December’s First Friday is all about art to take home, whether you give it a present or keep it for yourself
Artists always need sales, and art is something you can buy — for yourself, for others, in any season — likely to deliver joy and contentment long after the iPhone 7 is obsolete or a year’s worth of steak-club tenderloins have been digested. If you sat out Black Friday, were traveling on Small Business Saturday, ran up debt to hit Cyber Monday, or overslept come Giving Tuesday, you can still share your holiday love with Kansas City’s galleries and artists. Nearly every work on view every First Friday (and, really, always) ultimately has a price tag, and December brings a special push.
For example, the holiday show at Todd Weiner Gallery (115 West 18th Street), opening from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 2, features work priced up to $500 by local and regional artists such as Russell Easterwood, David Gant, Tanya Lueck, Hugh Merrill, Dennis Lee Mitchell, Steve Pistone and Dave Root.
Highly tangible offerings can be had at Belger Crane Yard Studios (2011 Tracy), open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, where there are specials on clay, tools, equipment and glazes. Sculpture and pottery (and prints) are at Erica Iman Studio (4 Westport Road) from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. (The nearby Maker Goods and Urban Mining also will be open.) KC Clay Guild hosts its 34th annual holiday pottery sale at its 200 West 74th Street location, starting Friday (6-9 p.m.) and continuing Saturday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-5 p.m.).
It wouldn’t be December without the biannual Kansas City Art Institute end-of-semester show and sale. The various departments are open on campus (4415 Warwick Boulevard) from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The KCAI Warehouse (4218 North Walnut) is also open, with pieces from the school’s fiber department and other artists.
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore) has an artist shop open year-round, but through January 7 its Opie Gallery features additional offerings for its Handcrafted Holiday. You’ll see pieces by Kristopher Clark, Lori Raye Erickson, Christel Highland, Jenny Meyer-McCall, Rachel O’Flannagan, Angie Pickman, Travis Porter (the Porterhaus), Diane Tompkins (Tag Team Tompkins) and others. Open Thursday through Saturday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) and on First Friday (6-9 p.m.), it’s also where you’ll see a new solo exhibition by Diane Henk.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2
106 Southwest Boulevard
From 6 to 9 p.m., works on view by artists in the Now Showing program.
Blue Djinn Gallery
1400 Union Avenue (West Bottoms)
Fiber art and watercolors by Brenda Burns; serigraphs (screenprints) and sculptures by Doc Snyder. Open 6-9 p.m.
Buttonwood Art Space
Vibrant showcases works by the Joplin Regional Artist Coalition. Opening reception: 5-9 p.m.
405 Southwest Boulevard
Hearts Social Club, Skateboard Edition is a group exhibition doubling as a fundraiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital’s art-therapy program. Featuring more than 80 local artists, including Stacy Hoyt, Danny Kobzantsey (Whispering Danny), Tyler Moody, Donald “Scribe” Ross and Devan Sisemore, the auction opens for a preview at 6 p.m., with bidding ($100-$300) from 7 to 8 p.m. All proceeds go to supporting the art program.
217 West 18th Street
In Perfect Sunset (there’s nothing sad about it), Dallas artist Kristen Cochran wants to think about endings. Using sound, sculpture, videos and images, she presents retirement parties — starting with her grandfather’s, from the 1990s — happy hours, sunsets and other things that suggest loss and moving on. She will be there for parties at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. First Friday.
504 East 18th Street
Tracer Heights provides the musical backdrop for tonight’s event, centered on free works by artists who have placed at least six discoverable pieces in public spaces. It’s from 6 to 9 p.m.
H&R Block Artspace
16 East 43rd Street
Seasonal beverages are poured during a 3-5 p.m. open house, alongside The Stranger’s Notebook by Dawit L. Petros and A Mark Worth Making. The gallery stays open through 8 p.m.
Paintings by LauraLi Imel and Phil Schmidt opened November 30. The gallery has generous hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 9 p.m. First Friday.
Kansas City Central Library
14 West 10th Street
Cuba Bound: Photographs by Jesse A. Fernandez features a selection of evocative images taken by the renowned Cuba-born photographer. On First Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m., the library presents holiday music, hot cocoa and cider, and a sketch-the-walls reception for adults and children.
KC Skyline Realty
Art in the Loop Project Connect showcases videos of work (art installations and performances) commissioned for the streetcar route this past summer. See them all from 6 to 8 p.m.; among the highlights are “Hempen Support: Vines of Passion” by Neil Goss; “Walking on Eggshells Mandala” by Alison M. Greene; “Connections” by Jon Johnson; “The Inspired Pedestrians” by Elizabeth Sterling; and “Downtown Replay” by Tom Hipp, Jonathan Robertson and Lauren Thomspon. A video by Cody Hunt summarizes all 27 such projects.
The Late Show Gallery
Travis Pratt takes over the space with site-specific installations and the unexpected. The reception for Here, Now or at the Late Show is from 6 to 10 p.m.
Night Blooms Darkroom, Bookstore & Coffee
529 Southwest Boulevard
Dee Cook’s California Photos involves a vintage photo-print process with toned cyanotypes and salt-silver papers; the series explores solitary figures set in forests and beaches. Opening reception: 6-9 p.m.
1613 Genessee (West Bottoms)
New York artist Gordon Hall presents slides and a talk about works he has contextualized in various categories, including “Objects Make Bodies,” “Witness or Audience” and “Shadows.” He speaks at 8 p.m.
The front gallery is a one-stop snapshot experience of works by current and former resident artists. The opening reception (5-9 p.m.) includes Ricky Allman, Barry Anderson, Miki Baird, Matthew Dehaemers, Marcie Miller Gross, Dylan Mortimer, Garry Noland, Brett Reif, Colby K Smith, Debra M. Smith, Gerry Trilling, May Tveit, Peter Warren and Hye Young Shin.