The fluid motion of the Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar as he initiates a double play is considered a work of art by astute baseball fans.
Escobar’s masterly fielding mirrors the many forms of art supported by the Royals organization outside the lines of the baseball diamond. The Royals organization has focused on supporting visual arts, theater and music-related initiatives in recent years.
A contribution from Royals Charities helped finance a life-size statue of umpire Bob Motley at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last year. The philanthropic extension of the team has also made donations to area arts organizations including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Starlight Theatre and the Culture House.
The Royals commissioned Phil Shafer, the graphic artist better known as Sike Style, to create a vast mural in a tunnel that connects Kauffman Stadium to Arrowhead Stadium in 2015. The tribute to the Royals’ return to the postseason can only be enjoyed by Royals players and employees, but a new set of Sike Style murals are hard to miss. One ambitious installation is located near Boulevard Brewing Company.
Pre-game concerts by locally based musicians have entertained Royals fans at the Outfield Experience in Kauffman Stadium prior to every Wednesday home game for eight years. Nine shows remain on the 2018 schedule of Ink magazine’s Student Night promotion.
*Instant Karma, May 30: A bracing blend of garage-rock and celebratory soul, the vibrant music of Instant Karma was recently documented on a vinyl single. The throwback format suits the band’s vintage sound.
*Hembree, June 13: Hembree is Kansas City’s most popular rock band. The irresistible “Holy Water,” a song that’s a three-minute deluge of catchy hooks, has racked up more than a million plays on the streaming service Spotify.
*The Grisly Hand, June 20: The 2013 release Country Singles is one of the strongest albums released by a Kansas City band this millennium. Bolstered by stellar vocalists and superior instrumentalists, the Grisly Hand proudly espouses a distinctively Midwestern sensibility.
*Hi-Lux, July 4: Profoundly funky purveyors of celebratory soul, Hi-Lux is an exciting new addition to Kansas City’s music scene. Fronted by the engaging vocalist Julia Haile, the band consists of accomplished ringers.
*Run With It, July 25: The three men in Run With It probably expend more energy in their performances than the members of any other area band. The trio’s melodic indie-rock compares favorably with the hits of groups like Imagine Dragons.
*Grand Marquis, August 8: Grand Marquis brings the sepia-toned photographs of the Pendergast era in Kansas City to life. The group’s evocation of the wild-eyed blues shouting of Big Joe Turner has made it one of the region’s most durable musical institutions.
*The Phantastics, August 15: Kansas City’s best party band plays a riveting hybrid of hip-hop, rock and funk. Kemet the Phantom, the Phantastics’ charismatic front man, is an accomplished rapper who knows precisely how to energize audiences.
*Jessica Paige, August 29: The sterling vocalist Jessica Paige is a sophisticated adult pop artist in the vein of Ray LaMontagne and Lake Street Dive. Her eclectic approach includes elements of jazz and folk.
*Yes You Are, Sept. 12: One of the region’s most polished indie-pop bands, Yes You Are is capable of competing head-to-head with established acts like Lorde and Florence and the Machine. Yes You Are’s new gospel-inflected single “Come Back Home” is ravishing.