Updated: Sep 16, 2022
The First Friday of each month is a day to always mark on your calendar. It is a big deal in Kansas City and other major cities around the country and maybe even the world. Artists gather all of their art and take it to the gallery of their choice, hoping that the fruits of their creative labor will pay off or at least be able to cover purchasing more art supplies and canvas to create another painting that will capture the eye of an art lover who has to have it to hang over a fireplace or above their bed or a special place in there office or home.
Kansas City, Missouri, has the Crossroads Arts District, which was an idea that turned into a community of fabulous galleries and spaces filled with art on display and for sale in the Downtown Crossroads Community. This community first began by a man named Jim Leedy. If Leedy is looking down, he is smiling, watching the community he began to grow and thrive. You can see one of my prior articles about Jim Leedy, “Visionaries and Artists Meet at the Crossroads.”
This article is not about Jim Leedy but about how the Crossroads is thriving with artists and art lovers filling the streets on First Friday. The Crossroads is just one of the areas in the Kansas City area that displays art. The Westport area has a few galleries along with the River Market area and other areas in the greater Kansas City and surrounding areas. I encourage you to get out and explore the different galleries and artists in the greater Kansas City area! The Westside, Eastside, Plaza, Westport, the Bottoms, The River Market, and then the Crossroads Arts District.
I decided to venture off the beaten path and stop in where a friend was having a show in Westport at The Smalter Gallery on 39th Street. TJ Templeton had an amazing show of various pieces that he expands on of the refrigerator.
Photo's from TJ Templeton's show at The Smalter Gallery Photos by Kat Day.
Art is fun and adventurous and can always take you somewhere that you can only go in your mind. All summer long, I have been getting out and photographing the events of First Friday at the MOD Gallery in the KCCrossroads Arts District. I also make a stop to see what is going on at The Bunker Center of Arts and maybe wander over to the Hilliard Gallery. I have captured moments and people at the MOD Gallery & Space, and it has been my pleasure to watch the artists try new ideas to sell their work as each month, they bring something new and amazing to put on display.
Justin Canja and Phil Dunn have been doing live paintings monthly at the MOD, and it is fun to watch what these two come up with and the ideas that kickstart them off in their creative journey. They keep art alive and fresh with their fun abstracts that go to the winner of the raffle. You can find this great duo on First Fridays at MOD and follow them to find out what they will be doing next! Last night was the seventh piece they worked on together. What will they do next?
MOD Gallery has had a year full of featured artists, and there are more to come. It was going on midnight on September 2nd night, and a man in a suit asked me, “Are there any other galleries open this late?” I looked at him and said No!
MOD is the only one that stays open til 1:00 am. The funny thing was we were standing out back on MOD’s Back Patio & Cantina, listening to the DJs and watching the people dance! What other Art Gallery in Kansas City has been able to turn an art event into a combination of people loving art, enjoying music, and dancing the night away?