** Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its first year with a review of key milestones, memorable moments, and a look at what is planned for year two **
KANSAS CITY, MO – On September 16, 2011, Kansas City gained worldwide attention with the opening of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, designed by award-winning architect Moshe Safdie. One year later, the Kauffman Center has much to celebrate, including artistic successes and increased outreach into the community.
After more than 300 performances in year one, the Kauffman Center has welcomed more than 475,000 people through its doors. The Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, along with numerous other community arts organizations, have experienced increased attendance, enhanced technical capabilities, and the opportunity to showcase their artistry and expanded repertoire in an intimate setting designed to connect artists with audiences like never before.
“Since the Kauffman Center’s opening last fall, hundreds of thousands of people have attended events at the Center and experienced the impact of the arts in our community.,” says Julia Irene Kauffman, chairman of the Kauffman Center’s board of directors. “Providing extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences is at the heart of what we do each day. We strongly believe that at the Kauffman Center there is something for everyone, and we will continue to work toward providing enriching arts opportunities for audiences of all ages.”
As a testament to the Kauffman Center’s commitment to serving everyone in the community, in its first year it hosted many free events and performances, including open dress rehearsals, Kansas City Library programs, and master classes. Audiences were able to experience performances priced from $15 to $35, like the popular National Geographic Live series, part of Kauffman Center Presents.
The Kauffman Center’s aim to provide excellence performing arts experiences is illustrated by a commitment to diverse programming emphasizing extraordinary artists that reach audiences throughout and beyond the Kansas City region.
“Rounding out Kansas City’s already great range of artistic offerings was an important goal for us,” says Chu. “Our Kauffman Center Presents series was specifically designed to complement the programming offered by other arts organizations so that audiences, artistic options, and even ticket prices were diverse.”
During its first season, the Kauffman Center brought in a memorable lineup of performing artists at the top of their class: Plácido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, Diana Krall, Laurie Anderson, Lily Tomlin, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Chieftains, Philip Glass, and Aretha Franklin, among many others. Audiences for the second season of Kauffman Center Presents have already experienced show-stopping performances by Willie Nelson and Bernadette Peters, while other great artists are still to come this year. Pop icon Frankie Valli performs this month, and Grammy Award-winning Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding and virtuosic organist Cameron Carpenter will arrive at the Kauffman Center later in the fall. Looking further ahead, 2013 will bring performances by SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, Carol Burnett, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, and the much-anticipated return of the National Geographic Live speaker series.
Chairman Julia Irene Kauffman’s goal to offer broad access to the community is emphasized in the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors initiative. Through the Open Doors Transportation Fund and Open Doors Tickets, more than 29,000 students were able to attend a performance this year, many from urban schools. Funds were raised for Open Doors tickets in order to underwrite tickets for disadvantaged individuals, distributed through local nonprofit organizations. These outreach programs will continue to serve students and local agencies in season two.
One of the highlights of summer activity was a pilot program of the GRAMMY Museum’s Music Revolutions Project, a brand new educational initiative that stimulated creative young musicians by connecting them with GRAMMY-level artists. Created with generous support from AEG, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and The Recording Academy, The GRAMMY Museum’s Music Revolution Project provided 24 young local artists the opportunity to participate in an intensive, four-week curriculum including instruction, rehearsals, and mentoring at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Sprint Center.
Along with all of the successes of its inaugural year, the Kauffman Center and the Kansas City region received national and international attention for supporting the arts. “The reviews were glowing and that is satisfying,” says Julia Irene Kauffman, “but what I appreciate most is the pride our community feels. People tell me they feel part of this place, and they should. It is been a joint effort every step of the way.
Kauffman Center’s Inaugural Year at a Glance
• More than 475,000 people attended Kauffman Center events.
• More than 300 performances occurred in the first year.
• More than 200 community or private social events were held.
• An average of 268 people took a Kauffman Center tour each week.
• 29,000 school children from 27 school districts were given the opportunity to experience a student matinee at the Kauffman Center.
Coming soon to Kauffman Center Presents
• September 25: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons | Muriel Kauffman Theatre
• October 9: Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society | Helzberg Hall
• November 4: Cameron Carpenter, Organist | Helzberg Hall
• January 30: Sweet Honey in the Rock | Muriel Kauffman Theatre
• February 14: Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett | Muriel Kauffman Theatre
• February through May: National Geographic Live speaker series
• New programs will be announced throughout the year. Sign up for email updates and get exclusive presale offers.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts