LSJ News

Art Walks draw crowds to downtown Lee’s Summit

Emily Stull (left), Janell Doster and Michael McDonald contemplated art purchases during June’s Art Walk hosted by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street. Since the event began in 2012, attendance has doubled and participation of businesses and artists has increased nearly eight-fold.
Emily Stull (left), Janell Doster and Michael McDonald contemplated art purchases during June’s Art Walk hosted by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street. Since the event began in 2012, attendance has doubled and participation of businesses and artists has increased nearly eight-fold.

Visitors to downtown Lee’s Summit Friday evening will find an intoxicating array of art on display.

Every fourth Friday of the month from April through August, merchants open their doors, artists show their work and performers entertain from 5 until 8 p.m. as part of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s Art Walk.

Along with the visual arts, Art Walk offers several other events each month, all tied together by a theme. On July 27, the theme will be “Art of the Cocktail.”

“In July, we’ll partner with bars and restaurants to offer beverage specials that have more of an artistic twist to them,” said Rachael Fitch, creative content and design coordinator for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.

The Art Walks, now in their sixth year, have given visitors a chance to explore, discover and connect with community.

fossil forge
During June’s Art Walk, metal designer and artist Dave Eames (center) discussed a current project with Robert Falke (left) and James Simmons in his shop at Fossil Forge Design.

“We love bringing the artists and merchants together for this cultural arts experience in the summer. People attend who might not otherwise come downtown,” Fitch said.

Ric Gordon, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s cultural arts committee member, agreed.

Every month, he says, visitors “get acquainted with artists or businesses they didn’t know about before.”

musician
Ric Gordon, musician and a Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s cultural arts committee member, entertained the crowds during June’s Art Walk.

From attendance to participation, enthusiasm is on the rise for Art Walk.

In 2012, just three businesses took part in the premiere event. This June, nearly two dozen businesses hosted artists, while attendance has nearly doubled each of the past six years.

“The culture is really good in downtown Lee’s Summit, and Art Walk provides great exposure for aspiring artists and businesses,” said Janell Doster, Lee’s Summit resident and Art Walk fan.

From paintings to jewelry, and photography to glass art, artists exhibit a wide array of work.

June’s event was the first Art Walk for ceramic artist Cindy Percival, who showed her work at Blue Heron Design.

“It was such a positive experience,” Percival said. “I sold several pieces and got great feedback from everyone. Blue Heron loved my work and is ordering custom mugs to sell.”

ceramics
Debbie Zentz of Lee’s Summit looked over Cindy Percival’s ceramic art, which was exhibited at Blue Heron Design. “I found a store tonight I didn’t even know was here,” Zentz said.

June’s schedule of events included live music at Howard Station Park, a street yoga class by Metanoia-KC at City Hall and an interactive outdoor theater experience with Cellular Cenes.

The month’s theme was “Art for a Cause.”

“For June, we encouraged artists and businesses to be thoughtful about how they could give back to the community,” Fitch said.

That evening, Courtney Pals-Siebert donated 25 percent of her painting sales to local animal shelters, including KC Pet Project and Unleased. Got Art Gallery hosted a Paint Night and donated the $15 ticket cost to Pro Deo Youth Center. Metatonia-KC and Budget Blinds held school supply and clothing drives.

paint night
During June’s Art Walk, Got Art Gallery hosted a Paint Night and donated the $15 ticket cost to Pro Deo Youth Center. “Art for a Cause” was June’s Art Walk theme and several businesses and artists took the opportunity to gave back to the community that evening.

The theme Aug. 24 will be “Art in the Alley.”

“We’ll have more going on in the alleys. They’ll be closed down, so artists can set up and exhibit there and Fossil Forge will have shop tours,” Fitch said.

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