In Kansas City and its suburbs like Leawood, a gallery is never very hard to find. But a gallery dedicated to the promotion of local artists that also engages the community in creating art is unique. That is what makes ARTichokes so special. ARTichokes defines itself by its three purposes: (1) to promote fine art in south Kansas City, (2) to engage the general public in the creative process through classes, demonstrations, and group paintings, and (3) to generate sales of artwork and exposure for local artists.
The gallery changes every three months, offering new pieces by local artists. There are jewelry, ceramics, paintings, sculpture - a wide variety mediums. Recently, I was able to see wire tree sculptures by Kathy Horniman. She used copper wire to create truly stunning representations of trees and I was particularly impressed by her ability to capture nature in motion; in one piece I could really sense the wind blowing through the branches even though the sculpture itself was static.
In the past, ARTichokes has also featured the work of one of my favorite local artists, Kari Heybrock. I first became aware of Heybrock as a freelance writer when I wrote about her lampworking and glass beadmaking for a local publication. I saw her work on display and was genuinely impressed, but I became even more so when I learned about her apprenticeship on an island after helping her teacher rebuild the studio after a hurricane. That is what ARTichokes really offers - great artwork by inspiring artists.
But ARTichokes is not just a gallery, it is also an opportunity for the community to really engage in the artistic process. In addition to offering classes for children and adults, ARTichokes also has group paintings. In the last two years, ARTichokes has directed over 150 group paintings for various occasions. They supply the studio, supplies and art coach for groups to create their own memorable work of art. Families, co-workers, and friends all come in groups to create an enduring piece to encapsulate their group dynamic. A few years ago, I created a group painting with some co-workers (though not at ARTichokes) and can tell you that it is really an amazing experience and every time I see the painting, I still get a warm feeling remembering what it was like to work alongside those amazing people. Whether you live in the Kansas City area or are just passing through, I really can't recommend a group painting activity enough. Besides, what better way to remember the experience of your roadtrip than a work of art you created with your traveling companions?
Total Time Traveled: 20 minutes
Total Distance Traveled: 6 miles
Soundtrack: "Teenage Dream" Katy Perry