Monday, July 19, 2010
Should we call it the Leawood Arts District?
By "out there," I mean what many in the Kansas City Metro think of as "out there" in southern Johnson County, KS.
What's the Matter with Kansas? frame of mind: as a wasteland of white-bread suburbanites in cookie-cutter plastic palaces.
If you think of it that way, however, you haven't been paying attention.
Google Maps to work right, so I've included a screen shot.
A person in good walking shoes could have walked, Kansas City Crossroads-style, between the Prairiebrooke Gallery (A on the map), Eva Reynolds Fine Art Gallery (B), Leawood Fine Art Gallery (C) and The Rice Gallery of Fine Art (D). However, unlike in the Crossroads, parking was not an issue, so it was easy to drive. The fifth location was only a few blocks away, at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, which now hosts Overland Park's "Art at the Center" series.
There were no colorful crowds on the streets, such as you see on First Fridays in the Crossroads, but other aspects of the event compared very well. The artwork I saw on display was easily equal to, or better than, much of what you typically see on a First Friday. These galleries also had efficient air conditioning, decent wine, fresh hors d'oeuvres, and good live music.
Michael Albrechtsen at the Rice Gallery, an exhibition by sculptor Tom Corbin at the Eva Reynolds Gallery, and several new, large paintings by George Jones, featured at Prairiebrooke. "The Abstracts Exhibition," a collection of works selected by Friends of Overland Park Arts, was the attraction at Tomahawk Ridge, and a group show featuring work by many of the gallery's excellent artists was the focus at Leawood Fine Arts.
These five are by no means the only art galleries in Johnson County--nor are they the only good ones. What should command the attention of every art lover in the KC metro, however, is the relative concentration of them in this fairly small area, and the uniformly high quality of the offerings to be found in the Leawood Arts District.