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Kansas City MO 64131






Cindy Maddera


Kansas City is holding to that whole thing about the first day of summer officially being on June 21st. April showers have been delayed. These days I read the weather report and when it says 30% chance of rain, I think 70% chance of scooter. Yesterday the forecast was 100% scooter and today we're back to 0% chance of scooter. Saturday morning we woke up to yet another day of steady rain. Usually I'm all about crawling back into bed with a good book on those kinds of days, but Michael was all "let's go do something!". After looking up various indoor activities, we decided on a visit to the Kemper Museum for Contemporary Art. It's a museum that I hadn't been too yet, which is crazy because it is a free art museum. FREE ART MUSEUM! The Nelson is also a free art museum by the way. The Kemper is very small compared to the Nelson, but I will say it again, FREE ART MUSEUM. Can I just say that I love that I live in a city that understands the benefits of providing these beautiful spaces of art appreciation to it's citizens? It is a wonderful luxury and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Like I said, the Kemper is small. It does not take long to see the whole of it, but the exhibits rotate frequently. That means there's always something new when you go back. The Kemper also keeps a small stack of floor cushions near the entry way of each room, encouraging people to sit and meditate on any particular bit of art they want and if it hadn't been raining I would have taken full advantage of the hammock sculptures out front. This time we were treated to a video by Barry Anderson, a wonderful Andy Warhol piece and a lovely bright and sunny Georgia O'Keeffe painting. It was nice to walk in and immediately be greeted with a Chihuly sculpture. But my favorite piece on display was a three panel painting by David Bates. The panel depicts the reaction to the events following Hurricane Katrina. It is the painting that I would sit in front of on a floor cushion for hours.

The thing about this painting that draws me in is that each face is so different. Yet they are all expressing some variation of sadness and anger. You see it so clearly in their eyes. Even if you didn't know the story behind this painting, you would know that this group of people were witnessing a terrible event in our history and you see all the sadness and anger this event evoked. But it's more than that for me. It's the concept of even though the faces are so different, the emotion still looks the same. Sadness, anger, joy, love. Each of us are so different and unique in our own way and we all feel and express these emotions the same. It's the thing that connects us, joins us together and builds bridges.

The events that happened during and after Katrina where horrific. There's no pussy footing around it. But there were good things born from this too. People came together to help each other. Beautiful stories of births and survival emerged from the rubble. Determination and love has sprouted up in the rebuilding and healing of that city. Art work like David Bates' reminds us of those horrible times sure, but it also shows us the beauty that can come from suffering.

I think I may be spending more rainy afternoons at the art museums. Happy Love Thursday.