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KCK’s Third Friday Art Walk kicks off its second season

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:42 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - When you think about Friday art gallery walks, you might think First Friday in the Crossroads. But, there’s a new Friday in town on the other side of the state line.

KCK’s Third Friday Art Walk opened its second season this week. It’s the second year for the event, and organizers are optimistic that it will take off this year after a slow start in 2021.

“The one thing that’s cool is just getting people to come together,” said TJ Roberts, who opened Kinship Café - an espresso bar - at 6th and Ann last October. “It’s just that part of showing off the skill set and the talent that we’ve already, we’ve always had, so it’s really exciting.”

The art walk begins at the edge of downtown and continues into Strawberry Hill, where two galleries sit alongside a ceramics studio.

“Kind of overnight, all these different arts programs grew, and it seemed like everyone was thinking the same thing. We were just maybe more siloed and now that we’re talking to one another, getting together, it’s just like this growing organic group effort just to see art thrive here in KCK,” said LaCherish Thompson, the manager of Epic Arts, where pottery classes are taught.

The art walk goes beyond the full-time galleries. There are pop-ups at places like Local Agent, a full-time realtor’s office.

“We are a real estate office, but we love having all the artists come once a month,” said Angela Martellaro, one of the agents there. “We have someone in our gallery tonight who said he had literally never been to KCK. He’s lived in KCMO for 18 years and never crossed the state line. So really, there’s a lot of folks that have not discovered everything amazing about KCK. I love it here. I think it’s time for people to come over and see what we have to offer.”

There are vendors selling handmade goods and home-baked goodies. Grills were sizzling with cooks serving up Mexican and African food.

This Friday, the community-centered focus included an exhibit hosted by the Wyandotte Behavioral Health Network.

“It’s all about starting the conversation, and destigmatizing mental health and the discussion,” said Jordan Graves, who is a therapist and an artist.

All the artists have personal experience with mental health challenges. Creating the art has been a healing form of expression, and seeing it displayed brings affirmation.

“I like to look at the canvas and focus my energy in it and forget about what’s going on around me,” said artist Margarita Aguilar, who is living with bipolar disorder.

“This is really long overdue and really important that everyone gets to come together and collectively heal through art,” said artist Aphra Evans, who is a client at Wyandot Health.

That exhibit was one night only, but there are many more on the horizon.

The art walk will happen every third Friday, primarily along 6th Street from Sandusky to Minnesota. The hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will continue through October.