Seventh Annual Art in the Loop Blossoms with Poppie-Wrapped Streetcar

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Hope & Gratitude, a work by artist Ada Koch, was wrapped on a streetcar last week and is now rolling as part of the Art in the Loop event. (Photo courtesy KC Streetcar Authority)

This summer’s Art in the Loop program is finally rolling in full thanks to the weekend debut of a streetcar wrapped in poppies, probably the most visible aspect of the annual downtown art event.

“Hope & Gratitude” a vivid graphic by artist Ada Koch, who has used poppies as a theme for a variety of other artworks, is now a wrap after weeks of Covid 19-related delays which hampered the launch of Art in the Loop.

Her work, which is accompanied by a poem written for the occasion by Glenn North, is one of many Art in the Loop commissions decorating streetcar stops and other locations in including the City Market through September.

“This year we took away the project theme to allow artists greater freedom,” Bo Hubbard, art director for Art in the Loop, said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to present artwork representing a variety of mediums, themes and aesthetics.

“You will see a playful reinvention of ginger as a giant sculpture and imagined landscapes presented via digital animation.”

The Hope & Gratitude streetcar outside Union Station where many World War I and World War II soldiers and sailors traveled through on their way to duty.

Koch said her inspiration for wrapping a streetcar in poppies came from Kansas City’s close connection to World War I because of the museum and memorial located here.

The flower is associated with what was then called The Great War by the well-known poem “In Flanders Fields” written Lt. Col John McCrae, a Canadian physician, during the war.

“I would like to bring the poppy into the urban core to encourage the community to give thanks to those who have served, to feel positive about our community and country, and to celebrate our pride in the historic support of Kansas City veterans,” Koch stated in her application.

She described her work as “big, bold red flowers painted in a happy carefree style, that will catch the viewers’ attention.”

S.P.O.G.G. (Shiny Piece of Giant Ginger) by Will Vanerson is installed in the City Market. (Image courtesy Downtown Council)

“People say that more than half of all veterans in WWI and WWII passed through Union Station during the wars. How fitting to have a streetcar stop right in front of Union Station.”

The collaboration with North is the result of the artist and poet working together on projects that have brought awareness of violence in Kansas City, she said in her application. Copies of North’s poem, “Standing Strong,” will be available on the streetcar.

The other works included in this year’s Art in the Loop:

● Barry Anderson​, W​aiting Rooms,​ ​(KCity Post Kiosks)
● Ari Bonner​, O​ut of Sight, Out of (My) Mind ​(Union Station Stop)
● Robert Castillo,​ H​old​ (Power & Light District Stop)
● Megan Ganey​,​ S​o Long & Good Luck​ (River Market West Stop)
● Nazanin Amiri Meers​, ​Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines​ (Kauffman Southbound Stop)
● William Plummer, Mol Mir, Steph Nowotarski and Jason Pollen,​ P​lanaria Passages​ ​(Metro
Center Northbound Stop)
● Jessica Rogers,​ ​ 3​ 6/36 Series, Quilt Patterns (​Crossroads Southbound Stop)
● Hubbard Savage​,​ M​y Dungeon Shook: A Portrait of James Baldwin​ (Library Southbound Stop)
● Will Vannerson​, ​Shiny Piece of Giant Ginger or S.P.O.G.G.​ (City Market)

The Covid-19 pandemic not only delayed the opening of this year’s Art in the Loop program, it has forced organizers to cancel three performance-based works.

So Long & Good Luck, an art installation by Megan Ganey, is at the River Market West streetcar stop.

“The pandemic has impacted our ability to produce place-based performance art; it has also resulted in a decrease in funding from government-related sources,” organizers said in an earlier press release announcing the event.

The organizers are working to raise additional funds through private donations and corporate contributions.

A virtual kick-off event for Art in the Loop is scheduled for July 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Art in the Loop is supported by the KC Streetcar Authority, the City of Kansas City, the Missouri Arts Council, Arts KC, the Missouri Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and private contributions.

Project partners include the Downtown Council, Downtown CID, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Art Institute, Union Station, the City Market and the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

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