Julie Denesha | KCUR

Julie Denesha

Reporter, Photographer

Julie Denesha is a freelance documentary photographer based in the Kansas City area.

Julie graduated from The University of Kansas in 1993, with degrees in Journalism and Russian Language and Literature. After college, she worked as a staff photographer for The Kansas City Star. In 1995, she moved to Europe and from 1996 to 2004, Julie was based in Prague, Czech Republic, where she covered Central and Eastern Europe for newspapers and magazines. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor.

After moving back to the United States, Julie spent three years working as a photo editor for The Washington Times.

In 2007, Julie was awarded both a Fulbright and a Milena Jesenská Fellowship to continue her ongoing project on the Roma in Slovakia. Her project on the Roma was featured in an exhibit of the Roma at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, The World Bank in Brussels, Belgium, The Half King Gallery in New York, and The Institute For Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

View more of Julie's work on her website.

Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

To observe their holidays this week, Christians and Jews throughout metro Kansas City have prepared high-tech ways to celebrate ancient traditions.

The pews will be empty on Easter Sunday when Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann celebrates mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Kansas City, Kansas, the seat of the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese. But the service will be livestreamed online for parishioners to watch from home.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Brett Atkinson owns Wilma’s Good Food Food Truck. He's currently out of work due to metro Kansas City's stay-at-home orders — but he's not sitting around.

Atkinson is a volunteer chef for Operation Barbeque Relief, which is normally mobilized to prepare hot meals in the aftermath of tornadoes and hurricanes, with capacity to serve up to 60,000 meals a day.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Restaurants and bars have closed and gatherings larger than 10 people have been banned. The entire Kansas City metro is under orders to stay at home. Among many profound changes brought by the coronavirus: The interaction between musicians and their audiences at live shows.

"We're shutdown for the foreseeable future, at least two weeks. Could be a month, could be two months, who knows?" said Steve Tulipana, co-owner of RecordBar in downtown Kansas City. "So we're all just trying to figure out ways to keep doing what we do to keep sane, really."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s live music community was just beginning to understand how hard the scene would be hit by coronavirus cancelations on March 14. Then came news that a fire had gutted Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club in Midtown.

Owner Michele Markowitz says she's been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support, and plans to rebuild just as soon as she can.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Workers at the Lenexa, Kansas-based global humanitarian relief organization Heart to Heart International are deploying to the Marshall Islands to help prepare residents there for potential coronavirus infections.

The team from Heart to Heart prepared to leave on Saturday after receiving a request from the World Health Organization to assist in the isolated islands in the Pacific, part of the larger island group of Micronesia.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Women are partly responsible for the private art gallery scene that's flourished in Kansas City over the past 20 years. And despite the stereotype of the artist working alone in a studio, they've been networking just like professionals in other industries.

“That’s what people do in the business world when they want to find a job or make contacts,” says CJ Charbonneau.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Caitlin Morton used to dread Valentine's Day.

That was before she met Sudiebelle Hare, a Kansas City artist who regularly paints colorful circles on canvas at events and music festivals and, until recently, sold her artwork on First Fridays from a regular spot on the sidewalk across from Grinder’s in the Crossroads.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City had much to celebrate on Wednesday — not only the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory, but the fact that no one was seriously injured at its parade and rally.

“When you have hundreds of thousands of people gathered and you have two people charged with something and a minimal number of people detained for any type of investigation, that’s a good thing on the surface," said Kansas City Police Department Sgt. Jake Becchina.

Watch this video of Kansas City's daylong celebration:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Car horns blared throughout downtown Sunday night as fans celebrated the Kansas City Chiefs' stunning comeback over the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl LIV.

“We’re so happy and so grateful," said Logan Lund, a student at The University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

No more waiting, Kansas City: The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions again, and it’s time to party.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

What if you accidentally cut off a piece of your finger, and two weeks later that piece grew into your clone? Tiny creatures with that ability are swimming in tanks at Kansas City's Stowers Institute for Medical Research, and they've inspired a new collaboration between scientists and artists.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The posthumous resurgence of interest in Kansas City artist Arthur Kraft, who died in 1977, continues to gain momentum.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is painting the town red ahead of Sunday's big game.

The Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship Game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. It's the second straight year Kansas City has advanced this far in the playoffs, and with football fever in the air once again, metro motorists are seeing red everywhere.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Kansas City’s art world is at a turning point.

Saint Louis Art Museum

Missouri painter George Caleb Bingham shaped the way the nation saw life on the frontier. His work spanned politics, civil war discord and rowdy riverboatmen, and his genre paintings of 19th century river life are in many major national art collections.

Within the next three years, all of Bingham's nearly 600 known paintings will be accessible online and freely available to the public.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On one busy corner of Kansas City's St. John Avenue, a community is coming together to create a piece of art that reflects the whole world.

Home to culturally and ethnically diverse businesses and many artists, the city's Historic Northeast neighborhood is already a colorful place.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

A vintage Vornado fan hooked to a bicycle wheel pushes a tumbleweed in a circle. Two sandstone rocks grind against each other to create a small pile of fine sand. A clockwork movement sends a feather swinging in an arc.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

If someone were to hike deep into the places he paints, says Kansas City artist Jason Needham, "it would be rough going, for sure."

As the sun rose one recent morning, he was concentrating on a tangle of overgrown vines surrounding a stand of cottonwood trees at Kessler Park in the the city's Historic Northeast neighborhood.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When pioneers set off in covered wagons from Independence, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail for "The Great Migration of 1843," it was a 2,000-mile trek that would take an average of five months by covered wagon. Before the transcontinental railroad rendered the trail obsolete, at least 400,000 settlers are estimated to have used the Oregon Trail and its three offshoots — the California, Bozeman and Mormon Trails.

Now two professors at the Kansas City Art Institute, a printmaker and a musician, are using a historic map of the Oregon Trail as a jumping off point for their own work.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Mike Sims is a bit emotional. As he prepares to celebrate 40 years of working with an array of acclaimed artists, the master printer admits it's overwhelming.

"Huge memories, yeah," Sims says, shaking his head. "The biggest memories are the relationships with the artists, many of whom are dead and gone now.”

Since 1979, artists from around the United States have traveled to Lawrence, and then later to Kansas City, to work with Sims.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

People who live around Kessler Park, just a few blocks from the Kansas City Museum in the Historic Northeast neighborhood, say it's the city's biggest front porch for listening to music in Kansas City.

“We have a lovely view of this day after day," said David Joslyn, who has lived in the neighborhood with his wife Elaine for more than 30 years. "The beautiful Concourse, the Esplanade, the wonderful playground and the fountain. We’re very blessed.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Kansas City's Sondern-Adler Home went on the market last year for $1.65 million. No one bought it, so it's going up for a no-reserve auction, with no minimum starting bid, on August 12.

Knowing the challenges that lie ahead is important for any buyer, says John H. Waters, an architect and preservation programs manager at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in Chicago.

Cary Esser

Members of Kansas City's art world will gather on Saturday to toast Victor Babu, a Kansas City Art Institute professor who died in April but whose influence will be felt for generations.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Anyone who has been to Kansas City's Country Club Plaza has likely seen the work of Arthur Kraft, who sculpted the trio of bronze penguins near the corner of Pennsylvania and Jefferson streets. Even though his name has largely been lost to history, his work is still all over town.

Some Kansas Citians who do remember Kraft's significance argue that he should be as well known as the famous hometown painter Thomas Hart Benton.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Crews are hard at work at Kansas City International Airport tearing down Terminal A and recycling its components to make way for a new, greener single terminal.

There have been no explosions, no big building collapse — and for good reason, says deputy director Justin Meyer.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

People often ask Kansas City musician Gerald Trimble about the instrument he plays at gigs around town with his band Jambaroque. Although it looks like a cello at first glance, players hold it between their knees, so some people call it a knee fiddle. It’s a viola da gamba.

The instruments have roots in 15th Century Moorish Spain, and there aren’t that many of them in Kansas City. Once he discovered it, Trimble says, he was smitten.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

After her mother died of cancer almost ten years ago, Bernadette Esperanza Torres says she experienced an awakening. Her mother was always working, always helping other people. She'd planned to take a vacation when she retired.

"When my mom was dying she was like, 'I guess I'll never retire,'" Torres remembers. "She would not even take a day off to go to the doctor to help herself."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Sugar Creek is a small community about nine miles east of downtown Kansas City. In 1904, Standard Oil opened an oil refinery there and immigrants from Eastern Europe were recruited to work at the plant.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ragtime is big with the kids in Sedalia.

One day this spring, about 100 of them cheered for William McNally, a two-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. His performance at Sacred Heart School quickly won them over with the lively music that was all the rage 120 years ago.

“It’s kind of like making you want more," said Thomas Jenkins, 11, who had been taking piano lessons for about a year.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Nina Littrell, a senior in the fiber department at the Kansas City Art Institute, says she wants to start a conversation about the fashion industry and its role in the growing environmental crisis.

In her work, Littrell combines traditional quilting and patchwork design to give discarded textiles a new life in the form of colorful jackets.

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