My Essentials: Jonathan Thomas

Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler

A Kansas City metro native, Thomas moved to San Francisco in 2014 to serve as the development manager for The Walden School. A chance to join the ArtsKC team as its senior development manager last year brought him back to his home turf. “One of the reasons I’m so excited to be back in KC is the arts community. We are so lucky to have the caliber and abundance of artists and arts organizations that we have here,” Thomas says. Outside of his career in arts administration, his passion for music has led to singing professionally.  He earned his music degree from the University of Kansas and has performed with the Lyric Opera, the Kansas City Chorale, and the Kansas City Symphony, among others.

Jonathan’s essentials…

Made in KC: ArtsKC recently collaborated on a mural project, and I have to say the murals in our area are amazing. One reason I love art is the power it has to bring everyone together.

Saturday Day Out: We love going to various furniture shops in KC, usually starting out on Gillham with Populuxe and Urban Mining, then moving up to Hutch in the Crossroads. Grinders has a great salad with fried goat cheese, and the rooftop bar at the Crossroads Hotel may have the best view in KC.

Fav Shop: I love Charlie Hustle. Their phrase “Vintage Made Fresh” perfectly describes why they’re so popular. Houndstooth has fantastic suits, because we can’t always wear T-shirts.

Museum pick: If you haven’t gone to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, it is an absolute must. It’s fascinating as a sports fan to appreciate such athleticism, but it’s also such a wonderful tribute to a group of unsung American heroes.

KC Musician: Janelle Monáe. She grew up in KC, was known as an intelligent writer and artist from a young age, and continues to be a champion for KC. She attended KC’s Coterie Theater Young Playwrights’ Round Table. A consummate artist!

Date Night: O’Dowd’s is a favorite, probably because our first kiss was on the rooftop there. I’d be lying if I didn’t say we eat Topsy’s cheddar popcorn on our date nights.

Cocktail of Choice: A peaty Islay scotch is my drink of choice, but one of the things I love most about Kansas City is its beer. The Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad on tap in their tasting room is tough to beat.


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