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Art: Touring Wichita

Fletcher Powell

As family comes into town for the Thanksgiving holiday, show them the creative side of Wichita. Many of the city’s museums will keep normal business hours next week-- except for the holiday itself-- which gives Wichitans a chance to show off their city.

The newly renovated Ulrich Museum of Contemporary Art has three beautiful and thought-provoking shows. The permanent collection is assembled for the inquisitive Who Are We? Artists Explore Identity. And the museum also boasts the work of two Kansans:  Poetic Fictions, which features the enigmatic paintings WSU Professor Ronald Christ, and the not-to-be-missed show The Hard Kind of Courage: Gordon Parks and the Photographers of the Civil Rights Era.

The Kansas African-American Museum is a beautiful, tucked-away museum housed in the historic 1917 Calvary Baptist Church. They are also featuring the photography of Gordon Parks and recently opened the exhibition For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights organized by the  University of Maryland and Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Wichita Art Museum offers two exhibitions each featuring a pair of artists. The first is The Disquieting Imagination: A Visual Duet between James G. Davis and Judith Burns McCrea, which examines the work of two contemporary painters that both hold MFA degrees from Wichita State University. Closing next week is Robert Motherwell and Jasper Johns: Poetic Works as Metaphor, a Modernist print exhibition worth a close look. And while in that exhibition, be sure to enjoy one of the Museum’s strongest holdings, the Steuben glass collection.

For families with kids, Exploration Place offers Videotopia: It’s Game Time, a show of restored and new arcade games that examines the history of game technology. With Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and more, parents may find this exhibition more fun than the kids.

After all the museum visits, a stroll to the Keeper of the Plains may be great way to refresh and enjoy an icon of the city. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the troll that lives behind the Westar building too.

Enjoy the holidays with family by taking in the art & culture of the Wichita.  These are the places that enrich our lives and make our city unique, which is something we can all be thankful for.