Performing Arts

Grand Arts will close its doors Sept. 4

Margaret Silva, director of Grand Arts, a nonprofit gallery and sculpture studio at 1819 Grand Blvd., has donated the building to the Kansas City Art Institute. Last year, Silva was photographed on the building’s living roof.
Margaret Silva, director of Grand Arts, a nonprofit gallery and sculpture studio at 1819 Grand Blvd., has donated the building to the Kansas City Art Institute. Last year, Silva was photographed on the building’s living roof. deulitt@kcstar.com

After 20 years, an early engine in the creative revival of the Crossroads Arts District is closing its doors.

Grand Arts will turn out the lights for good Sept. 4, after a closing reception for the show “A Universe of Collisions” by the Vietnam-based Propeller Group.

Founder Margaret Silva announced last year that she is donating the Grand Arts building to the Kansas City Art Institute’s graduate program. Silva said she expects to hand over the keys to KCAI by the end of October. The college has said it would like to use the building at 1819 Grand Blvd. to house a program that would teach artists the business end of running a gallery.

Silva said that she began thinking about closing the nonprofit artist residency venue five or six years ago and that the staff has known for some time. Grand Arts has six full-time employees.

“The staff are all going to move on to bigger and better things, you’ll see,” Silva said.

Silva says she is not retiring but will transition to new projects outside the art world.

“I would like to be going to shows just to enjoy them, instead of thinking about them from a work perspective,” she said.

Adolescent mental health is an area she is interested in pursuing, she said.

But she admits her feelings will be mixed the night of the last closing reception. (“A Universe of Collisions” opens Aug. 7.)

“I have so loved doing it. Now I’m pretty much spending every day going through old files. I’m not a person who usually looks back, but I’m forced to now. To look at the trajectory of some of the artists we have launched, I’m amazed. What an honor.”

To reach Cindy Hoedel, call 816-234-4304 or send email to choedel@kcstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @CindyHoedel, and at facebook.com/cindy.hoedel.

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