A glass bridge is suspended above a field of 9,000 red poppies, each flower representing 1,000 soldiers who died in the Great War. This living symbol is one of the many powerful exhibits within the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, the only museum in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to World War I and dedicated by Congress as the nation's official World War I museum in 2004. Named one of the top 25 museums in the U.S. in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards, the Museum is also rated the No. 1 attraction in Kansas City.
Designed by Ralph Appelbaum, who also lent his expertise to such landmarks as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National World War I Museum integrates first-person accounts into a narrative that flows through its permanent and visiting exhibitions. The Museum's collection comprises World War I artifacts such as field artillery, a 1917 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and unopened cigarette packs from a 1914 Princess Mary Christmas Box. The Museum also includes Over There Caf? and a comprehensive gift store.
Fire. Hammers. A pottery wheel. Some of humanity?s most elemental and primitive tools, yet into the 21st century they remain. And Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design Director Of Education Programs, Luanne Rimel, attests that they?re some of the coolest. With each season?s catalog of classes, some of the most popular, according to Rimel, let students play with fire, hammer metal into jewelry, or shape a lump of clay into something as fundamentally beautiful as a baby seal mimicking the Mona Lisa?s wry smirk.
At Craft Alliance, the focus is art in all its forms. Whether the tool is the raw flame fusing cut copper or a Mac loaded with Photoshop image-editing software, the intention to inspire and to create remains the same. Its two locations schedule seasonal terms with four- to six-week classes, as well as intensive workshops and children?s classes. Guiding each student along his or her adventure, skilled faculty instruct from experience. Most are working artists who exhibit their work and who have reaped their experience from the trenches of the art world.
Craft Alliance is not just empowering people with knowledge; they are also helping people make mugs, bowls, wooden spinning tops, rings, rugs, and digital photo albums. Many of these things are practical and serve a functional purpose. But many do not?they?re just beautiful things, like vestigial tails. A good number of these pieces are created by hand and are meant to remind us, as Rimel remarked, that everyone can do something different from their everyday, workaday lives by adding beauty to a world that truly needs it.
The student and faculty artists are the backbone of the Craft Alliance community, which in 2014 celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Grand Center location represents a regeneration of an arts district already pillared by the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Powell Symphony Hall, and St. Louis University.
With 3,400 square feet devoted to the fine art of mud molding, Springfield Pottery hosts the works of well-known clayshapers from across the country. Stop in and peruse a selection of tumblers ($18–$28) and pick up spoons to show babies how to fling caviar with gusto ($5–$42). Purchase a pottery mug from Justin Rothshank ($39) or stock up on wooden bowls from Brad McCullum and outfit miniature dollhouses with makeshift hot tubs ($60–$90).
Known for its history as a pioneer town and home to former president Harry S. Truman, Independence welcomes visitors to its storied sites, making them more accessible with free trolley rides. Tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home and Museum to glimpse a dwelling for law breakers next to a dwelling for a law keeper, and the clandestine tryst between the abodes that resulted in a museum. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate preserves many of the original art and furnishings of the famed Bingham and Waggoner families, while the National Frontier Trails Museum hails the starting point of the westbound pioneers with bronzed pieces of nuts, raisins, and chocolate bits tracing a path westward.
With a plethora of frame and mat samples, Deck The Walls can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for around $100), dorm-room movie posters sparkle (many 24"x36" pieces are well under $100), and sports jerseys shine (most for under $350). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. Deck The Walls' lifetime guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
The nonprofit organization of Summit Art, Inc. and its 80-artist collective manage Got Art Gallery on Third, an independent nonprofit gallery that works closely with local artists and is dedicated to enriching the cultural landscape of citizens in Lee?s Summit and the South Jackson County area. Gallery director and mixed-media artist Teresa Hogan Keene covers exposed brick walls with rotating exhibitions that showcase artists skilled in photography, painting, and mixed-media creations.
At the back of the gallery, a classroom hosts adult students learning to paint in BYOB sessions, where they can sip libations such as wine or flavored watercolors, as well as classes aimed at teaching drawing and acrylics to children and teens.