Citywide Open Spaces Arts Festival Includes Works Downtown

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Ted Riederer spinning at Never Records as part of the Open Spaces festival. (Photo by Kim Mueller)

By Kim Mueller

The weekend rain didn’t dampen artist Ted Riederer’s spirit as he waited for people to record their songs on free vinyl albums at his mobile record store during Kansas City’s Open Spaces art festival.

“I’ve cut some magical things, some unbelievable things here,” Riederer said as he stood in his temporary studio at 1611 Oak St.

“I had the New York hubris coming here, but Kansas City is a happening place. I didn’t expect it. I’m finding my people here.”

Riederer is one of 200 global artists participating in events scattered throughout Kansas City from Aug. 25 to Oct. 28 for the Open Spaces art festival.

The festival’s hub is The Village at Swope Park, but downtowners can easily walk or ride the streetcar to nine free exhibits and three ticketed performances inside the Loop.

This evening (Sept. 13), the newly remodeled Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., will host a performance titled “Anthracite Fields.”

Julia Wolfe’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio explores the history of mining in Pennsylvania’s Anthracite coal region. It features Bang on a Can All Stars collaborating with the Kansas City Chorale,

Also at The Folly, the Chicago-based chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird will perform “Olagon” on Oct. 17.  The performance will include composer/fiddler Dan Trueman, vocalist Iarla O Lionaird, and Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon.

As for Riederer, people can record a four-minute vinyl album at his record store/installation called “Never Records” between Aug. 25-Sept. 28 and Oct. 20-28.

Visitors receive their free recordings while Riederer keeps a copy in his collection of 500 discs.

“This is my eighth city I’ve been in and it works,” Riederer said. “It’s just magical because it’s really just a seismograph vibrating a diamond etching sound waves on plastic.”

Shinique-Smith’s “Breathing Room” at 1615 Oak. (Photo by Kim Mueller)

Next door to “Never Records,” multimedia artist Shinque Smith created art at 1615 Oak Street. A room-sized canvas is the backdrop for “The Breathing Room” where Smith demonstrates yogic breathing and chant-based vocalization.

In the Crossroads, the Marietta Chair Building lobby, 2020 Baltimore Ave., houses the glass sculpture “Supercolonies,” a massive anthill with snakes created by Calcutta-born artist Rina Banerjee.

Giant metal dream catchers hang in the bar at 21C Museum Hotel, 219 W. Ninth St. New York artist Brad Kahlhamer created “Super Catcher, Vast Array” using wire and bells to depict the Native American tradition of spirit catchers that protect sleepers while dreaming.

Other downtown installations include:

–Denis Rodriguez and Leonardo Remor’s “Waterfall as Cinema” at the Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut St.

–Joyce J. Scott’s large-scale metal sculpture “Arminta” of Harriet Tubman at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd.

–Martin Cail’s painting “Phoebe’s Grace” at 106 Southwest Blvd.,

–Randy Regier’s “Dreams of Flight” mixed media installations at three different sites (River Market Antiques at 115 W. Fifth St., KCAI Crossroads Gallery at 1819 Grand Blvd. and National Museum of Toys and Miniatures at 5235 Oak St.)

Viewing hours, which vary according to location, can be checked on the Open Spaces webpage.

Joyce J. Scott’s “Araminta” at Union Station. (Photo by Kim Mueller)

Open Spaces’s initial $1.6 million funding came from a private-public partnership between the city and co-founders Scott Francis and Susan Gordon as well as the Francis Family Foundation, Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and The Sunderland Foundation.

Open Spaces’ big ticket happens Oct, 12-14 during The Weekend when Starlight Theatre hosts The Roots, Janelle Monáe & Vijay Iyer Sextet.

But urbanites don’t need thrive to Swope Park to enjoy Open Spaces’ performances. Three shows for $20 each will be held downtown.

Audiences can see live experimental theatre at Birdies intimate lingerie shop, 116 W. 18th St., where actor, creator and producer Heidi Van performs Arthur Miller’s “Elegy for a Lady.”

The 30-minute play is about a man seeking a gift for his dying mistress will be limited to six small shows on Sundays and Mondays, Sept 16 – Oct. 7.

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