Warrensburg – The visual and performing arts are well represented in Warrensburg through the mutual interest of town-and-gown leaders from the city and the campus.
“The city’s arts scene has coalesced based on city and University of Central Missouri leadership.
The city and university provide a calendar of events and museum displays that change regularly.
One reason for the diversity is the Warrensburg Arts Commission, led by Jeff Imboden, a musician who also directs UCM’s Performing Arts Series .
Commissioners bring public awareness of, accessibility to, participation in and support for arts and cultural activities in Warrensburg. The group meets at 7 p.m. every third Monday at City Hall.
• One art center is the UCM Gallery of Art & Design, directed by Christian Cutler. The gallery presents a variety of artwork – recent works having included blown glass, textile art and ceramics – to advance an appreciation for visual art.
Gallery events, some geared to children and some including receptions and lectures with master artists, are listed at http://www.ucmo.edu/gallery/.
• Warrensburg Main Street, a business group that promotes downtown, bolsters the performing arts with the free Sounds of Summer Concert series.
• Art exists in parks, downtown and on the UCM campus: a sculpture of Old Drum on the county lawn at North Holden and East Market streets; an outstanding sculpture of Ragtime-era musician Blind Boone, along with a wind harp, at Blind Boone Park; on West Pine Street, etched into concrete, is “Downtown Vibrations”; at Lions Lake, from spring to fall, find “Bobbers,” a heroic-size, whimsical sculpture of fishing bobbers; at City Hall, an 8-foot tall, 24-foot wide photo mural by Janet Bonsall, “The Four Pillars,” portrays the community’s vital institutions – Whiteman Air Force Base, Union Pacific Railroad, UCM – and everyday people; and the variety of work on campus includes “The Five Wise & Five Foolish Virgins,” a stained-glass window by Gabriella Polony-Mountain on the second floor of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, and 13 sculptures in wood, metal and stone, created by artists including Dennis Sohocki, Kathleen Caricof, Larry Young, Elizabeth Ritter and Rita Blitt.
• Live theater is abundant on the UCM campus, with a busy production calendar offering full-scale performances, from musicals to dramas, provided by the accredited Department of Theatre and Dance at the Highlander Theater. A few of this year’s shows: “Caesar X,” “9 Circles,” and “The Toxic Avenger.” Aspiring thespians perform original shows at the Black Box Theatre within Nickerson Hall. Find Highlander and Black Box news at https://www.ucmo.edu/theatre/calendar/.
• UCM’s Performing Arts Series entertains adults with discerning ears for classical music, and children eager for engaged learning. Recent performers have included the Maniacal 4 and Zane Forshee. What comes next is available at http://www.ucmo.edu/pas/.
The presentation is a small part of the arts scene. The “much more” part includes the Annual Childrens Literature festival drawing more than 4,000 people; Powell Gardens, drawing around 100,000 visitors per year; and community productions, including Center Stage Academy’s coming performance of “Shrek The Musical Jr.”