Well known ceramic artist Melanie Sherman, shown here working on a paper folding technique for a future installation, is using her residency as an opportunity to experiment with media beyond ceramics.
Photo by Jim Barcus, “KC Studio” staff photographer, 2018

by Jim Barcus | March 1, 2018

Behind the shiny corporate façade of Town Pavilion in downtown KC, a warren of former office spaces six floors above street level offers an around-the-clock creative home to 32 artists. Ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s, painters, poets, musicians, performance artists and dancers experiment, interact and rehearse as part of the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Studio Residency Program.

All of the essentials are within easy reach — a piano, a spacious wood dance floor, high-tech equipment. Private spaces, communal spaces, walls to display art, chalkboards, and whiteboards to write down ideas and poems. Children are welcome; noise is encouraged, messes are not a problem.

It’s an artist’s paradise. And it’s free. Artists apply every spring and those chosen receive a free studio for a year, beginning in September. Then they get to work, utilizing everything from their own bodies to turnips, slap bracelets, computers, shirts hanging in their closet, social programs, and fellow residents to express their ideas.

For the community, The Charlotte Street Studio Residency Program represents a talent factory — an incubator for the creative expressions that will occupy Kansas City’s galleries and stages in the years to come. For the artists, “It’s a great opportunity,” said former studio resident Daiana Oneto. “I got to meet amazing people and try new things, like my first collaborative, large-scale installation.”

Shortly after the 2017–18 crop of talent had settled in, “KC Studio” staff photographer Jim Barcus set out to capture the spirit of the place, the faces of the artists, their works and their works in progress, in anticipation of Charlotte Street Studio Residency Program’s spring Open Studios event, from 3 to 10 p.m. April 21. Take a tour in print in the following pages and go to www.kcstudio.org for an expanded virtual tour. Then plan to visit Town Pavilion, 1100 Walnut St., sixth floor, on April 21 for performances, readings and studio viewings. For a schedule of events, visit www.charlottestreet.org.

–Intro by Alice Thorson



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About The Author:
Jim Barcus, “KC Studio” staff photographer, is a 1995 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and has been photographing professionally for 20 years. His work is available through jimbarcusphoto.com.