June art preview: where to go and what to see this First Friday and beyond

June brings with it an impressive group of exhibitions of world-renowned and emerging local artists, explorations of religion, magic, and sexuality, and some unconventional materials and locations. Before you head to the lake, go see some art.

30 Americans

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The list of artists in this exhibition is a veritable who’s who of 20th Century Black American artists: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, many more. For those interested in contemporary art and/or invested in the way our culture is shaped (so: everyone), this exhibit is a must-see. The Nelson is leaning hard into community programming with this exhibit; check out its website for all the discussions and events planned this summer.

Open June 1 through August 25. (Tickets or museum membership required.) 4525 Oak St.



H&R Block Artspace

With themes of experience, memory, place, history, and race, this exhibit does not shy away from big questions. Nineteen local artists weigh in with their painting, photography, print, sculpture, and installation work. Prepare to be inspired by some of the most thought-provoking artists working in Kansas City today.

Opening reception Friday, June 7, 6 p.m.– 8 p.m. On view through August 31. 16 E. 43rd St.

Museum of Everyday

Ivy House

Which aspects of the traditional museum experience do we take for granted? Here, Sophia Reed ponders what has been normalized at museums over time and reimagines the possibilities of that experience. Repurposing historical tropes like gilt frames, she challenges expectations and invites a new perspective with her paintings, ceramics, and sculptures.

Opening reception Friday, June 7, 6 p.m.–9 p.m. 3743 Main St. 

Paper Cuts

Imagine That!

Torn-up paper repurposed into witty, beautiful, and weird art? Yes, please! Imagine That! — a nonprofit art studio catering to adults with developmental disabilities — highlights its prolific artists in this all-collage exhibit. The nonprofit also invited community members to make their own collages in May to exhibit on their Community Collage Wall upstairs at IT HQ.

Opening reception Friday, June 7, 6 p.m.– 9 p.m. 2010 McGee St.

New prayers for old feelings


Anna Dunhill is a Melbourne-based artist whose multidisciplinary work “investigates the possibilities of queering religious ritual,” according to her website. She’s coming to Kansas City to share small-scale textiles and ceramics, having dug clay in her backyard in Melbourne to create ceramics to display in Kansas City. She will also use Kansas City plant materials for solar dyeing and weaving during the exhibit. If you like the idea of creatively, even meditatively, using the materials that surround us, this exhibit is for you.

Opening reception Friday, June 7, 6 p.m.–9 p.m. 217 W. 18th St.


Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

Ryan Wilks, whose 2016 project Gender Treason featured large, colorful portraits of queer Kansas Citians, presents works “inspired by the deity, Lilith as told by Solomonic grimoire.” Expect themes of sexuality and magic.

Artist reception Saturday, June 8, 5 p.m.– 7 p.m. On view through July 27. 2012 Baltimore Ave.

The Drawing Club

Open House

After last year’s Zine Con, a group of KC and Lawrence artists found a shared need for accountability in their creative practices, so they founded Drawing Club. This month at Open House, those artists bring their club to the public. Accompanying a group exhibition of their drawings and zines is a weekly communal drawing session. Make new friends and doodle at the same time.

Opening reception Saturday, June 8, 6 p.m.–9 p.m. Drawing club is June 14 and June 21, time TBA. 4419 State Line Rd.


Big Top!

Neighborhood Artists Residency

In a building on Troost that has been a convenience store, a phone store, and a payday lender, the Neighborhood Artist Residency launched last year and began working with the surrounding community to build relationships and create arts opportunities. Big Top is an all-ages event welcoming folks in to see what they’ve been up to. There will be sidewalk games, spoken word performance, bread making, mural painting, and more.

Saturday, June 8, 3 p.m.–9 p.m. 4001 Troost Ave.

Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020

Kemper Museum

How many things can you do with paper? Artists who identify as women and live in a 150-mile radius of Kansas City were invited to submit their paper-based works for consideration in this exhibition. Museum-goers have the opportunity to see fresh works from local artists; those artists, many of whom are emerging or underrepresented, have an opportunity to reach a greater audience. Win for all. The exhibit is a collaboration between the Kemper Museum and the Greater Kansas City Area Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Open Friday, June 14 through Sunday, September 15. 4420 Warwick Blvd.

Categories: Art