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Arts and Culture in Kansas City - From Contemporary Galleries to Military Museums

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One of the reasons Kansas City is known as “The Paris of the Plains” is because its cultural scene is so strong. The city’s elaborately sculpted fountains are a public symbol of its appreciation for the arts. You can also explore acclaimed museums devoted to military history, admire modern art, and wander through hip neighbourhoods with independent galleries.

The art scene


Art of all kinds abounds in Kansas City. The city’s Art in the Loop initiative has led to the installation of vibrant murals and thought-provoking sculptures throughout the downtown area. There are also many traditional and contemporary galleries to visit if you prefer to appreciate art in a more conventional setting.


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


You’ll find European, American, and Asian paintings and sculpture within this grand neoclassical-style building, which was built in 1933. Be sure to take a peek at the massive shuttlecock sculptures on its front lawn.


4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO 64111Tel: +1 816 751 1278


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website


Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art


Inside this contemporary museum constructed with concrete, steel, and glass, you can check out rotating exhibits of established and emerging artists. Its permanent collection includes works by celebrated 20th-century artists including Georgia O’Keefe and Andrew Wyeth.


4420 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111. Tel: +1 816 753 5784


Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art website

Historic museums


Kansas City’s vibrant museum scene is chock full of cultural venues that reflect the city's passions, from its love of jazz to its dedication to baseball. You’ll also find shrines commemorating world wars and celebrating man’s capacity for innovation. In some cases, such as the National World War I Museum, striking museum buildings are part of the attraction.


The National World War I Museum and Memorial


You can explore the history of the Great War through checking out this museum’s artefacts and exhibits, presented with an international sensibility. When you’re done, why not climb to the top of Liberty Memorial Tower for a panoramic city view?


100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, MO 64108. Tel: +1 816 888 8100


The National World War I Museum and Memorial website


National Airline History Museum


Located on the grounds of the Charles B. Wheeler downtown airport, this museum lets you get close to several restored versions of decommissioned passenger planes. You’ll also see uniforms and equipment from a bygone era of flight.


201 NW Lou Holland Dr., Kansas City, MO 64116. Tel: +1 816 421 3401


National Airline History Museum website


Kansas City performing arts


Kansas City’s varied performing options reveal a more sophisticated side of America’s heartland. You’ll find world-class ballet, classical music, and opera in settings that range from grand to rustic. KC also hosts many family-friendly music concerts, while smaller performing arts venues scattered about the city offer a little local flavor.


Kauffman centre for the Performing Arts


There are 2 different performance halls within this futuristic tent-like structure. Muriel Kauffman Theatre is the home of the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, while Helzberg Hall hosts the Kansas City Symphony and travelling performance groups.


1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108. Tel: +1 816 994 7200


Kauffman centre for the Performing Arts website


Kansas City Starlight Theatre


If you make a trip to Kansas City in the summertime, you can catch touring Broadway productions under the stars at this outdoor performing arts venue.


4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Tel: +1 816 363 7827


Kansas City Starlight Theatre website


Crossroads Arts District


This trendy neighbourhood just south of Kansas City’s downtown loop is packed with compact art galleries nestled between hip restaurants and boutique shops. Art occasionally spills out onto the streets, as the galleries work with each other to form an outdoor neighbourhood gallery on the first Friday of every month.


Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art


This intimate museum has been displaying modern works from emerging and established artists since 1985. Expect to see paintings, sculpture, and rotating artist exhibitions.


2004 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, MO 64108. Tel: +1 816 221 2626


Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art website