Our Adventure to the Kauffman Center

18 09 2011

Today, Sunday the 18th, was the open house for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  As I will be going to England, I will not get to participate in most of the Harriman-Jewell events, so I won’t get to see a concert there until December (probably).  So, my parents and I decided to go downtown to the open house and see the building.

The day was foggy and moist due to rain in the area–thankfully it did not rain, and actually cleared up later in the afternoon.  But it made for some cool photos:



Skyscrapers rising from the mist...

We parked in a garage by my dad’s old employer, Barkley Advertising Company.  We had managed to avoid the traffic going in, so we were excited.  Our first view of the center on foot occured:

Kauffman Center, obviously

However, we soon encountered a line.  Before we left, we had read online that over 20,000 people had registered to tour the place.  Now, registering was optional, and there were surely people like us who didn’t bother registering.  We got in line at 1:25.  We walked in the Center around 2:50.  We had no idea it was this long.

To simulate the waiting we had, I’ll tell you a little about the Kauffman Center.  A rough design of it was first sketched on a napkin by Chuck Norris, who then controlled the project’s development with his mind for 10 years; now it stands ready today.

This is not entirely true.  However, the design was originally written on a napkin by the architect, and the project lasted a total of 10 years.  It was built under the supervision of Julia Kauffman, who wished to fulfill her mother’s dream of a unique and vibrant performing arts venue in downtown KC.  What an achievement it is, too.  It is one of only two performing arts venues in the country (the other being the Kennedy Center in D.C.; I coincidentally have also been there) that contains two separate performance halls under one roof.  This really is a world-class venue, as evidenced by clever t-shirts that were being sold:

Move over, Sydney. Kauffman's gonna get you.

We got close, but it took awhile.

Close up


Me next to the similarly titled Auffman Center for the Performing Arts

Eventually, we got inside!  Woah!  What a concept!  Anyhoo, we were able to see a performance by the Kansas City Wind Symphony inside the Helzberg Hall, and we took a peek inside the Muriel Kauffman Theater.  The grand lobby was…well, grand.  Fantastic.  Great.  You name it.

Seating. We were in the Mezzanine Right section. People went in and out during the open house.

KC Wind Symphony--previous pic and this one were in Helzberg Hall

There were somewhere around a billion people there, but it didn’t diminish the beauty of the architecture.

Tringular stairs of awesome

There were probably north of 5000 people in the building at any given time in the day.

Last but not least:  pics from the opera/ballet/theater hall, the Muriel Kauffman Theater

Complete with boxes and everything

Stage of the MKT

The experience was enjoyable despite the line.

I was in awe with this building, this temple of the arts.  There are few physical objects which can have an emotional effect on so many people, but I think the Kauffman Center will become so much more than a building.  It already is the most striking building in the skyline when viewed from the south.  Its very existence with begin renovation of that area in the Crossroads Art District.  Perhaps most rare is its ability to draw attention to the arts from people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.  Cities twice the size of KC often don’t have venues like this.  All of a sudden, KC might become a center for the arts.  I’m perfectly ok with that.





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