. in parts of Kansas and Missouri. 

Dozens of watch parties are scheduled in and around the Kansas City area, including performances with a nod to the celestial event like MoonDrop Circus, the aerial acrobatics troupe, or yoga with Sun Salutations at the City Market. And there are playlists, like this one from NPR, of music to enjoy during the eclipse. 

Here's how artists in our area have been inspired by the imminent eclipse. 

RELATED: As Kansas City Prepares For The Solar Eclipse: Muralists Make More Viewing Opportunities

In Lawrence, Kansas: 

Science, from superconductivity to the elements to pi, has been an ongoing theme for the Lawrence-based Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. Their latest album, I Miss Pluto, is slated for a September release. 

In honor of the eclipse, the band has a new song: 

Many museums are closed on Mondays, but if you're out and about over the weekend, the Spencer Museum of Art on the University of Kansas campus has several eclipse-related artworks in its collection.

Two of Lowell Nesbitt's color lithographs called Moonshot are on display, including this one from 1969: 

Credit courtesy: Spencer Museum of Art
courtesy: Spencer Museum of Art
Lowell Nesbitt, 'Moonshot,' 1969.

An etching by Belgian artist Henry de Groux from 1916 is also on view. It's called L'Eclipse (The Eclipse): 

Credit Credit courtesy: Spencer Museum of Art
Credit courtesy: Spencer Museum of Art
Henry de Groux, “L'Eclipse (The Eclipse),” 1916.

In Kansas City, Missouri:

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is not open on Mondays. About a dozen eclipse-related works in the museum's collection can be viewed any time on their website, from recent creations like an eclipse teapot to a photograph of the November 19, 1865 eclipse.

Lewis Tabor's Solar eclipse photograph from 1925 is now on display in the Photography galleries of the Bloch Building: 

Credit courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Lewis P. Tabor, 'Solar eclipse,' 1925.

Just across the street from the Nelson-Atkins, the Kansas City Art Institute will host an event on Monday called Solar Music for a Total Eclipse (the Art Institute is outside the path of totality, though, so the sun will only be about 99.9 percent covered by the moon). 

The Myth-Science Ensemble features Thomas Aber, Patrick Conway, Rev. Dwight Frizzell, Matthew Johnson, and William Plummer — along with a range of instruments, including the clarinet, saxophone, and cello, as well as a solar gong, Moog synthesizer, and guida. 

The ensemble, "inspired by Sun Ra's solar myth approach," will perform during the eclipse, starting at 12:38, with 27 seconds of silence around peak darkness at 1:08. They'll continue to play until 1:38 p.m. 

Here's a preview: 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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