Made in the Middle: Art and the Crossroads of Kansas City
by Annie Raab
In many ways, the story of art in Kansas City is a familiar one-adventurous and untamed,
with a rogue determination that lingers as a holdover from the days of the Wild West.
Artists are trailblazers. They are the first to persist in cold winters and hot summers,
working in structures suitable for little more than warehouse storage. They are the first
to see potential studio space in an irreparable building. They are the first to put creativity
above profit, renting out or lending rooms to other artists for less money than conventional
landlords. They are the last to give up on underdeveloped districts and the last to
yield to greedy commercialization. Artists in search of cheap housing and studio space-
residential blank slates-plant the first seeds of growth in neglected neighborhoods,
turning them into vibrant communities. Artists in Kansas City don't play by the rules,
because the rules are flexible in the open space between the coasts, where artists can
do their thing and be forgotten. Kansas City is for outlaws.
...see the entire article in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.
Kayla Mattes and Justin Seibert, The Shape of Things, 2017. Detail of installation at Front/Space.