9 Top Kansas City Art Museums And Galleries

 In Culture, Guide

First Fridays in Kansas City‘s Crossroads Arts District is the ultimate urban collaboration; just as the name described, on the first Friday of every month visitors can enjoy food trucks, street music, sidewalk vendors, buskers, avant-garde exhibits, performance pieces and the collections of surrounding studios and galleries. You’ll find world-renowned collections available to view in Kansas City’s finest arts institutions, from the Nelson-Atkins to the galleries lining the streets of the Crossroads Arts District. Keep reading to learn more about nine museums and galleries in Kansas City that must be on your list to visit.

Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art
As one of the city’s premier art museums, the Nelson-Atkins building itself is a stunning feat of modern and neoclassical architecture. Further, the museum’s collections boasts pieces from a vast array of European masters, including Caravaggio, El Greco, Degas, Rubins, Rembrandt, van Gogh and more. The Nelson-Atkins also has a particularly comprehensive collection of Asian art, for which it is widely lauded.

Kemper Museum Of Contemporary Art
Once you’ve gotten your fill of inspirational historic works from the Nelson-Atkins, continue on to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art for a selection of pieces from late 20th- to 21st-century masters, including David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Dale Chihuly, Andrew Wyeth, Georgia O’Keeffe and more. Though the museum has an impressive permanent collection, it also hosts eight to 12 exhibitions each year showcasing artists at a variety of career stages, including the current show “Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967–1999),” on view through April 29.

The Bauer
Housed in a renovated historic building, The Bauer is located in the Crossroads Arts District and frequently hosts art exhibitions, pop-up gallery spaces and community events. A quick glance at the organization’s Instagram feed shows collaborations with local small businesses, jewelry makers, fashion designers and more. If you’re in the Kansas City area, be sure to make a stop at The Bauer.

Blue Gallery
Founded by Kelly Kuhn 17 years ago, Blue Gallery is also an anchor of the Crossroads Arts District. Kuhn makes sure to featuring contemporary work by a mix of local and nationally known artists from emerging to established, like Peregrine Honig, Brooke Golightly, Graham Lane, Carlos Ramirez and more. Kuhn even curates a selection of pieces that are $500 or less with a feature called the “Wonder Wall.”

Belger Arts Center
This contemporary art staple of Kansas City is a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate the public about the cultural impact of art, with an extensive collection of work by Jasper Johns, Terry Winters, Terry Allen, William Wiley and other contemporary masters. The Belger even loans their collections to museums and universities around the country for exhibitions.

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center
The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center has a soft spot for emerging local artists, such as those coming out of the intensive art programs at the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The organization’s goal is to provide a space for those artists to showcase their work, but also hosts gallery shows featuring works from international, national and regional artists.

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art
Since opening in 1985, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art has placed pieces in a number of prestigious private collections and museums, featuring work from mid-career and established artists working with an array of media. Artists who have exhibited include Peter Voulkos, Jun Kaneko, Rudy Autio, Therman Statom, Judy Onofrio, Chris Gustin, Tom Huck, Cynthia Schira, Jeff Aeling and more. The gallery’s current exhibition is a show by ceramic master Cary Esser, whose works explore the possibilities of the medium and showcase the artist’s aesthetic prowess.

Weinberger Fine Art
In addition to emerging artists, this gallery sells original works by household names like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali. Founded by Kim Weinberger, other artists represented include Dean Kube, Larassa Kabel, Miles Neidinger and more, with paintings, sculpture, ceramics and installation pieces. The gallery’s artist portfolio showcases its commitment to local artists, as many hail from or work in Kansas City, rounded out by a selection of work by nationally recognized artists.

The Base Gallery
This relatively young gallery showcases a selection of eclectic paintings, photography and wall art, with a recent exhibition and solo show by Kansas City painter and sculptor Eugenia Ortiz. Ortiz’s work explores a range of bright and subdued color crafted into non-objective forms, rising up from the canvas and engaging the viewer in its tactile physicality.

Cover image courtesy of Rifqi Ali Ridho.

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