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More artists will now have a say in what public art will look like at Kansas City International Airport's new $1.5 billion terminal.

With a construction budget that devotes $5.6 million for public art as part of the city's 1% for art program, where that art will be located and who gets to decide have been pressing issues. Construction is already underway, with the new terminal scheduled to open in 2023. 

Segment 1: Kansas lawmakers prepare to tackle myriad issues in the upcoming legislative session.

Kansas' Medicaid expansion seems to be the hottest issue going into the 2020 legislative session, but it won't be the only thing keeping senators and representatives busy in Topeka. Possible outcomes and implications for everything from abortion to state debt to prison reforms were previewed.

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.

Courtesy Photo
Chouteaufountain.org

Kansas City likes to call itself the City of Fountains, but only two of approximately 200 fountains are north of the Missouri River. For years this has rankled northland officials and neighborhood leaders who have felt the entryways to their communities lacked inviting art and monuments.

Civic, neighborhood and political leaders hope that will change with The Francois Chouteau & Native Americans Heritage Fountain, currently scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Sabrina Staires/sabrinastaires.com

James Martin, an independent consultant and curator, writer and educator, has been hired by the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to serve as its public art administrator. The position has been vacant since April 2018. 

Martin's appointment fills a crucial need, coming just as questions and tensions mount over the most expensive public art project in the city's history: a new $1.5 billion single terminal project at Kansas City International Airport budgets $5.6 million for art as part of the city's longstanding One Percent for Art program.

More than a handful of public art projects are also in the pipeline.

"Kansas City has had such a long commitment to public art," Martin told KCUR. "You know, we've had a great run, and I'm just thrilled to be able to continue that tradition and contribute my part."

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Preparing for the largest public art project in Kansas City's history is proving to be a challenge. 

Controversy often surrounds pieces commissioned under the city’s One Percent For Art Program, which sets aside 1% of city construction costs for public art. But when it comes to the construction at Kansas City International Airport – where a new $1.5 billion single terminal project at KCI budgets $5.6 million for public art – tensions have begun to rise long before any artists have submitted proposals.

Segment 1: Muralists descend on Kansas City to make art.

In its third year, Sprayseemo has become a big international festival for creating outdoor public art in Kansas City. 

  • Amy Harrington and Jason Harrington (AKA Riff Raff Giraffe), artists and festival organizers

Segment 2: A world-renowned opera singer performs in his native Kansas City, alongside his mom.

Segment 1: 'We tend to feel like we're captives in our own homes and neighborhoods,' says one neighborhood leader.

Last weekend Brian Bartlett became the youngest victim of gun violence this year in Kansas City, Missouri. Today, neighborhood leaders east of Troost revealed how prevalent shootings have become, how residents are taking more action to record and report activitites in their neighborhoods, and the frustration in trying to find a solution to the gun violence.

Segment 1: Could opportunity zones change the landscape of investment in Kansas City?

As part of the bipartisan 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones encouraging private investment in distressed areas have been identified in every state. We get an explainer on how it works, along with on-the-ground insights into how the five opportunity zones in Kansas City, Missouri might stand to benefit. 

courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

The new $1.5 billion terminal at Kansas City International Airport will be the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history. And that construction budget translates to a lot of money for public art.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

For 15 years, travelers in each of the three terminals at the Kansas City International Airport have walked on the sparkly deep blue art installation "Polarities" by New York artists Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones. Parking garage customers have stared up at stair-tower installations by various artists.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

In a move inspired by the Aldi supermarket chain, Roeland Park will make changes to its public art program.

Aldi has plans to tear down its store at 4801 Roe Boulevard and replace it with a larger, updated store. A One Percent for Art program initiated by the city in 2010 sets aside one percent of all new construction costs for art, and would have required the discount supermarket to incorporate that artwork on site.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

For muralists Phil Shafer, aka Sike Style, and JT Daniels, making bold, colorful murals throughout Kansas City is more than just painting outdoors.

Joshua Wiener

Merriam City Council members on Monday approved a new public art project by a close vote of 5-4.

The sculpture, "Hmmm..." is designed by Colorado-based artist Joshua Wiener. A nine-foot tall caterpillar stands next to a 12-foot cairn, a stack of granite river boulders, with a butterfly perched on top. Weiner's proposal was selected by a resident-led arts committee that reviewed 45 submissions. 

Segment 1: A new art exhibit encourages people to write down their wishes.

A group of local artists has created a public altar at the Kansas City Public Library, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes and leave objects of personal significance. One of the artists behind this project shares his vision for it.

courtesy of the artist

The Johnson County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners this week voted to reduce funding for proposed public art projects and for the county's public art program itself. 

In addition to public art programs in six cities, Johnson County has a One Percent for Art Program, established in 2006 to include art in major building projects.

Arts advocates, including Kansas Representative Jerry Stogsdill of Prairie Village, asked the commission to continue support for the program. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Updated: 2:11 p.m. 

A painter, sculptor, and muralist, Arthur Kraft was an artist who, as he put it, wanted to be "left alone to create." Kraft died in 1977 at the age of 55 after struggles with alcoholism and cancer. 

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Last year, KCUR's Question Quest started looking into a strange statue in Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood. And things have gotten a little weird in the months since then.

We recently got a dossier from a mysterious figure who claimed to know about the statue's avian origins, and now there's a ring of new additions surrounding it. 

architetural rendering, courtesy of RMTA architectural firm

Like a handful of other cities in the Kansas City metro area, Roeland Park, Kansas, has a funding mechanism for public art. Roeland Park's one percent for art program was established in 2010 by a city council resolution, and it sets aside one percent of development costs for art. 

But city administrator Keith Moody says the program hasn't been tested a lot. At least not more than once to his knowledge. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

After a four-month absence, a 40-foot tall, 35-foot-wide, 24,000-pound aluminum sculpture by artist R.M. Fischer has returned to the top of its 300-foot-tall pylon at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Kansas City's new streetcar line presents hazards for bicyclists, but an artist named Don Wilkison, who calls himself m.o.i., for the Minister of Information, hopes his "Rail-Bike-Rail" installation will help them navigate this new environment.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

You hear the term “placemaking” a lot these days. It's about taking what already exists in a neighborhood and building on it — or reinventing a public space to attract more people to it. The city of Merriam, Kansas is launching a new five-year public art initiative on Wednesday, with a sense of place. 

Brittany Tutt / Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune

The Missouri Arts Council, which funnels money to arts organizations around the state, will see an increase of $1.2 million for fiscal year 2017. That will put MAC’s state funding at $6 million, up from $4.8 million. It’s the first increase in several years, says the organization’s executive director, Michael Donovan.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

A small Westside neighborhood crowd gathered at 16th Street and Jefferson Sunday morning to watch a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane remove the largest of the four "Sky Station" sculptures atop Bartle Hall in Kansas City.

courtesy A. Zahner Company

By a unanimous vote, the Kansas City City Council approved $1.6 million in funding on Thursday to repair one of the iconic sculptures called Sky Stations on top of Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City.

"I think one of the most famous, or perhaps sometimes infamous, pieces of art that have been placed in this city are the Sky Stations," says Councilman Scott Wagner of the sculptures, popularly known as "hair curlers."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The air was crisp and the sun was high Friday afternoon as a small group of people assembled in the amphitheater at the athletic fields at 9th and Van Brunt in Kansas City, Mo. They’d come by bus to hear artist José Faus say a few words about his new mural, “The Sun and the Moon Dream of Each Other,” one of two new murals commissioned over the summer by the MAPIT, Mural Arts Program Inspiring Transformation.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The grass was still damp from overnight rains in Washington Square Park Tuesday morning as sculptor Will Vannerson stepped away from a section of the galvanized sculptural work called "Moon Garden."

After Vannerson lifted the work from the bed of a pickup truck, he said wanted to get a broader view of the large, silvery tubes in the context of the park’s landscape.

courtesy of the artist

If you’ve driven through downtown Kansas City recently, you’ve probably seen the orange cones from the streetcar construction. But what about that blue petticoat at the top of a street sign, or the brightly colored quilts wrapped around bus shelters? 

Art installations and performances return this summer to Kansas City's downtown loop. 

"Everyone get in their starting positions," calls out dancer Maura Garcia, as she shakes a rattle. 

Courtesy photo / ArtsKC

Update: This story was updated on July 17.

Harlan Brownlee, the president and CEO of ArtsKC, has announced his resignation, effective at the end of July.

ArtsKC named Susan Stanton, a longtime non-profit interim leader, to serve as interim president. The organization will begin a national search for Brownlee’s successor.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Kansas City Council will look very different after Tuesday's election.

Six current members of the 12-member council will be forced out due to term limits — opening up the body to new and fresh ideas regarding the city's approach to supporting the arts.

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