Independence’s Darkwood House Gallery shines a spotlight on ‘dark arts’

Wet Specimens And Oddities By Resident Artist Simone Smith, Darkwood House Gallery

Wet Specimens And Oddities By Resident Artist Simone Smith, Darkwood House Gallery. // Photo by Darren Hinesley

The Darkwood House Gallery is a home for Kansas City’s beautiful and weird. And the really weird.

The Independence-based art space (10916 E Winner Road) specializes in the often-overlooked dark art and strives to give a platform to artists who may otherwise go unseen.

Darkwood House gallerist and artist Darren Hinesley—whose friends sometimes refer to as Haunter Darren—is the exhibit’s primary operator. He used to design haunted houses before turning the corner into a position that allows the dark art of Kansas City to come out of the shadows.

“Some of the other more conventional galleries might not deal with the subject matter because it is sometimes rather dark and mysterious,” Hinesley says. “We say ‘dark art,’ but that also includes any sort of fringe art. The artists themselves are certainly an interesting group, too.”

Local artists are given the spotlight here, with Darkwood House Gallery also priding itself in its allyship with local LGBTQ+ artists “across generations and disciplines.”

“It feels like it’s a bit of a clubhouse or something. A little speakeasy of these people—we’re all pretty introverted,” Hinesley says. “Some of the artists—they’ve never shown anywhere before. So, I try to help guide them into how best to display their pieces, and then when they do get a sale… it is just so rewarding to see that happening. That they’re able to create something that is not only special to them, but it’s special to somebody else, where they are able to take that.”

Though the dark art is the space’s primary draw, it doubles as a space for a number of activities for those looking to dive deeper into art, including creative classes, speakers and musicians, fashion shows, ghost story nights, and, as Hinesley promises, “even the occasional séance.”

Hinesley’s goal is to attract as many new artists as Darkwood House can handle. The gallery itself opened to the public in August 2020, but pandemic-related concerns have kept many of these events restricted.

“Because of the pandemic we had been holding only private art shows and events, it’s only been since last summer that we’ve been able to have somewhat regular business hours,” Hinesley says.

The space is open on Fridays, Saturdays, occasionally Sundays, and for scheduled events, with more information available on the gallery’s official website. Hinesley hopes to expand Darkwood House’s hours in the future.

Categories: Art