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Happy Birthday to Thomas Hart Benton

benton4_revToday, we remember Thomas Hart Benton on the 125th Anniversary of his birthday. Benton was one of the 20th century’s greatest artists with an unmistakable style in the way he captured American history through art. Born in Neosho, Missouri, Benton was a resident of Kansas City, Missouri from 1935-1975. Many upcoming area events honor Thomas Hart Benton. You can even tour the home he shared with his wife, Rita at 3616 Belleview Avenue in Kansas City. 

Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

April 27, 2pm

  • KCAI’s student-led GRUPPO performs a musical-theater work celebrating Benton’s life, art and music at his historic home courtyard

November 26-December 31

  • Benton-designed, family Christmas cards are on display at his home

The Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall

February 22-June 8

Tuesday, April 29. Reception at 5:30pm, Presentation at 6:30pm

  • Community Curator- Speaker: Steve Sitton, Admin., T.H. Benton Home

Kansas City Art Institute

April 1-30

  • Jannes Library and Learning Center, Benton Books & Photos Display

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

April 19-Oct 12

  • Razzle Dazzle- Display telling the impact of Benton’s U.S. Naval experience in 1918 (as a camoufleur and draftsman) and how this influenced hid development as an artist.

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

May 21-November 16

  • Benton in Black and White- Lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton- View a new exhibition of prints, enjoy old favorites from the museum’s permanent collection of Benton’s art, and visit the library for Benton-related book display.

The Mattie-Rhodes Gallery

May 2 (First Friday) August 8

  • A display showing the influence of the Mexican Social Realist School on Benton’s art and murals.


Tulips on Troost

It’s really happening, Kansas City…spring is upon us! As we welcome a new season, guest blogger Diana Lambdin Meyer shares a story about a spring flower making a special and signficant mark throughout KC.

tulips1 Kansas City is blessed with a number of gardens and public places that herald the arrival of spring with colorful blossoms and delicate fragrances.  While each is to be treasured after such a miserable winter, the tulips on Troost Avenue are more than a gift from Mother Nature – they are a toast to Kansas City’s magnificent past.

Troost Avenue is named for Dr. Benoist Troost who immigrated to Kansas City from the Netherlands in the 1840s. He was the first medical doctor in our young city and became directly involved with planning and building the Kansas City we know today.

Fast forward 165 years or so and Troost Avenue has lost much of its luster. Durwin Rice operated a business for many years on Troost and decided it was time to step up and make a difference.

tulips5He gathered a few friends who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Along with shovels, spades and hand trowels, they planted several hundred tulip bulbs in empty spaces along Troost. That was 2005. Read more

Confessions Of A First-Time Planet Comicon Attendee

 Worlds collided in downtown Kansas City recently when both the Big 12 Championship and Planet Comicon were underway just blocks from one another! Baylor and Iowa State fans were headed to Sprint Center for the Championship game, crossing the paths of costumed fans holding precious items to be autographed by their favorite actors and characters at Bartle Hall. Guest blogger Katy Schamberger shares her story of working the event from the front lines, spending 3 days at a booth working and taking it all in!

Storm troopers. Daleks. Superheroes. Power Rangers. No, Kansas City won’t be the setting for some sort of crazy science fiction movie mash-up. Those were just a few of the (many) sights during last weekend’s Planet Comicon, an annual convention that celebrates all things comics and pop culture.

This year, the festivities encompassed three action-packed days at Kansas City’s Bartle Hall. Lines of people (many of them costumed) stretched through the convention center and out around the block for entrance into the event, which included booths promoting everything from T-shirts and toys to comic books and original art.


Andrews McMeel Publishing

Planet Comicon isn’t just all play—there’s plenty of work to be done, too, for those up-and-coming creators ready to break into the industry. Panel discussions held throughout the event gave attendees an inside look at many facets of comic creation, including webcomics, visual storytelling success, crowdfunding a creative project, filmmaking, breaking into comics, how to market comic strips and much more.

And because no comic convention is complete without a celebrity line-up, Planet Comicon didn’t disappoint! William Shatner was arguably the most anticipated star, along with Star Trek: The Next Generation actors Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn, all of whom appeared as part of the TREK-tacular reunion event.


Darryl “DMC” McDaniels

Favorite Planet Comicon guest Wil Wheaton returned to Kansas City for a panel discussion and autograph signing. Other notable guests included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Lee Majors, Jewel Staite, John Ratzenberger, Margot Kidder, Greg Rucka, Jill Thompson and Scott Snyder, not to mention a number of renowned local writers and artists. And speaking of DMC? Saturday attendees were treated to an impromptu three-song performance that included “Sucker MC’s,” “Walk This Way” and “It’s Tricky.” Best. Concert. Ever.

Read more

KC Parents Kids’ Guide to a fun Kansas City!

Kansas City is a fantastic place for kiddos to play! The arts, culture and thrills that entertain grown-up kids at heart are great for the littlest KC fans as well. Check out a fun and educational agenda for your young ones, courtesy of KC Parent!

Hey kids, fun in Kansas City isn’t just for your parents! You can have a great time, too! We’re a big city and we have something for everyone.

nelsonAre you a budding artist? The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is the place for you. Current exhibits include In the Looking Glass – Recent Daguerreotype Acquisitions, Living with the Spirits – Decorating Homes in Traditional China, History & Hope  - Celebrating the Civil Rights Movement, and Color and Line: Masterworks on Paper. Plan to have lunch in the Rozzelle Court Restaurant then take a stroll through the more than 30 sculptures in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is located at 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO., 64111. You can find more information at

airlineWhen you’re ready for some high-flying fun, the Airline History Museum located at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport will take you on an avionic adventure from the early days of flying to modern jets. The pride of the museum is the Super G Constellation, or “The Connie” for short. The Connie has been restored and will take to the skies next month in a re-creation of Howard Hughes’ inaugural flight in 1944.

During your visit you can also see a Martin 404, a DC3, and an L1011 TriStar.

You can find the Airline History Museum at 201 NW Lou Holland Drive, Kansas City, MO., 64116. Additional details are available at Visit to get more information about The Connie. Read more

Seeing Green: 8 Ways To Get Your Irish Fix In #KC!

St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Kansas City, and not just because we like to have fun. The city has a rich Irish history that dates back to the mid-1800s—and in fact, Kansas City likely wouldn’t look the same today if not for the Irish immigrants that helped build the city in the midst of towering limestone bluffs.

Regardless of whether your family tree includes Irish heritage, there are a number of ways to celebrate all things Irish in Kansas City—including, of course, the biggest local Irish event of the year. Grab your brogues and a pint and let’s explore!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Kansas City Irish Fest

8758665451_a4666bf98cThanks to our sizable Irish population and rich Irish heritage, Kansas City knows how to throw an Irish party. If you’re in town on March 17, the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade isn’t just one of the largest in the U.S.—it’s one heck of a party, too. The parade, which stretches from the Midtown neighborhood to Westport, includes floats, concerts, dance demonstrations and more. And if you can’t bear to get your Irish fix just once a year, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. One of the city’s favorite Labor Day weekend traditions is the Kansas City Irish Fest, a three-day extravaganza of all things Irish at Crown Center. Beer and whiskey tastings, live music, kids’ activities, cultural and historic exhibits, food—Irish Fest has it all.

Kansas City Irish Center
30 Pershing Rd., Suite 700
Kansas City, Mo.

irishWant to learn more about local Irish history? Make plans to visit the Kansas City Irish Center. This hidden cultural gem is in the lower level of Union Station and serves as the hub for all things Irish in Kansas City. Browse a permanent exhibit of Kansas City’s Irish heritage or research your family’s Irish roots using online and printed genealogy resources. The Kansas City Irish Center also offers a number of multimedia programs, including music, classes, demonstrations and more, to help honor the city’s Irish legacy. Learn an Irish dance, sample an array of Irish whiskeys or learn the Irish language, just to name a few options. And if you’re in the market for a souvenir, don’t leave without a stop by the center’s “Wee Little Gift Shop.”

Browne’s Irish Marketplace
3300 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, Mo.

Craving some authentic Irish cuisine? Browne’s Irish Marketplace serves up some of the best in the city! Come for lunch and dig into bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie or Irish potato soup. Or start your Saturday with a traditional Irish breakfast complete with an Irish coffee. When you’re finished eating, be sure to browse Browne’s impressive selection, six-room selection of Irish gifts, including apparel, accessories, home décor and more. Browne’s also hosts events and celebrations throughout the year, including Irish whiskey tastings and an all-day St. Patrick’s Day party.

Boulevard Irish Ale
Locations vary

Brand_Irish_AleWhen you see Boulevard Irish Ale on tap or at the store, you’ll know that the St. Patrick’s Day season has officially begun. And when you do spot it, act quickly—the seasonal beer is only available in early spring (January-March). Boulevard Irish Ale combines six kinds of pale and roasted barley malts in a Midwestern tribute to Ireland’s iconic red ales. Read more

Goin’ to Kansas City for Big 12 Hoops?

bballHoops action is here in Kansas City! Here are 12 things basketball fans need to know before following your team to #KC.

The Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship returns to Kansas City for an unprecedented 13th time, March 12-15. Having hosted the hoops championship more than any other city, KC is no stranger to entertaining Big 12 fans. Before you pack up the foam fingers and follow your team to Kansas City, here’s a look at what’s in store for Championship Week. For more information, visit the Official Fan Information Site.

Six Tips for Basketball Fans

1. Be a part of the game day atmosphere

The official fan fest, Big 12 GameDay presented by Phillips 66, will be located just outside Sprint Center on Grand Boulevard. The free, interactive experience will feature basketball challenges, music, mascots, autograph opportunities and promotional giveaways from the conference’s corporate partners. Go to our Official Fan Information Site for the schedule!

big_12_fan_fest2. Mix and mingle with other basketball fans at P&L

Just across the street from the Championship action at Sprint Center is the Kansas City Power & Light District—eight blocks of restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues. All week long, basketball fans can enjoy free live entertainment during the district’s Miller Lite Basketball Fan Fest. Cheer on your favorite teams at pep rallies inside KC Live!—the open-air venue inside the district. Check out the Kansas City Power & Light Distict’s website for a complete schedule of live entertainment.

Big12_5k_Start_0089-XL3. Take your spirit to the streets

Kansas City’s Big 12 5K Fun Run & Family Stroll will take place on Saturday, March 15. Set in the heart of Big 12 Country, the 5K course will wind around downtown Kansas City through the Power & Light District. The overall male and female winners will receive $1,000 in free gas from Phillips 66 and be recognized at the Championship final.

CBE - Copy4. Test your skills at a hoops hall of fame

Rev up your basketball weekend at The College Basketball Experience. Named one of the nation’s top five interactive museums by Wired magazine, this hands-on facility recreates the intensity of a college basketball game—from foul-line hecklers to last-second buzzer beaters. Show your Big 12 ticket to save $2 on admission. For a schedule of extended March hours, go to

5. Root on your school’s barbecue team

New to the festivities in the Power & Light District this year is Kansas City’s Big 12 BBQ U. The inaugural barbecue competition will pit contestants from each school against each other in a showdown for barbecue bragging rights on Friday, March 14. Come down and cheer on your school’s contestants as they battle to take home the grand prize—the title of Kansas City’s Big 12 BBQ U Grand Champion.

Capture6. Score with social media

Join the college hoops conversation online and you could walk away a winner. Use the Championship’s official hashtags, #BIG12MBB and #KC, to be eligible to win great prizes from the Big 12 Conference and the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association. Learn more by following @VisitKC online.

Six More Things to Check Out!

No one does basketball like Kansas City, the College Basketball Capital of America. In fact, during the month of March, KC hosts more college basketball games than anywhere else in the country—a whopping 58 teams and 54 games in just 15 days. But there’s a whole lot more to this vibrant city than just hoops. Read more

Hilltop History: The Rosedale Memorial Arch

rosedaleaOne of Kansas City’s most recognized monuments is the Liberty Memorial at The World War I Museum. However, there is another World War I monument in Kansas City that sits on the West side of the state line: The Rosedale Memorial Arch. Those who visit the Memorial are struck by its beautiful design and also, the gorgeous view of the Kansas City skyline behind it. Guest blogger Lisa Waterman Gray had the opportunity to help raise funds for this monument’s much-needed restoration in the 1980s and shares her story on saving a piece of Kansas City history.

rosedale2The first inkling you’ll have that the Rosedale Memorial Arch sits nearby is a highway sign before the Rainbow Blvd. and Southwest Blvd. exit off of I-35. From Southwest Boulevard visitors travel up steep Booth Street to an almost hidden entry road called Memorial Drive. Spectacular views of the Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS skylines are available from high inside the tranquil little park that enfolds this lovely monument

Most easily visible amid spotlights after dark, the Rosedale Memorial Arch in Kansas City, KS honors soldiers from the town of Rosedale who served as members of the 42nd Rainbow Division during World War I. The monument is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and based on sketches of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe by a young soldier named John Leroy Marshall. When the Arch was dedicated in 1923 the town of Rosedale had been absorbed by Kansas City, KS.

In 1988, the Rosedale Development Association – a local neighborhood and business group – noticed that the monument was in disrepair. They raised the money needed for a massive restoration project in honor of the Arch’s 65th anniversary, which included a donation through their city councilman. Read more

Step Behind the Scenes of 7 Kansas City Movies

Oscar night is nearly here! If you’re a movie fan in Kansas City, you’re likely caffeinating in preparation for a Best Picture Showcase all-nighter at AMC Theaters, or perhaps getting ready by preparing your Academy Award bracket and your “who are you wearing?”-worthy outfit! Kansas City has a rich arts culture that has inspired greats like Walt Disney to set up shop here and an inspired history in which filmmakers set the scene to tell a story to the world. Whether based on actual events or pure make-believe, several feature films have focused on Kansas City and the lives of people who have lived here. And much to the delight of moviegoers, there’s plenty to see after the credits roll. Go behind the scenes of these seven films by retracing the people and places in Kansas City that inspired them.

  1. “42”— This feature film tells the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947 and was the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Before he wore jersey no. 42 for the Dodgers, he was no. 5 for the Kansas City Monarchs. Learn more about Jackie and other legends at KC’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The day before the national release, film star Harrison Ford will present a special advance screening of “42” in Kansas City to benefit the museum and the Kansas City Sports Commission. (Tickets are sold out. For more information, visit
  1. amelia“Amelia” (2009)—This biopic stars Oscar winner Hilary Swank in the role of Atchison, Kan., native Amelia Earhart. Known as one of the world’s most celebrated aviators, Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison provides an insightful look at the pilot’s early life, from childhood mementos to family photos, plus information about her 1937 disappearance. The city’s Amelia Earhart Festival each July celebrates her legacy with aviation displays, aerobatic performances and live concerts.
  1. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007)—Brad Pitt plays the part of the infamous James in this Western, which is one of more than 20 movies to feature the American outlaw. Visitors can follow in his footsteps at the Jesse James Farm & Museum in Kearney, Mo., and his home in St. Joseph, Mo., which features the bullet hole from his assassination. Another noteworthy site is the Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Mo., where the James gang executed the first U.S. daylight bank robbery during peacetime.
    *Nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role and Cinematography Read more

An Olympic Experience in Kansas City

The 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close on Sunday, but you can still carry a torch for the games by participating in Olympic activities right here in Kansas City! Guest blogger Ellen Schwartze shares a few ways you can enjoy the spirit of the Olympics mere miles from your own home. 

Hi, my name is Ellen, and I LOVE THE OLYMPICS.

My heart goes pitter-pat at the thought of racing around some ice, flying down a mountain or waiting for that perfect curling throw to softly land right where it’s supposed to. Lucky for me — and for you! — all of those things can be experienced right here in my favorite city. So if you find yourself crying a single large, blue tear at the close of this year’s Winter Games, try one of these activities to cheer you up.

Ice Skating at Crown Center Ice Terrace


Photo by David Arbogast.

While there are several ice rinks open year-round in the KC metro, the Ice Terrace at Crown Center has my heart. The atmosphere is straight out of an early-90’s rom-com: open air skating, trees lit up, and the city skyline in view. Not to mention Crown Center just across the street. Any good Olympian knows that Topsy’s Popcorn or Sheridan’s Frozen Custard is as good as any medal.

Skiing and Snowboarding at Snow Creek


Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

If “fresh powder” sports are more your style, head up to Snow Creek, about a 40-minute drive from downtown in Weston, MO. Three lifts await to ferry you up the mountainside, where all levels of slopes await you. You’ll find me pretending I know what I’m doing as I barrel down a blue slope, but athletes of all skill levels can find a route to master. And if you’d rather be a spectator, the chili fries are fantastic.

Curling with KC Curling Club at Line Creek Community Center


Photo by Ellen Schwartze

Curling has been around for more than a century, but the world discovered it (and collectively said, “what IS it?”) during the last winter games in Vancouver. The game seems comical: brooms, stones, yelling — what does it all mean? KC Curling Club will teach you all of that! The two hour “Learn to Curl” class is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the sport, starting from how to walk on the ice all the way to proper sweeping technique. The last part of the class is a mini-game between you and your fellow classmates. You might want to start working on your curling calls now.

Ready? Go, Team #KC!

EllenEllen loves #downtownkc, where she works at the Mid-America Regional Council, lives in the River Market, and plays at Kansas City Central Library. You can find her biking down to Alamo Drafthouse to watch something she’s already seen, or down to the Boulevard para hablar con su grupo de hispanohablantes. The way to her heart is through Burrito Brothers’ front door. Tweeting random thoughts at @EllenSaysHola and downtown love for the Downtown Neighborhood Association (@dnakcmo).

A Visitor’s Perspective: Black History in KC

This article originally appeared on Black Chick On Tour: Adventures of a Travel Addict and was republished with permission.

18th and Vine Signage

Anyone who has heard me talk about Kansas City know that I have nothing but love for this city. It’s friendly, there’s plenty to do, and there  is a ton of great restaurants, and of course there’s barbecue:)Kansas City made it as my favorite new city that I visited in 2013. So, I wasn’t surprised that it made it as one of Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2014.” It has a vibrant black American community, and there is a ton of black history.

Kansas City’s history seems to be a city that fits my personality. A person who hates to see injustice, and believes it should be irradicated by any means necessary, but also a person who’s seen her fair share of partying all night long, till the break of dawn. So, I will start with the fighting to irradiate injustice, and end with music and drinks. :D

Before the outbreak of the American Civil War, the territory of Kansas had been the scene of fighting between pro-slavery and antislavery forces.

The town of Quindaro, in what is now Kansas City, Kansas was founded in 1856 as a port of entry for escaping slaves. Quindaro became an important station on the Underground Railway, with slaves escaping crossing Missouri river.

After the end of Reconstruction, racial oppression and rumors of the reinstitution of slavery led many blacks to seek a new place to live. The first major migration to the North of ex-slaves was in 1879. Thousands of blacks fled the South. They headed for the homesteading lands of Kansas, and the land of John Brown, an abolitionist who advocated, and “practiced” armed insurrection as a means to abolish all slavery.


Advertisement for “Colored” People to come to Kansas, the land of John Brown. This is document is in The Black Archives of Mid-America.

John Brown gained attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas in retaliation of pro-slavery advocates raiding the free-soil town to Lawrence, Kansas, killing two people, burning down a hotel, and destroying two printing presses.

Statue of John Brown

Statue of John Brown

A statue dedicated in tribute to John Brown stands at the corner of 27th & Sewell Streets, in Kansas City, KS. Nearby is home to the ruins of Quindaro. The ruins of Quindaro now belong to the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the City of Kansas City, Kansas. There is a stone platform overlooking the ruins, but the ruins themselves may only be visited by prearranged tour. Read more


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