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Painting and Crafting with the Kauffman Center

A watercolor painting of the Kauffman Center, a Kauffman Center-inspired CD bookend, a sheet music snowflake, and a decorated CDBy this point, you’ve been at home a while — whether that means working from home, virtual learning or teaching or just staying in more often. That’s why we’re bringing you a few activities to take your mind off the mundane.

In November, we released a Kauffman Center painting tutorial led by local muralist and painter Vania Soto. With her easy-to-follow, step-by-step directions, anyone from a novice to an experienced painter can create a masterpiece.

For this project, you’ll need the following:

  1. A basic watercolor set and brush. Two brushes are recommended.
  2. Watercolor paper
  3. Printer paper and printer
  4. Four small pieces of tape
  5. Pencil or graphite stick
  6. Cup of water
  7. Ruler or other straight edge

Download Outline

Download the traceable outline and follow along with the video. Then, share your creation with us on social media by tagging @Kauffmancenter and @Artista_VaniaSoto.

For these next DIY crafts, we teamed up with ScrapsKC, a local non-profit with the mission to reuse, repurpose and renew odds and ends found around your home. This three-part series was filmed in the Kauffman Center’s various spaces with ScrapsKC’s Events and Education Coordinator, Courtney Christensen. Check out the instructions and supply lists below, and follow along to create your very own Kauffman Center-inspired CD bookends, CD weaving and sheet music paper snowflake.

Share your finished creations with us on social media by tagging @Kauffmancenter and @ScrapsKC.

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Pipe Organ Performances Featuring Grammy-nominated Organ Conservator Jan Kraybill

Between canceled performances and an empty building, our stunning Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, has been lonely these past months.

However, with the help of our Grammy-nominated Organ Conservator, Jan Kraybill, we’ve found a way to share the beauty and sounds of this instrument and offer you the best seat in the house.

In a series of six short performance videos, Kraybill offers a brief synopsis of each work before she takes to the crown jewel of Helzberg Hall for an intimate concert just for you.

Intrigued by the organ itself and want to know more? We’ve compiled a few fun facts to share with you. Find more in our Google Arts & Culture exhibition.

  1. Québec-based firm Casavant Frères custom designed the mechanical action organ in the French romantic tradition, with 79 stops, 102 ranks and 5,548 pipes.
  2. The 125-year-old firm custom designed every piece of the Kauffman Center’s pipe organ. At the time of production, it was the largest mechanical action organ Casavant Frères had ever built.
  3. After it was produced and tested, the organ was disassembled and its 20,000 pieces were transported 1,368 miles from Québec to Kansas City.
  4. Only 80 pipes are visible, just more than 1 percent of the total; the rest live behind the steel-mesh covering at the north end of Helzberg Hall.
  5. The smallest pipe is the size of a pencil and the largest is 32 feet and weighs half a ton. The large visible wooden pipes are made of Douglas fir, matching the other wood elements of Helzberg Hall.
  6. It took two months of installation and two months of testing to “voice” the organ in Helzberg Hall. Much of this work was done overnight to accommodate the brand-new concert hall’s busy performance schedule.

We hope you enjoy virtually being back inside Helzberg Hall.

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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble, Your Halloween Fun is About to Double

Theater lore of haunts and ghosts

Which one will scare you the most?

Scroll a bit, then press play

We’re sure this spook will make your day

From the tales of the ghost light to the origins of “break a leg,” theaters have plenty of eerie stories to tell. So, the Kauffman Center joined forces with Mesner Puppet Theater to shed a little (ghost) light on these common, yet not too well-understood superstitions. Enjoy our virtual four-part series of spooky (but family-friendly) stories from inside the Kauffman Center, starting with “The Tale of the Ghost Light.”

Watch as Scary Mary Bumbershoot, a fright in her own right, warns against whistling in a theater and shares a well-known name that should NEVER be uttered on stage…or else.

These four short videos are the perfect ghoulish treat for all ages.

Presented by Kauffman Center Premier Partner Saint Luke’s Health System.

Created in collaboration with Mesner Puppet Theater. Scary Mary Bumbershoot created and performed by Mike Horner.

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While the Artists are Away, the Animals will Play

Animals are natural performers, so some friends from the Kansas City Zoo literally jumped at the chance to take center stage and enjoy the spotlight at the Kauffman Center recently. Everyone brought their A-game, and it showed when the cameras started recording.

Follow this motley crew of feathered, scaly and prickly animals on their intimate Kauffman Center tour as they explore Brandmeyer Great Hall, Helzberg Hall and Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Jasiri, a 2-year-old African Crested Porcupine, with her darling waddle and tutu of bouncing quills, is clearly a performer at heart.  Elver, a 22-year-old Galah Cockatoo, felt at home on stage, as well. With his gift for gab and beautiful coloring, it is evident why zoo-goers flock to see him.

Fred, a 7-year-old Marine Toad, performed his version of hip-hop in Brandmeyer Great Hall, while D’Artagnon, a 7-year-old Blue and Gold Macaw, overcame stage fright in Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

The slew of animals that poked around the Kauffman Center certainly took advantage of all the spaces within our magnificent building. Alice, a 3-year-old Savanna Monitor admired herself in the glow of her dressing room mirror lights, and Smaug, a 20-year-old Green Iguana, savored city views from Brandmeyer Great Hall.

We can’t wait to bring human artists and audiences back into the limelight.  In the meantime, we hope that watching our curious friends running the show in your absence brightens your day.

Drone footage courtesy of NMG Studios and Ben Weddle. Special thanks to the Kansas City Zoo.

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Kauffman Center Debuts Seven Spotify Playlists

Change up your daily routine with our seven new Kauffman-Center-inspired Spotify playlists. Whether you are an avid jazz fan, a ballet buff or a Broadway enthusiast, these playlists will transport you back to your favorite live performances in Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall. Each carefully curated playlist features artists and performances that have graced Kauffman Center stages.

Whether you choose to work your way through each playlist or focus only on your favorite genre, we are sure these playlists will become staples in your music library.

Visit the Kauffman Center’s Spotify profile or search “Kauffman Center” on Spotify to explore all seven playlists today!



Read more about each playlist below:

Best of: Kauffman Center Presents

Featuring some of the most notable Kauffman Center Presents performers to grace our stages, this playlist will keep you entertained and wanting more. From Aretha Franklin to Blondie to Willie Nelson, there is something for everyone to love. Turn up the volume and get ready for an eclectic playlist that elevates your daily routine.

Best of: Symphony

This playlist features musical works by the Kansas City Symphony and other orchestras that have appeared at the Kauffman Center over the years like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and more. While there is nothing like hearing great music in Helzberg Hall this playlist comes in a close second.

Best of: Opera

Featuring powerful and poignant selections from operas that have been performed at the Kauffman Center, this playlist will have you shouting “Bravo!” You’ll be ready to sing out arias, duets and grand finales from “Turandot” to “Carmen” to “Madame Butterfly,” alongside some notable opera virtuosos.

Best of: Jazz

Looking for a playlist to get your energy up? Look no further than our “Best of: Jazz” playlist. This playlist features a lineup of jazz musicians and vocalists that have performed at the Kauffman Center, including the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock and Kenny G. Get ready for a mix of smooth stylings, toe-tapping tunes and syncopated rhythms.

Best of: Ballet

Whether you are practicing pliés, stretching or studying at your desk, the “Best of: Ballet” playlist captures the musical magic of numerous ballets performed on the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage. You will be transported back to scenes from some of your favorite works, including “Cinderella,” “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake.” It is the perfect playlist to inspire your inner dancer.

Best of: Musicals

Composed of popular numbers from musicals performed at the Kauffman Center, let this playlist transport you center stage. Get your Broadway fix as you sing along with the casts of “The Color Purple,” “Chicago,” “Bring it On,” “A Chorus Line” and many more of your favorites.

Best of: Pipe Organ

The jewel of Helzberg Hall, the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875 is unmatched in majestic sound quality. Tune into this playlist to hear pipe organ works performed by some of the best organists to have appeared at the Kauffman Center, including some works performed by the Center’s own Organ Conservator, Jan Kraybill.

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