Crossroads, Kansas City
The Crossroads (officially the Crossroads Arts District) is a historic neighborhood near Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. It is centered at approximately 19th Street and Baltimore Avenue, directly south of the downtown loop and north of Crown Center. It is the city's main art gallery district and center for the visual arts. Dozens of galleries are located in its renovated warehouses and industrial buildings. It is also home to numerous restaurants (including one operated by Lidia Bastianich), housewares shops, architects, designers, an advertising agency, and other visual artists. The district also has several live music venues.
Numerous buildings in the neighborhood are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the TWA Corporate Headquarters Building, Western Auto Building, and Firestone Building. There are two historic groups of buildings also on the Register—Working Class Hotels at 19th & Main Streets (Midwest Hotel, Monroe Hotel, and Rieger Hotel) and Crossroads Historic Freight District (industrial buildings clustered along the tracks north of Union Station)<.
The Crossroads District is also home to one of the county's largest remaining examples of a Film Row District, a.k.a. a Film Exchange district. There were once 32 major cities in the U.S. that had thriving Film Rows as early as the 1910s to the 1970s. Kansas City's Film Row consists of 17 buildings (On 4-22-13 a 1946 building at the N.E. corner of 17th & Wyandotte, referred to as the Orion Pictures Building, was demolished to build a three-story parking garage.) Following the demolition, the entire Film Row District won a nomination for Missouri Preservation's 2013 Most Endangered "Watch List". For more information on Film Row, Friends of Film Row.org is organized to help educate and enhance Film Row's future value and preservation.
Art galleries generally open new shows on the first Friday of each month from 6 to 9 pm. This has become one of the region's most popular regular events as thousands of people flock to the Crossroads for gallery "open houses" amidst the Crossroads's unique atmosphere.
In warm months, there are often outdoor bands and performers. Occasionally, outdoor indie films are played.
There are more than 60 galleries in the Crossroad's district, making it one of the five largest arts districts in the US.
First Fridays is the subject of the notable YouTube video "Art in Kansas City" by BostWiki.
Crossroads Music Festival
First held in late August 2005, the Crossroads Music Festival is an annual event organized by Spice of Life Productions, which features local music artists. The 2005 event was held at Grinder's Sculpture Park (CrossroadsKC) at 18th Street and Locust Street. In addition to concert performances, offerings include short films by local independent filmmakers and booths offering apparel by local designers, local independent print media, and carnival games.
In 2007, one of Kansas City's development agencies began a program to allow property tax abatements for art-related business who would otherwise be priced out of the neighborhood by fast-rising property values. Neighborhood leaders lobbied for the program to prevent the "Soho Effect" of gentrification. Tax abatements had been granted to developers to attract new residents to the neighborhood with high-end condominiums and lofts next to the galleries.
Crossroads Art Galleries
There are over 70 galleries in the district. A few of the more active galleries are:
- 1819 Central Gallery
- Arts Incubator
- Belger Arts Center
- Blue Gallery
- Byron C. Cohen Gallery for Contemporary Art
- Cara and Cabezas Contemporary
- The Dolphin Gallery
- Grand Arts
- Grothaus & Pearl Art Gallery
- Hemingway Gallery
- Hilliard Gallery
- Leedy Voulkos Gallery
- Leopold Gallery
- Todd Weiner Gallery
- The Mojo Collection
- Pi Gallery
- Studio 2131
- Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art
- The Brick
- Czar Bar
- Extra Virgin
- Hamburger Mary's
- Ruins Pub
- Snow & Company