A special Library exhibit, It Finally Happened Here, looks back at that tumultuous episode in the city’s history and the effectiveness of efforts – up to today – to address its causes.
The exhibit, now on display at the downtown Central Library, will move to different Library locations throughout the year. Images and research materials were drawn from the collections of the State Historical Society of Missouri-Kansas City Research Center, LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, The Kansas City Call, The Kansas City Star, and the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections. Southeast Missouri State University history professor Joel Rhodes led the research, with contributions from Derek Donovan of The Star, Rachel Forester of the SHSMO, Kelly McEniry of the LaBudde Special Collections, and Donna Stewart of The Call.
A professor of visual art at the University of Kansas, his work in this collection is designed to orient our thoughts toward the impermanence of the landscape and the record-keeping system that guides our knowledge of historic events. Time is blurred, for example, by the proximity of 1960s hippies and characters from the American Revolution. Quiet renderings of rock, tree, and sky express a sense of vastness. Human forms are dwarfed by infinite depths and changing geological structures.
The exhibit is curated by Baron Mattern, a rising senior pursuing a degree in painting at KCAI. It is underwritten by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and Pam and Gary Gradinger.
The Library’s new exhibition Here Where You Wish makes spirituality accessible to all. It is created by Kansas City’s Ryan Wilks in collaboration with fellow artist Ari Fish, and also features soft, ritual-based music composed by Tim J. Harte. The 40-square-foot altar is the work of Wilks and Sean Prudden.
Just a four-minute walk from Kansas City’s old First National Bank – now the home of the Central Library – some of the biggest names in American entertainment once made their way to a small photography studio and a man they trusted to cast them in just the right light.
From 1915 to 1930, Orval Hixon photographed hundreds of rising stars of vaudeville, stage, and early film. More than two dozen of them would be immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Their images, as captured by Hixon, are featured in the Library’s latest exhibit of his work in the gallery named for Hixon on the lower level of the Central Library.
Co-presented by James R. and Joyce A. Finley, Charles David and Linda Hixon, and the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Efforts in Kansas City to combat blight and “renew” the city through redevelopment took off after World War II. But visionary ideas came at the expense of established neighborhoods, architectural landmarks, and sense of community.
Featuring before-and-after photographs, maps, and other documents, this new exhibit examines the origin and implementation of urban renewal and its long-term, segregative effects on the city. Officials and developers tried to create a “city of tomorrow.” Their decisions remain a part of our lives today.
The exhibit, researched and curated by Michael Wells of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, is on display on the fifth floor of the Central Library.