KC Parks News

  1. Sunday in the Park with StoneLion Goes Batty!

    Continuing the tradition . . . October’s Sunday in the Park with StoneLion Puppet Theatre is a live performance of Stellaluna. Based on the book by Janell Canon and with perfect harmony for Fall events, we are going Batty! Little Stellauna is separated from her mother and falls into a nest full of birds. A delightful musical for all ages about the power of friendship and acceptance. A high flying adventure with lots of audience interaction. StoneLion Puppet Theatre is celebrating twenty years of play in Kansas City by offering a free season of theater on the stage inside Westport Roanoke Community Center:

    When: October 5, 2014
    Time: 2 p.m. (House opens at 1:30 p.m. General admission seating.)
    Where: Westport Theatre @ Westport Roanoke Community Center, 3601 Roanoke

    FREE and open to the public. Additional performances on the first Sunday of every month! Mark your calendars to attend each one. More information.

  2. Climb, Explore and Learn at Truck-a-Palooza!

    Discover how our City vehicles help Build Our City, Keep Our City Safe and Keep Our City Clean

    The City of Kansas City, Missouri, is hosting Truck-a-Palooza, a fun and free family event focused on education, exploration, and safety of City vehicles. Join us Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Parade Park, located at the intersection of East Truman Road and The Paseo Boulevard.

    “I am so excited to be hosting this event,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “What kid doesn’t like trucks?! I grew up on a farm and learned how to drive several large vehicles. I also drove one of our city snow plows during a City snow storm. This is a great opportunity for our vehicle operators to engage with our residents and vice versa.”

    Learn what our City trucks do, how they work, and enjoy getting up in the big rigs. Get up close to the large vehicles. Learn about safety around these large vehicles. There will be more than 35 vehicles on display for children and grown-ups to climb on, sit in, and view up close! Vehicles on display include a dump truck, fire engine, trash truck, mounted police patrol, motorcycles, ATV’s and many more.

    Be sure to tweet us your photos on twitter to @kcmo and tag with #kctruckfest.

    Information/activities:

    • Maps with descriptions/fun facts about the vehicles
    • Fun activity pages related to Truck-a-Palooza
    • Index card with three trucks on it to collect stickers (Enter card at host table to win prizes!)

    Additional activities:

    • 8 a.m. –  5k walk/run and 1 mile leisure walk
    • At Gregg Klice Community Center:
    • 9 a.m. –  Learn to play the game of Bridge from the “greater players” the Bridge Club
    • 10 a.m. –  Free swimming and open basketball
      • Face Painting
      • Mobile food trucks featuring:  Brock Hops, Hella Bar-B-Que and Plates Express Gourmet Food Fast
      • DJ C-style – The line dancing DJ
      • A prize drawing, giveaways and much more.

    For the safety of all:

    • Children must be accompanied by adults.
    • Please leave the family pets at home.
  3. Three Races Impact Weekend Traffic

    The City of Kansas City, Mo., is notifying motorists that three separate races will impact traffic in  the area around 18th and Vine, Rockhurst University and Brookside.

    On Saturday, the Fit Families 5k will begin at 8 a.m. at the Black Archives, 1722 E. 17th Terrace. The race will travel to Paseo, Truman Road and end near Parade Park at 18th and Vine. For more information visit http://kcraceday.org/races/fit-families-5k/

    At 10am Hopkins Skip and Run begins and ends at Forest Avenue on the campus of Rockhurst University. For more information visit http://kcraceday.org/races/hopkins-skip-run/

    On Sunday at 7 a.m. the 24th annual Strutt with your Mutt 3k and 5 k races will be held in the Brookside Neighborhood. The race begins at 62nd Terrace and Brookside Plaza. Please note Brookside Boulevard between 51st Street and 62nd Terrace will be closed from 8 to 9:30 a.m. . For more information visit http://kcraceday.org/races/strutt-mutt/

  4. StoneLion Puppets and Parks Department Putting More Creativity into Westport Roanoke Community Center

    Reprinted from KC Studio Magazine

    Dubai-Puppet-Festival-Heather-and-Ashley-202x300Westport Roanoke Community Center could become a full-fledged arts center aimed at all ages, including those “young at art.” For Heather Nisbett-Loewenstein, the founder of StoneLion Puppet Theatre, the steps are already being taken, especially on her part. As a Kansas City Parks and Recreation partner, StoneLion Puppets is already well and truly recreational as they have been performing in parks and centers all over the city. As a matter of fact, many in the city saw their work at the Big Picnic, celebrating The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s sculpture park.

    The center, originally opened in 1963, recently underwent a $1.25 million face lift that included an updated pottery room, reception area, bathrooms, new heating and cooling, plus a security system. Now, StoneLion Puppets and Loewenstein are frequent performers at the community center for Sunday in the Park with StoneLion. The afternoon shows on the first Sunday of each month are designed to bring families together. StoneLion Puppet Theatre has the first Sundays scheduled through June of 2015. On Sept. 7, the show will be The Toy Box. The Oct. 5 show will be Stellaluna and the Nov. 2 show will be Kachina Drums in honor of Native American history month.

    Loewenstein calls the process an “adventure.” “We are working to develop this community center into ‘the arts center’ for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation

    Department. We really want to see people experiencing affordable arts in their own neighborhoods. The thrill is to educate our audiences that art can be found all over. Of course, there is joy in finding and shaping new audiences.”

    The community center aspect makes sense to Loewenstein as well. “If Kansas City is going to be seen as the Artistic Crossroads, the idea has to permeate all over. Our city has blossomed with great art from the Kauffman to Starlight and all the many companies producing. Much of that art has a cost associated to it that is out of the realm of many families. Westport can be a springboard to develop new audiences.” However, Loewenstein and her crew do a stellar job in taking their creative arts out into the world. StoneLion will be the guest artists for the month of October at the Smithsonian. They are also in demand at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. She will perform 417 shows by the time 2014 ends.

    “This is a slow process but we have started programming in the building,” she says. “I think it will take time for all of the different entities involved, governmental and community, to buy into the concept which was mandated by the Mayor’s task force. Right now Parks has invested some funds to upgrading the stage.” At the Parks Department, one of the biggest supporters for this initiative has been Deputy Director Terry Rynard.

    With the various studies of the arts in Kansas City, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department is amplifying its focus on the arts. Rynard says that as a department, staff has been reviewing opportunities for locations to house the needed programs. The Westport Roanoke Community Center seems like a natural fit, she says. “The stage is in decent shape and we know that performances were there in the past. We need to work on better lighting. The next trick is to figure out how to augment what is already at this center. We have always had a strong pottery program there. Our goal is to see how to integrate programming without hindering what is already there. We are giving people what they want and doing programming the community wants.”

    The arts partnership with StoneLion is a win-win situation, Rynard says. “We are closely aligned in missions … Sunday in the Park with StoneLion is aimed at this community outreach. We are fortunate to have strong partner organizations that come along side and bring in the performing arts. The other win is that Heather and her crew has such a following. She can leverage her contacts and bring in more folks. We are fortunate to have StoneLion offer up shows focused on the environment, history and lots of fun.”

    Loewenstein and her staff ran a few camps before school started. She’s also hoping to capitalize on the ceramics studio and the other gallery space. “I want folks to drive by the center and see art. It should be a place that has live performances, workshops, classes and more. I can see a couple of festivals being part of the line-up.”

    As with such plans, StoneLion seeks funding through grants and sponsorship to expand this center beyond what the Parks department and StoneLion can now budget. “How far this center goes will depend on how much funding we can generate and sustain. My goal for the coming year is to find the funding to underwrite weekly classes, holiday break camps and to fund display cases for exhibits by artists outside of StoneLion,” Loewenstein says.

    Rynard says many community members have spoken about the former Theatre Under the Stars program which put on significant shows. “In five years, it would be great to see some plays and musicals at Westport Roanoke for children and adults. It will take work and funding, but we have begun demonstrating that partnerships work. It’s a great community to begin with and can only get better.”

    The move to expand the arts coincides with StoneLion’s 20th anniversary. Loewenstein started her work in 1994 and became a non-profit in 2001. “There is no greater joy than when a young adult tells me that I am remembered because I came to his school. The positive efforts are noticed. I am told that I made a difference. I made people laugh and think. I found my niche with puppetry in Kansas City. I have students from the Kansas City Art Institute who serve as my interns so I am helping shape the next generation. I want StoneLion to continue beyond me and with those who love this art of puppetry, I know it will keep going.”

  5. Inheritance: Memories and Imaginations at Southeast Community Center in Swope Park

    Reprinted from KC Studio Magazine

    Southeast Community Center is nestled near the northwest corner of Swope Park on 63rd Street. The center opened in 2008 to replace a beloved but smaller and mostly obsolete facility.

    As a city building, it required the inclusion of a one percent for art component. In collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Municipal Art Commission implemented a national call to artists and received some 60 responses from local and national artists. The selection panel carefully reviewed the submitted portfolios and accompanying information and ultimately selected local artist team Julia Cole and Leigh Rosser who proposed a conscientious, multi-faceted approach to honor the site, its history and future activities in the community center.

    Inheritance consists of five artworks that connect thematically throughout the facility.

    Upon entry, visitors encounter a touchable, topographical “map” of the community center site and surrounding area made from carved plywood, called Common Ground.

    To the right of the reception desk, visitors see three maps mounted on glass panels titled, Mapping Community: Map of Probability, Map of Possibility and Map of Being, which explore ways of representing “community,” both as a place and a way of living.

    Hanging from the ceiling in the clerestory, visitors see Ripple Effecta 150 foot long kinetic sculpture crafted of translucent blue fins mounted on a cable spine. When visitors pass a secret sensor the sculpture reacts by sending a gentle rhythmic ripple down the length of the artwork much like a ripple in a pond or a community.

    conweb-closeup01 SECCIn the community area opposite the fireplace, visitors encounterConnection Web, a unique wall hanging that serves both as art and a working instrument to teach and explore webs of connection. The panel includes dozens of artist-drawn ceramic “buttons” which illustrate the relationships between living beings in Kansas City; where they live and how they eat. By moving a lever, an instructor can move the buttons, and the artists have provided blank backing pins so that community members can create their own teaching exhibitions.

    The final artwork includes two video stations called Video Explorers, mounted outside the two doors of the Game Room. The artists created videos that show the discoveries they made while exploring Swope Park. They plan to work with the Parks Department staff to purchase video cameras so that students at the facility can create and exhibit their own videos about their community.

    Inheritance was funded by the City of Kansas City One Percent for Art Program and implemented in collaboration with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. Julia Cole and Leigh Rosser are among a handful of local artists who have gained valuable experience through the city’s one percent for art program and who have gone on to compete for other, larger commissions locally and nationally.

    Southeast Community Center is nestled near the northwest corner of Swope Park on 63rd Street. The center opened in 2008 to replace a beloved but smaller and mostly obsolete facility.

    As a city building, it required the inclusion of a one percent for art component. In collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Municipal Art Commission implemented a national call to artists and received some 60 responses from local and national artists. The selection panel carefully reviewed the submitted portfolios and accompanying information and ultimately selected local artist team Julia Cole and Leigh Rosser who proposed a conscientious, multi-faceted approach to honor the site, its history and future activities in the community center.

    Inheritance consists of five artworks that connect thematically throughout the facility.

    Upon entry, visitors encounter a touchable, topographical “map” of the community center site and surrounding area made from carved plywood, called Common Ground.

    To the right of the reception desk, visitors see three maps mounted on glass panels titled, Mapping Community: Map of Probability, Map of Possibility and Map of Being, which explore ways of representing “community,” both as a place and a way of living.

    Hanging from the ceiling in the clerestory, visitors see Ripple Effecta 150 foot long kinetic sculpture crafted of translucent blue fins mounted on a cable spine. When visitors pass a secret sensor the sculpture reacts by sending a gentle rhythmic ripple down the length of the artwork much like a ripple in a pond or a community.

    In the community area opposite the fireplace, visitors encounterConnection Web, a unique wall hanging that serves both as art and a working instrument to teach and explore webs of connection. The panel includes dozens of artist-drawn ceramic “buttons” which illustrate the relationships between living beings in Kansas City; where they live and how they eat. By moving a lever, an instructor can move the buttons, and the artists have provided blank backing pins so that community members can create their own teaching exhibitions.

    The final artwork includes two video stations called Video Explorers, mounted outside the two doors of the Game Room. The artists created videos that show the discoveries they made while exploring Swope Park. They plan to work with the Parks Department staff to purchase video cameras so that students at the facility can create and exhibit their own videos about their community.

    Inheritance was funded by the City of Kansas City One Percent for Art Program and implemented in collaboration with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. Julia Cole and Leigh Rosser are among a handful of local artists who have gained valuable experience through the city’s one percent for art program and who have gone on to compete for other, larger commissions locally and nationally.