Monday, September 27, 2010

Kauffman and Kimmel: a tale of two centers

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia opened in an unfinished state in 2001.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will open in Kansas City in 2011.

The entertainment district of Kansas City feels saturated with venues but lacks content. Perhaps the content will come, but I have my doubts. Take a walk around the downtown area…yes a walk…and discover all of the performance spaces on your stroll. You be the judge.

Will you be able to afford tickets to this beautiful building? As a local artist, do you dream of performing there someday? Dream on. When will the city be strapped for the sustainment bill when things go south as they will…or rather, when will you, the taxpayer get a bill as well as a subscription mailer? When will the outlying areas of Kansas City run to the wings?

Stick with your high school musicals and dramas, I recommend. Save your money for music lessons, dance instruction, and art sessions for your children. Support local theatres, local talent. Form a “dot oh are gee” to support your local school arts programs. This constitutes sustainment.

From the top of the hill at the Kauffman edifice, peer east…to the veritable artistic wasteland. No ticket sales there and yet there is the essence of where art appears.

Once again, the artists of this city will pull up stakes and find another edge, another unwanted area where they can incubate.

The giant not-for-profit foundations, familiar names, build their temples in a swath of this town 8 blocks wide and 40 blocks long…a rectangular zone with a grey MidTown area as a torso.

You will be the judge, for you will purchase the subscriptions, the tickets, perhaps volunteer…are we ready for this? Keep your eye on the Kimmel, for they are ten years along their path and it doesn’t look good.

Last night, did you look east Chaka Kahn?...Chaka Kahn?

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