Years of planning and artistic creativity come together when Open Spaces kicks off its inaugural event this morning at 11:30 am at Swope Park with an opening celebration and ribbon cutting. The nine-week arts extravaganza is like nothing Kansas City has ever experienced. Think of it as ambitious 62-day collaboration between Kansas City’s burgeoning, influential arts community and the city. Our fair city joins forces with local, national and international artists to spotlight their endeavors throughout the metro. The goal? To create a massive arts event, but on an intimate, particularly vibrant scale for visitors and residents alike.
IN Kansas City asked co-founder Susan Gordon for her plan of attack on this ultra-busy first weekend.
“I’m so excited. We’ve been working so hard on this for over a year,” Gordon says. What is Gordon most excited about this weekend? Everything—and then some. “There’s a whole afternoon of programs, poetry and various workshops, music—and a few surprises. One of our artists is doing a site/sound walk at Swope Park,” says Gordon. “All of the official Open Spaces sites will be up and running throughout town.”
Outside of Swope Park, Gordon will be perusing the works of some of her favorite artists—including Kansas City Art Institute graduate Nick Cave. “He is showing at a decommissioned Catholic church on Linwood east of Prospect and that will be towards the top of my list. It’s in a setting where we don’t necessarily expect to find art—with a huge number of projectors that will convey art on the walls and floor of the church,” says Gordon. “There’s a lot to say in his work about social justice issues. He’s well-recognized contemporary artist. It’s super to have him here.”
Jennifer Steinkamp is another must-see artist for Gordon. “Steinkamp is doing video work at the Nelson-Atkins, says Gordon. “Her videos—’reverse projection’ on windows—will look out over Rockhill road. It’s only visible at night.”
Not only is the event family-friendly, a “vast majority of events that will take place over nine weeks are free,” says Gordon. “Hopefully this is a signature event for our city which will happen every two to three years. It’s bringing in cultural visitors from all over the country—from museums and galleries to top collectors. We want people to realize what’s here in Kansas City. It’s no longer fly-over country. We have a remarkable cultural presence here.”