The Next Big Thing

Friday, July 15
Big breaks don’t come easy for visual artists. Painters battle lottery odds for much-needed grants, contend for limited studio space and pray that their one First Friday opening in a three-year window doesn’t coincide with a rainstorm. But the Kansas City Artists Coalition’s 23rd Annual River Market Regional Exhibition gives local talents an open-mike-style chance to showcase their skills. At the very least, these 37 artists receive a public forum for their work.

The entrants also get their work published in an illustrated catalog that organizers will distribute to galleries, giving many of these artists their first experience with national networking. Cash prizes — $2,000 in total value — await those who impress Douglass Freed, this year’s juror. Freed earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Fort Hays State University and has spent the past four decades in Sedalia, yet he’s had work published in The New York Art Review, Art in America and 60 other publications. It’s a career model that’s sure to inspire participating artists, many of whom hail from small cities in the two-state area. The exhibition opens at 5 p.m. Friday at the KCAC’s Mallin and Jacqueline B. Charno galleries (201 Wyandotte, 816-421-5222). — Andrew Miller

Give Us Liberty
The ACLU gives the 411 on freedom.

Tuesday, July 19
The American Civil Liberties Union has put in a few hard years since 9-11, when our government’s response to terrorism included attacks on the Bill of Rights. The group wants to bring local citizens up to speed; its annual State of Civil Liberties address includes a special report on the Supreme Court by Dick Kurtenbach, retiring executive director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. Representatives from the Mainstream Coalition, the NAACP, the Heartland Muslim Council and other groups also file reports from the front lines. We recommend attendance for anyone who might be described as one or more of the following: African-American, female, Muslim, homosexual, atheist, Native American, Republican, bipedal, Hispanic, Tom Cruise, Christian, male, Jewish, heterosexual, Democrat, transgendered, cynical, Asian-American. The free event starts at 7 p.m. at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway); there is a suggested $5 donation. Call 816-756-3113. —Sarah Smarsh

Our Town
Get down — town, we mean, and discuss.

Tuesday, July 19
We envy downtowners their cool apartments and the fact that they never have to worry about parking on First Fridays. But downtown denizens have unique worries — such as the lack of green space, a dearth of weekend amenities and … hey, where’d that new building come from? So some of them have formed a Downtown Neighborhood Association to, they say, “promote the interests of the residents and property owners.” Membership is open to owners and renters who reside within the DNA boundaries. (Check the map at Members and nonmembers are welcome at meetings, which convene every third Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Hotel Phillips (106 West 12th Street). —Rebecca Braverman

Tree Love
Saturday, July 16

If you want to learn about KC’s chapter of the Sierra Club but aren’t sure how much you care about, say, its forests and logging campaign, check out the social event Saturday night at Blue Bird Bistro (1700 Summit). To RSVP, contact Bob Sherrick at 816-779-6708 by Thursday; if you can’t make it, the group has regular meetings the first Tuesday of every month. —Annie Fischer

Categories: News