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!

festivals

Vive La Festival!

This is my favorite time of year, because when it’s hot, people want to get outside and do fun things. That being said, I’m eager to check out the festivals occurring in Virginia and Washington, DC over the next several weeks.

I’m narrowing down my list of festival possibilities based on when I’ll be out of town and when I’ll have enough time and energy to attend. Surprisingly, the festival that is currently ranking highest on my “must do” list is the Virginia State Peach Festival. I’m usually not a huge fan of produce festivals (heat + sweet fruits = lots of insects) but I adore peaches and the opportunity to try freshly grown, local peaches is too tempting to pass up.

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Mmm, peaches

The only downside is that the event occurs on Friday, August 17, in southwest Virginia, which means I’d have to take time off from work in order to attend (it’s a substantial drive from my home to Stuart, VA). But who knows – maybe things will come together in my favor. I’m open to all of the possibilities!

I’m also thinking about the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, VA. The drive is a lot shorter, and the event occurs on the weekend (August 25 and 26). I haven’t been to an art show in years, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s very likely I’ll attend this event, and if I go, you all know that I will share info about it here on this blog.

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I’m excited to check out the art in Portsmouth

There are two festivals in Richmond that I may check out – but they occur on the same weekend. The Filipino Festival (August 10 and 11) and the Richmond Jazz Festival (August 9 – 12) are two very different events but will give a fresh injection of culture into Richmond for the weekend. Who knows – maybe I’ll be able to check out both events!

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Richmond Jazz Fest is coming up soon!

Any upcoming cool festivals where you are? Let me know in the comments below!