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Innovative art installation adorns City parking structure

A state-of-the art public art installation opening Friday, Dec. 2 will bring one-of-a-kind sights and sounds to visitors of the new City of Kansas City, Mo., Arts District Garage just south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Terpsichore for Kansas City is a unique musical and visual instrument, combining original musical compositions played throughout the garage with a four-story “light organ” in the central stairway, which provides a new perspective to the role of art in public space.

An opening reception with the artists, Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, is planned on Dec. 2 from 5-8 p.m. and is open to the public. Limited short-term parking will be available in the garage during the opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

Terpsichore (pronounced, turp-sik-uh-ree), means “delight of dancing” and is the name of the Muse of Greek mythology who ruled over dance and choral song.

Harries and Heder sought a way to create an inventive and inspiring musical and visual instrument within the Kauffman Center’s parking garage as part of the City’s One Percent for Art program.

“Terpsichore is the name of the muse who, in Greek mythology ruled over dance and choral song,” Heder said. “Through this piece, we combine music, movement and technology to create an experiential device that we hope will inspire guests to see the hidden beauty in their surroundings and further draw the arts into their own lives after leaving a performance.”

Visitors exiting their vehicles will hear music playing from the ceiling. The music is unique to the space―one of three original compositions created specifically for the garage by composers David Moulton, Roberta Vacca and Kansas City’s own Bobby Watson.

As patrons approach the center piece of the artwork—a four-story “light organ” situated in the central stair tower of the garage―they will see the light moving inside the seven, four-story acrylic tubes, choreographed with the music. The artists hope that the experience in the garage will provide enjoyment for passersby and a gentle transition for those coming to or who have just enjoyed a performance inside the hall.

Since City-owned parking facilities offer a 30-minute grace period, visitors can drive in to the garage and visit the artwork for up to 30 minutes before a parking fee is imposed. Beyond the initial 30 minutes, parking costs $1 for every 15 minutes up to $12. During Kauffman events, parking is a flat $7. Pedestrians are always welcome.

The public art project was funded by the City’s One Percent for Art program, which, by ordinance, sets-aside 1 percent of municipal building construction and renovation budgets for the inclusion of unique artwork enhancements. The One Percent for Art program is coordinated by the Municipal Art Commission.

Media inquiries and photo requests about Terpsichore for Kansas City or the One Percent for Art program should be directed to Porter Arneill, public art administrator, at 816-513-2538.


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