art · travel

Flashback to Kansas City, Pt. 1 – 18th and Vine

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18th and Bovine by Jeff DeRousse, located near 18th and Vine

When I’m in Raleigh in a few weeks, I’ll be checking out as many art museums, galleries and fine restaurants as I can. But while I’m looking at some of Raleigh’s attractions, I began to reminisce about my first “big” trip away from home.

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Statue of Charlie Parker near 18th and Vine

Nine years ago, I traveled to Kansas City, MO and instantly fell in love. This city reminds me of my hometown but it had a lot of features that I found enchanting. Kansas City has more operating fountains than any city outside of Rome, Italy. I also recall the excellent museums, fun club scene, and rich musical history. I’m going to share some of the pictures from that trip, taken on my (awful) BlackBerry Pearl. Hey, it was the best I could do at the time!

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18th and Vine is an intersection within Kansas City that used to be a hub for Black music and culture. Jazz legend Charlie Parker grew up in this area. While there, I visited the American Jazz Museum, a glorious tribute to the history of jazz music. I was (still am!) a huge fan of Ella Fitzgerald, so this museum was a treat. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t allow photography, so I have no pictures of the exhibits.

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Front of the museum

The museum is in the heart of what used to be the epicenter of vibrant Black creatives. The area used to be thriving and full of shops, bars, and jazz clubs. It was disheartening to hear how the museum is going through financial trials and may temporarily close in order to reorganize.

Artwork near the museum: cutouts made out of mirrored material. Gorgeous to behold, impossible to photograph

This area is magical. You can feel the history all around you. I pray that the museum can turn things around and come back stronger than ever. 

I’ll share more from my Kansas City trip in the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy!

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