World-renowned brothers’ art center opening in 18th and Vine district

The center anticipates a late spring opening.

Zhou B Art Center rendering

Look at it in all its historic glory.

Rendering by Zhou B. Art Center

Kansas City’s art scene is going global. The internationally-respected Zhou brothers will open the Zhou B. Art Center this spring in the 18th and Vine District.

About the center

Crispus Attucks school from KCPL

The Crispus Attucks school in 1940.

Photo courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections

The new art center will rest within the historic Crispus Attucks school. Originally built in 1905 to host KC’s African American students, the beautifully reclaimed masterpiece will house 45 local artists who will create art within classrooms-turned-studios.

Currently, the center is at ~30% capacity and is still accepting applications. All visual artists are encouraged to dip their brush and apply. Those accepted can expect to be a part of group exhibitions, beginning this fall. Note: There is a $50 jury fee.

The building also features multiple event spaces, cafes + an 80,000-sqft sculpture garden.

Panorama classroom art studio Zhou B Art Center KC

The classroom studio has restored, wrap-around blackboards.

Photo by KCtoday

Who are the Zhou brothers?

ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou are a Chinese American duo that settled in the Chicago area in the 80s. That’s where their original spot — also known as the Zhou B. Art Center — remains.

Fun fact: In 2011, President Obama commissioned them to create a painting for then-President Hu Jintao of China in honor of his state visit.

What brought them to Kansas City?

In a word: happenstance.

“Allan Gray was giving the Zhou brothers a tour and they drove by this building. They liked it and they asked about it.” said Managing Curator Mitchell Obstfeld.

The property was already spoken for. Eventually, its owner’s development plans fell through and the brothers scooped it up.

Zhou Brothers with president obama and president of china

Art with artists, president with president.

Photo courtesy of Zhou B. Art Center

How will this impact KC?

Leadership plans to create a more accessible art community.

“There’s a lot of commentary saying art is only for these certain types of communities, and we’re trying to give a platform to artists that are typically marginalized and underrepresented,” said Art Director Izzy Vivas.

“There are a lot of silos that we’re going to break down,” Obstfeld added. “We’re giving the artists an international platform.”

A grand opening date is planned for late spring with exact dates TBA. Following its grand opening, the team plans to become a hub for First Fridays and be a gathering space for all of KC’s art sectors.

Watch their website for more information.

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