By Kevin Collison
The Charlotte Street Foundation, a cutting-edge downtown cultural fixture for years, has found a permanent space for performance works on Broadway–at least as long as its spared from redevelopment.
The venue, called Capsule, opened in early August in space at 1664 Broadway and will close out its first season Aug. 30 with an “evening of sunset jazz and poetry” by Jessica Ayala, Sheri Hall and Daniel Hogans.
Pat Alexander, Charlotte Street programming and studio residency manager, said the organization had been relying on a “nomadic partnership” with different downtown property owners.
“Charlotte Street had never had a dedicated space for performances,” he said. “We had to respond to whatever was offered, which made it hard to plan future performances.
“When we saw this space it was perfect. It’s right across the street from the Kauffman (Center for the Performing Arts). It’s also a huge billboard for us to be on Broadway.”
The 22,000 square-foot main venue, along with a smaller adjacent room and additional space next door, is part of a group of buildings on the west side of Broadway owned by Copaken Brooks, a developer and real estate firm.
They’ve been collectively referred to as the “Denny’s site” for the restaurant located there.
The Denny’s site has been pitched for several large redevelopment projects over the years, including a potential UMKC Downtown Arts Campus, but until something happens, the firm has made it available for arts groups.
Charlotte Street Foundation also has been welcomed for temporary uses at the Town Pavilion office tower, another Copaken Brooks property.
Over the past 10 years, Charlotte Street Foundation has rented the La Esquina building at 1000 W. 25th St. for both performances and gallery space. With the opening of the new Capsule venue, La Esquina will be used solely as a gallery.
The building at 1664 Broadway had been vacant 10 years before the Capsule arrived.
The Capsule will host activities including theatrical works, experimental performances, music and videos. It also will provide rehearsal space and room for immersive art installations. The adjoining small room is reserved for more intimate performances.
“It’s the first place where we can have a consistent, stable performing space,” Alexander said.
“It will also allow us to bring national touring artistic acts who haven’t been coming to Kansas City because there was no, full-time venues.”
He added the new space also will allow Charlotte Street Foundation to participate in First Fridays the first time.
A schedule for Charlotte Street Foundation events can be found here.
An open call for proposals from artists and producers at Capsule for 2019 is currently underway by the Charlotte Street Foundation.
The building next door at 1662 Broadway is being used for a pilot residency program. The first resident is the Stray Cat “micro-cinema” collective of film makers and enthusiasts.
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