Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Opens

By | October 11, 2011

Looking like some morphed, American version of the Sydney Opera House, Kansas City’s latest arts and entertainment venue has finally opened its doors. The jaw-breaking moniker, and the full, proper name of the new location, is The Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts. The building will feature opera performances, dance events, theater presentations, and musical shows of all kinds. It officially opened its doors on September 16, 2011.

Like no other single work of architecture, the building has dramatically transformed the city’s look, mixing in this bit of new age, deconstructionist bravura against a backdrop of Midwestern corporate geometric glass-and-steel practicality. There is no question, when one first views the structure, that it is an arts center. Indeed, no one would mistake it for the region’s newest bank, or accounting firm, that’s for sure.

Moshe Safdie, the designer, has all at once put Kansas City at the forefront of the national arts scene, delivering not only a technically advanced structure, but also a work of art in itself. There is no type or size of performance that cannot be accommodated by the Kaufman Center. Everything from comedy revues to Broadway shows will visit its stages. And they all will take place inside a scientific wonder. In fact, the center itself could pass as a giant exhibit in a science museum.

The center will host several resident companies of artists, namely the Kansas City Ballet, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Lyric Opera. One part of the building features a glass roof, glass walls, and a gigantic arched canopy that gives wonderful views of Kansas City’s skyline. Maybe the only negative point of the view from here is that you cannot see the Kaufman Center as it takes its place among Kansas City’s unique, recognizable skyline. Now that the building is up and operating, that skyline is forever changed.

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