Lawrence arts scene ramping up for Art + Culture + Crossings

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The upcoming Art + Culture + Crossings public art project will bring sights, sounds, stories, sass and supplies to downtown Lawrence later this month. 

“Art + Culture + Crossings aims to build upon the success of pandemic-related adaptations of downtown (outdoor dining, Shopping, etc.) and the successes of past public art programming to serve in the development of a new-genre art in public places initiative inspired by pandemic recovery and expanding Cultural Equity,” according to information on the eXplore Lawrence landing page devoted to the events. 

Alicia Kelly, program coordinator, shared the latest updates with the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission on Wednesday. 

Four artists of a variety of mediums have signed contracts to participate so far, Kelly said, but the events continue to grow and develop as pieces fall into place. 

Here’s info on what the four artists had planned as of Wednesday evening. 

“Curated Kansas”

Misti Boland and Jeremy Osbern, film professionals and video artists who co-created the episodic series “RED BIRD” on Amazon Prime, among other projects, have selected paintings by Kansas artists to put on display, surrounded by video interpretations of the same works. 

The location where combination art show and video installation Curated Kansas will be displayed is still to be determined, Kelly said, but here’s part of the artists’ statement about the project: 

“With Curated Kansas, we will create a large storefront video motion collage that a viewer will see from across the street. Drawing them in, they can now see that the original works of art that inspired the video are nestled inside the display. Closer still, they can see the brushstrokes and the canvas and the texture of the paper that absorbed the watercolors. And hopefully, they will take a moment away from their screens and digital life to think about the art around them.”

“Bang”

Dan Born mostly writes historical plays. This monologue is part of a series on writers who have had a significant connection to Lawrence. 

Of this piece, Born writes: “Joan Volmer was shot and killed by William S. Burroughs in a drunken William Tell game-gone-wrong 70 years ago. That senseless killing has become central to the legend of the Beats. Burroughs himself was forced to the appalling conclusion that it turned him into a writer. But what of his victim?”

“In all the stories of the Beats, she rarely emerges from the background, not in fact, until the final few minutes of her life. Is an accidental victimhood all she had to contribute? This play is my attempt to give her a voice, to let her tell her story.”

There will be multiple performances during the final weekend of the month. 

“‘We’ll have a gay old time!’ Documenting drag in Lawrence, Kansas”

Photographer Fally Afani has been documenting “the thrilling and extravagant performances that come out of the region’s most talented drag queens and kings” for the past few years. 

“For the month of June, Fally will be marrying two aspects of her work life together by joining drag performers with live music. She will also be showcasing some of her extensive work in the drag scene with a photo exhibit at the eXplore Lawrence Visitor’s Center,” 812 Massachusetts St., according to the project statement. 

Afani’s art show, set for 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, June 24, will include a drag performance by MsAmanda Love. The events will coincide nicely with the two days of PRIDE celebrations slated for the last weekend of this month. See more of Afani’s work on her Instagram page.

Mobile Art Supply Cart 

Performance and visual artist Kāli Deno will help make art supplies more accessible to anyone who otherwise could not afford supplies through a mobile art supply cart. She’ll be “posted up at some different events,” Kelly said. 

“The cart makes an effort to sustainably source those materials for members of our community. Kāli feels passionate about the positive impact this could have on our city to bring the community together and make a conscious effort to reduce consumption and reuse products that have not yet reached the end of their artistic life,” according to the artist’s statement. 

For updates and to learn more about the artists, follow Art + Culture + Crossings on Instagram and see more on the eXplore Lawrence website

“This is a collaborative art program made possible by a Reimagined Spaces grant from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency,” according to a news release from the city. 

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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