Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, Kansas City
Spectacular new performing arts center, opened in 2011 and bringing Kansas City audiences beautiful, dramatic, and architecturally significant spaces for their cultural institutions: the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet. (Visiting theatrical and musical groups also use one or other of the two theatres.)
The Kaufmann Center was almost entirely funded by private contributed, spearheaded by the legendary Kaufmann family, whose fortune stemmed from the Marion Merrill Dow pharaceutical compnay. The Helzberg family, local jewelry and department store philanthropists, also made a very important contribution.
The Performing Arts Center was designed by the major Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, who is perhaps best known for his workd designing facilities for the Montreal Olympics of 1972. Here, Safdie was inspired perhaps by the Sydney Opera House, but he also was able to make ideal use of the location of the Arts Center on the crest of a gradually rising hill which provides dramatic views to the south.
I was able happily able to attend a performance of the Kansas City Symphony at the Kaufmann in March.
Downtown KC has undergone numerous changes in recent years, including the openings of the Sprint Center (sports and concert arena), H&R Block World Headquarters, Power & Light Entertainment District, and new printing plant for the Kansas City Star. The next new opening will surpass all the others in splendor.
Having endured many a symphony concert or opera production in cramped, out-dated quarters, I am excited about the opening of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center in 2011. This spectacular edifice, designed by Moshe Safdie, with accoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota, will contain a hall for the symphony, a second hall for the opera and ballet, as well as a smaller multi-purpose hall. The cost: $326 million, almost totally funded from private sources. The Muriel Kauffman Foundantion has led the fund drive, itself contributing well more than $100 million.For more about the PAC, visit www.kcperformingartscenter.org.