To live and dye in the Crossroads, open studios in the West Bottoms, plus strong photography: August’s First Friday is tonight

If you’re heading out tonight for First Friday, you can take your pick of crowds to: the Livestock Exchange Building (1600 Genessee, in the West Bottoms) is hosting open studios from 4:30 to 9 p.m., with at least 20 artists — plus a few folks who have massage-therapy businesses — opening their doors to show off their practices, their products and their personalities. Visiting studios provides insight that opening nights often can’t. Hours continue Saturday, August 5: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., coinciding with the West Bottoms “12th Street Entertainment District” First Festival Weekend, with live music, extra food trucks and most of the antique and other warehouse-based shops open.

The other major crowd option is, of course, the Crossroads, where a number of shows are hitting the theme of taking a step back — to contemplate, to renew, to survive today’s uncomfortable truths. For example, the Kansas City Society for Contemporary Photography has a large show focused on how people find peace and “center” in the main gallery at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore).

Photography lovers will also want to see Mudras at Leedy-Voulkos; American Farmer (only today, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2018 Baltimore); Tonja Torgerson’s large-scale work at Fraction Print Studio & Exhibition Space (130 West 18th Street); and Hank Young at the Box Gallery (1000 Walnut).

Other highlights include: Sachi Nagase’s Symbiosis, Breaching installation at Front/Space (217 West 18th Street); performances at Leedy-Voulkos (2012 Baltimore); new work by Steve Pistone at Todd Weiner Gallery (115 West 18th Street); and Neil Goss’ Hempen Reforestation at Vulpes Bastille (1737 Locust), an exhibition that embodies Goss’ personal motto — “Live and Dye Naturally” — in grand scale through an impressive series of woven installations. 

David Jones (1717 Walnut) is hosting Bonnye Brown, who started an art class in her back yard about six years ago to reach young people who wanted to pursue art as a career. Brown reports that her first students, who were in middle school back then, are all in college now, majoring in engineering, architecture, animation and art education. The show opening August 4 is by the last of the original group, now high school seniors. 

First Friday events and openings below, open tonight except as indicated. 

Kale Van Leeuwen

Apex Arts Space, 1819 Wyandotte

New paintings based on photography of the top of the artist’s table


ArtsKC, 106 Southwest Boulevard

Latest paintings by Joe Bussell, through August 24

William Willmott

Atomic Design, 706 East 19th Street

A Study of Sky and Structure

Beggar’s Table, 2010 Baltimore, second floor

New work by Adam Crowley

Jasper Johns: Prints

Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut

Dozens of prints spanning 40 years of the artist’s output are out of storage and on view through September 2

Bridges and Gaps: The Annual Red Star Resident Exhibition

Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy

An exhibition of functional and sculptural ceramic work by Emily Connell, Kelly Lynn Daniels, Christina Erives, Hiromi Iyoda, Wen Dan Lin and Sarah Jewell Olsen, on view through August 5

Things Left Undone, William Rainey

Clay Dance, Theresa Robinson

Water’s Edge, Robert Roth

The Water Seekers, Teresa Stanley

Blue Gallery, 118 Southwest Boulevard

Through August 28

Hank Young: People + Places

The Box Gallery, 1000 Walnut

Hank Young’s 50-year career as a photographer of athletes, everyday people and the places they inhabit has taken him around the world. Through September 22. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; a First Friday reception is August 4, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Kerry Smith: Off the Record

Cerbera Gallery, 2011 Baltimore

Inspired by Beck’s 2015 Grammy award for best album, Kerry Smith uses gouache and oil stick to depict versions of album covers that have gained recent national attention. Join the artist at his first Kansas City solo exhibition August 4, 4-9 p.m.


Fraction Print Studio, 130 West 18th Street (inside Oracle)

Tonja Torgerson’s large-scale photographs capture screen printed figures who have succumbed to their damaged surroundings. Open through August 23.


Front Space Gallery, 217 West 18th Street

A collection of new work by Sachi Nagase reference growth and the chemical effects humans have on their surroundings by drawing attention to dust motes and other microscopic things.

Gazing at Truth

Gallery 504-Crossroads KC, 504 East 18th Street

Seth M. Jones

Real Women

Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee

Chuck Miller says of his paintings: “I grew up in a time that real women had curves. I don’t subscribe to society’s perception of what a woman has to be, but I do have a view on what I consider beautiful, classic, and strong.” A collection of his nudes is on view through August 26.

The Real Deal Artist

Jones Gallery, 1717 Walnut

Art director Bonnye Brown curates work by eight high school seniors she has been mentoring and teaching.

Revolutionary Awakening

KCAI Crossroads Gallery, 1819 Grand

Two series by Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin, including My Mother’s Club: March on Kansas City about the history of African-American women’s social clubs here. Open through August 4.

Mudras The Hand celebrates its fourth anniversary with a selection of prints (see above) and photographs by artists who are featured in the pages of the latest issue, No. 17. Adam Finkelston and James Meara present work by 45 artists from Kansas City, the Midwest, California, Texas, Germany and more.

Embracing Simplicity: Calligraphy, ceramics and Chinese paintings by Wang Sha, curated in the U.S. by Jim Leedy

Portal: Elaborate ceramic sculptures referencing the portal fantasy literary genre by Emily Nickel

Sanctuaries: Print and sound installation by Kristine Barrett, with woven textiles by Debbie Barrett-Jones. Live performance with traditional songs of Serbia, Ukraine and other countries, 6-9 p.m. August 4.

Finding Peace Finding Center: A Kansas City Society for Contemporary Photography member exhibition with work by 32 artists who were asked to respond to the phrase “In such tumultuous times we move toward centeredness and strive for calm in our work and lives,” offering “perspectives on finding peace and center.”

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore

Maggie Dallmeyer Hopper and Smitha George

Main Street Gallery, 1610 Main

Opening reception August 5, 5-8 p.m.

First Friday at MOD

MOD Gallery & Space, 1809 McGee

At Home, Out of Place by Beth Lo

Summer Invitational group show

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004 Baltimore

Ky Anderson, Jane Booth, Marcus Cain, Patty Carroll, Laura Fayer, Damon Freed, Rain Harris, Molly Herman, Curt Hoard, Michiko Itatani, Jun Kaneko, Mike Lyon, Ethan Meyer and Carol Stewart. Beth Lo’s ceramics and mixed-media collages are about family, identity and fitting in or being perpetually uncomfortable due to straddling cultures as an Asian American. Through August 19.

Wired in Wonderland Steve Pistone

Todd Weiner Gallery, 115 West 18th Street

A new series of wire sculptures and wire drawings brings Alice in Wonderland alive for the perpetual “tea time.” Also in the gallery: On This Earth by Genevieve Flynn and Sarah Hearn.

First Friday at Veritable Art KC

Veritable Art KC, 2012 Baltimore, Ste. 303

Open First Fridays 6-9 p.m. and by appointment, Vertitable Art KC (Lori Raye Erickson and Christel Highland) presents innovative works by established regional artists. August includes watercolors by Mark Allen (and homemade bread).

Hempen Reforestation

Vulpes Bastille, 1737 Locust

Neil Goss examines the fossil fuel–extraction industry, deforestation and cotton production by using naturally dyed hemp fiber and clay to create monumental sculptural weavings. Open 6-10 p.m. August 4 and by appointment (

Categories: Art