New Heights

A reader recently asked me about the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.  In case you are out of the loops Kansas City, performing arts and architecture, the Center, designed by Moshe Safdie, is the recently completed home of our symphony, ballet and a venue for a variety of performing arts organizations in town.

Mr. Blandings and I took a hard hat tour last Fall and the space is remarkable.

I was working at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation when his widow, Muriel McBrien Kauffman, began to envision this project.

While Mrs. Kauffman’s foundation could have absorbed much of the original projected costs of the building, the trustees felt it was significant that the community feel that the Center was its own.  It is a testament to their leadership that it was built with private funds and the city has embraced it so completely.

Opening weekend was a few weeks ago with loads of hoopla, though Bill and I did not attend.  I am taking our middle son to see Tom Sawyer next week and am filled with anticipation for the performance, but also with seeing the ballet, and the building, through 11-year-old eyes.

Seriously, you cannot take a bad picture of this remarkable structure; it soars.  For more information on the Kauffman Center click here; to purchase tickets to Tom Sawyer, a new ballet choreographed by William Whitener, music by Maury Yeston, click here.  To see a terrific slideshow of the space with images by Paul Warchol (including this one) at click here.  All other images my own.

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9 thoughts on “New Heights

  1. It is bittersweet as we move from the Lyric to the Kaufman. But I am eager to see the new center AND our first opera is Sunday!

  2. from white picket fences to soaring structures, we have come along way. beautiful.
    enjoy a memorable and moving evening with your 11 year old son. one I am sure you will never forget.

  3. The Kauffman Center is an incredible building. What a wonderful building to be in while watching ballet. Have fun with your son.

  4. You would not believe how much pleasure your blog brings me. I grew up near 75th and Mission Road. Prairie Village was still only a gleam in J.C. Nichols eye. All that ground was open fields. My parents and I moved there in 1942. The growth was phenomenal, housing developments sprang up everywhere. Life was simpler then. War vets could by a small house out in Overland Park on a nice lot for $600. No drugs, no crime, those couples were starting their families and hopeful about the future. During the war The Plaza was dark. I was pretty young and had not had experience of outdoor Christmas lighting. After the war The Plaza made up for lost time. I was so dazzled. Every time I return to Kansas City I head for The Plaza. Isn't it amazing that a single shopping center which did not evolve into a mall has stayed so beautiful?

    Lucky you are to live in such a growth oriented, can do, city. Please do keep up your wonderful blog, I am sure I'm not the only K.C. remnant that aches for the past. Ann

  5. Thank you for running this post and the photos. I knew you would have good insight. My daughter works behind the scenes for the ballet and you can get her perspective at She said the energy was high for opening night and everyone felt quite excited. I hope you have a good time. I will be coming to see the show and interior for myself next weekend. I hope the reviews are good!

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