Mid-America Art Alliance’s 50th Anniversary Block Party is an opportunity to look to the future for a better KC

Courtesy of Mid-America Art Alliance

The Mid-America Art Alliance will be hosting its 50th Anniversary Block Party June 2, 2023. The event will include musical performances from past M-AAA grantees, DJ sets, and a photography exhibit in the  M-AAA exhibition space.

The Block Party [2018 Baltimore Avenue] will be held within walking distance from the Crossroads First Fridays festivities, so food and other vendors will be close by, for Kansas Citians who’d like to hit up both in short order.

The event is free, family-friendly, and wheelchair accessible. 

As the nation’s first Regional Art Alliance, the M-AAA has granted over $51 million to various artists in the past 50 years. The M-AAA provides funding in six states- Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The grants are given not only to individual artists but to community art organizations.  

Sarah Mote, marketing director for M-AAA says they’re excited to provide arts organizations with the capacity and development resources they need to be stronger and more resilient. By way of example, she explains the benefits of one of their many training initiatives.

“Artists 360 is an eight-week intensive where you build a network of peers in artistic practice from all different disciplines,” Mote says. “Visual arts, performing arts across the board, spoken word, and so on. Simultaneously, you delve even deeper into your professional practice—how to flip the script on the starving artists and create a sustainable career.”

Musicians Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, and DJ Ice Kole will perform in the parking lot across from the M-AAA building, located at 2018 Baltimore Avenue, KCMO. Barnoski takes the stage at 6 p.m., follow by Kinkel-Schuster at 7 p.m., and DJ Ice Kole at 8 p.m.

Barnoski is from Oklahoma, and their work is rooted in Indigenous and decolonial methodologies. Barnoski is a recipient of the M-AAA Artist 360 grant, Artist Leadership Fellow, and Artist INC facilitator. 


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Kinkel-Schuster is the principal songwriter for Water Liars and founder of Constant Stranger Records based in Arkansas. Kinkel-Schuster’s work has been recognized by The New York Times, No Depression, and NPR. He is also a recipient of the M-AAA Artist 360 grant. 

DJ Ice Kole is a mixmaster who has collaborated with MAAXE DJ Collective and was a finalist for the Kansas City People’s Choice Awards as Best Female DJ. 

Shutter and Sound: The Jazz Photography of Bob Willoughby will be featured in M-AAA’s exhibition space, The Culture Lab. The collection of 50 photographs are of the California Jazz scene circa the 1950s. In this series, Willoughby photographed Jazz legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra and captured the joy and vulnerability of musical performance. 

Categories: Art