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Kansas City Culture

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Showcasing Culture & Art

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City is one of the country's premier art institutions. Its rich collections bring together masterpieces from every culture and period of the world, spanning over 5,000 years. The Museum opened its doors in 1933 as a gift to the community from William Rockhill Nelson (1841-1915), founder of The Kansas City Star. Contributions from the estate of Mary McAfee Atkins (1836-1911) helped complete the building.

The Nelson-Atkins has prestigious collections of European and American art, but it is known above all for its magnificent collection of Asian art, notably the arts of China. The Chinese collection comprises masterpieces from every phase of Chinese art. The bronze age (1200 B.C. to 500 B.C.) is especially well represented in a series of ceremonial vessels and weapons.

Modern sculpture is another area of distinction, both inside the Museum and outdoors in The Kansas City Sculpture Park, which features the country's largest collection of monumental bronzes by British sculptor Henry Moore as well as works by other modern masters.

Kansas City Sculpture Park

The 17-acre Kansas City Sculpture Park includes the largest collection of bronze sculptures by Henry Moore in the United States. Also on the grounds is Shuttlecocks -- four sculptures of 18-foot-tall badminton birdies. Admission to the Kansas City Sculpture Park is free, and it's open during daylight hours. Picnic lunches on grounds are allowed.

The Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony (KCS) was founded by R. Crosby Kemper, Jr., in 1982, just months after the dissolution of the Kansas City Philharmonic. Under Kemper's leadership, the founding trustees of the Symphony created a sound structure for the board and established the initial endowment. Today, the KCS is a major force in the cultural life of Kansas City and the region. With the mission to "advance and advocate the art of classical music for the enrichment of the community," the Kansas City Symphony has experienced impressive artistic growth under the leadership of its music directors, Russell Patterson (1982-1986), William McLaughlin (1986-1997), and Anne Manson (1998-2003). Currently, as the KCS conducts a worldwide search for its fourth music director, Timothy Hankewich serves as resident conductor.

The Kansas City Symphony serves a metropolitan population of 1.8 million people. The orchestra's 78 full-time musicians are area residents and vital contributors to the artistic life of Kansas City. During its forty-two week season, the Symphony performs a wide variety of subscription, educational, touring, and outreach concerts. In addition, the KCS performs for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Ballet.

Quindaro Ruins

Preservationists scored a major victory in 2002 with the naming of the Underground Railroad destination where which African-American slaves attained freedom to the National Register of Historic Places. The Quindaro Ruins are what's left of Quindaro, an abolitionist community in Northeast Kansas City, Kansas, that may have once had as many as 5000 residents and 100 businesses during its mid-1800s heyday. Abandoned for more than a century, a handful of historical buildings and foundations remain of two hotels, a drugstore, a newspaper office, a brewery and residence. There's also a statue of John Brown, the Vernon Center, a cemetery overlooking the Missouri River Valley, spring-fed creeks and abundant wildlife.

Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center

While focusing on the Croatian culture, the Strawberry Hill Museum also hosts permanent exhibits representing other cultures in the community which include Lithuanian, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Russian and The Netherlands, Traditional items are on display including colorful handmade clothing, original work of glass, wood craftsmanship and musical instruments.

The museum is located in the former St. John the Batptist Children's Home, an original Queen Ann style home built in 1887. The 1918 flu epidemic left many orphans among the Croatian community. The pastor, Martin Krmpotic, who himself had sponsored many of the original immigrating families, encouraged the parishoners to raise the funds to purchase the home in 1919 for an orphanage. The house, including the additions for the orphans, has many of the home's original pieces of furniture and stained glass windows.

American Jazz Museum

Kansas City, Missouri, the mother of swing and the nurturer of Bebop, proudly hosts the reflection of its dynamic musical heritage - the American Jazz Museum. Inside the American Jazz Museum, the essence and living spirit of jazz legends fill the atmosphere, as the story of jazz and her greatest performers is told through the sights and sounds of one the most interactive museums in the country.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City's acclaimed, FREE contemporary art museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened October 2, 1994 and draws more than 100,000 visitors each year. The Museum boasts a rapidly growing permanent collection of modern and contemporary works of artists from around the world.

The Museum hosts temporary exhibitions, installations, performance work, film and video series, lectures, concerts, children's workshops, and other creative programs designed to both entertain and challenge.

Permanent Collection: At the core of the permanent collection is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, a gift by the Museum's donors R. Crosby Kemper and his wife Bebe Kemper, and the Kemper Foundations.