KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kaitlin O’Brien is 16, and she’s gonna turn 17 in August. Arguably her biggest accomplishment this year to date was curating Thanks for the Warning (ran through June 22), a 68-person show containing 86 artworks at the Dolphin Gallery, which her father John O’Brien has owned for 24 years. This was the gallery’s final exhibition, a culmination of nearly a quarter century of work. And it was planned, conceived, and executed for reasons not commercial but familial.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For more than 20 years, John O’Brien’s Dolphin Gallery has been a cultural and community epicenter for Kansas City artists. Located in a huge white wall space in the West Bottoms, a historical area in downtown Kansas City, the Dolphin is the size of a barn, and embodies the charisma of an established Chelsea or Chicago River North gallery.
LOS ANGELES — I love road trips, and I love arts communities. So why not combine both? Recently, I took a road trip through the US and visited arts communities with a good friend. We stopped by Kansas City, Missouri, smack dab in the middle of the country. I’d heard of the rapid growth of the art world there but was stunned to see just how developed it really was.