Last fall, someone on Facebook posted a question to Tyler Kimball, owner of Monarch Glass Studio. The person wanted to know the names of some Kansas City glass artists.
A native Kansas Citian, Kimball named several. Others chimed in with more. A few said, “Hey, I’m here, too,” he explains on a recent sunny Monday from the ground floor of Monarch at 1919 E. Truman Road.
He says that nationwide, the glass artist community is pretty small, and he thought it was ridiculous that there was no central way to know who the local artists were.
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He introduced the idea of the Heartland Glass Show on Facebook and put out a call to artists in six Midwestern states. Twelve artists in Kansas and Missouri answered.
“Everybody had good work and everybody is passionate about what they’re doing,” he says of the respondents.
And, fortunately, what each artist contributed represented a different aspect of the art. He will showcase most of them at a March 3 First Friday event in his studio.
“We’ve got fused glass, kiln-formed glass, blown glass, lamp-worked glass, slump glass, wall-hangings, pedestal pieces, lighting. We’ve got all of the disciplines within glass that I can think of.”
Kimball says the only piece he didn’t include was stained glass because he didn’t feel he’d have enough natural light in the 5,000-square-foot industrial studio space to do it justice.
One of the participating artists is Joanna Wallace of Lenexa. This will be her first big show. Her two-piece sculpture is called “Covers Rock,” and it’s cast glass modeled on her 28-year-old daughter’s hands.
“I looked at the two pieces together and it looks like there’s a fist and someone is either trying to calm it down or someone is doing this,” Wallace says, pausing to punch her hand.
“I wanted the two pieces displayed together, but I didn’t want it to look violent. I thought, well, it kind of looks like a game of rock, paper, scissors, too. Paper’s calming down the rock,” Wallace explains.
She started working in glass decades ago before her children were born and switched to fiber art while they were young out of safety concerns.
But glass work kept calling to her, so she started up again about seven years ago, enrolling as a graduate student at Emporia State University. Now she works in glass blowing and casting, as well as metal engraving.
The only non-local artist involved in the show is Alison Siegel from Brooklyn. She and Kimball met at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington state five years ago.
Siegel is in town for a month teaching classes at Monarch, and she will do a demo at the reception — part of the entertainment along with the Irieplaceables Ska Orchestra.
“I’m going to make a plaster mold of an object, and then we’re going to be blowing glass into that and adding … premade little pieces of glass that we’re going to design that we’ll then add to the surface,” she says of the technique she uses in her work. “I thought it would be fun to try it here.”
All pieces, including those from the demo, will be for sale.
Kimball opened the space in December 2015 and has had various projects: private and public installations, lighting for homes, giftware, architectural glass, even some pharmaceutical pieces. He has one full-time employee and a rotating part-time employee.
“We just finished a house for Jonathan Ive, who’s the chief design officer for Apple, in San Francisco,” he says. “We made 4,000 blown discs that went into every single window in his 1920s reconstructed mansion.”
It’s an impressive number, but Kimball has had plenty of experience. He trained in glass-blowing in Seattle factories, cranking out over nine years, by his estimate: 100,000 Christmas ornaments, 20,000 glass pumpkins and about 60,000 votive candle holders.
He also teaches caning at workshops all over the country. It’s his favorite technique, involving adding patterns on glass, and he uses it to create brilliant shuttlecocks, iconic symbols in Kansas City.
“What I’m trying to do with this show is just bring everybody together,” he says.
First Friday galleries
18th and Vine Jazz District
What: First Friday with music, art, dancing, storytelling and more. 4-9 p.m. March 3. Free.
Info: Paseo Boulevard to Woodland Avenue. americanjazzmuseum.org, 816-474-8463
Belger Arts Center
What: Jasper Johns. Opening reception, 6-8 p.m. March 3; runs through Sept. 2.
Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Info: 2100 Walnut. redstarstudios.org, 816-474-7316
What: “Contour Animals” by David Hardy. Opening reception, 5-9 p.m. March 3; runs through March.
Info: 1903 Wyandotte. counterpointkc.com, 816-686-1057
Kemper at the Crossroads
What: “No Boundaries: Teen Art Initiative.” Through March 8.
Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Info: 33 W. 19th. kemperart.org, 816-753-5784
Leedy Voulkos Art Center
What: “Decade: Selected Works from 2006-2016” by Misty Gamble, “Wonderland Remains: Four Views” group show. Through April 1.
Gallery hours: 6-9 p.m. First Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Info: 2012 Baltimore. leedy-voulkos.com, 816-474-1919
Main Street Gallery
What: “Artists of Roanoke” group show. Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. March 3; runs through April 30.
Info: Upper level of Anton’s Tap Room, 1610 Main. 816-210-6534
Mid-America Arts Alliance
What: “Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland.” NEH on the Road traveling exhibition. 6-8 p.m. March 3.
Info: 2018 Baltimore. maaa.org, 816-421-1388
Monarch Glass Studio
What: Heartland Glass Show. Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. March 3; runs through May 31.
Info: 1919 E. Truman. monarchglassstudio.com, 816-503-6326
Studios Inc. Exhibition Space
What: “/spek-trem/” group show. Through March 21.
Gallery hours: 6-9 p.m. First Friday, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday.
Info: 1708 Campbell. thestudiosinc.org, 816-994-7134
Todd Weiner Gallery
What: “Buzz” by Jarret Mellenbruch, Dave Root, Steve Pistone and jewelry shop Coki Bijoux. Through March 23.
Gallery hours: 5-9 p.m. First Friday, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Info: 115 W. 18th. toddweinergallery.com, 816-984-8538
Weinberger Fine Art
What: “Habitual Observations” by Madeline Gallucci and Brenda Zappitell. Opening reception, 5-8 p.m. March 2; members reception, 5-8 p.m. March 3; runs through April 29.
Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday.
Info: 114 Southwest Blvd. weinbergerfineart.com, 816-301-4428