06/08/2018 - 03/16/2019

Throughout 2018, the Artspace will dedicate our Studio Gallery to Commonspace. This project underscores the notion that the Artspace acts as a commons—a cultural resource available to all members of our community for collective benefit. Modeled as an exhibition of community action, Commonspace endeavors to facilitate “do-it-together” programs and events in collaboration with other institutions that consider how creativity, action, and information intersect. Commonspace is available to host a myriad of activities organized by the Artspace, collaborators, and the general public, and may include but is not limited to: guided meditations, town hall meetings, voter registration events, Wikipedia edit-a-thons, fact-checking workshops, zine-making workshops, book clubs, reading groups, quilting circles, podcast recordings, and group discussions. Commonspace aims to create new bodies of knowledge, engage audiences around issues of urgency and resonance, address media literacy, and bring together artists, scholars, activists, librarians, students, and political and cultural leaders for in-depth exploration into how information is gathered, processed, and shared.

Public events scheduled for Commonspace

First Friday Meditation Series
Join Meditation Instructor Lisa Murphy in Commonspace for her free guided meditation as she teaches mindful practices for healthy living.  If you can’t sit still for an hour, no problem. Participants are encouraged to be comfortable, and you may move when needed. Everyone is invited to experience the meditation in their own way, and no prior meditation experience is necessary. Some cushions and chairs are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, so please bring your yoga mat or meditation cushion.  You are also welcome to bring a shawl or sweater for warmth as Artspace maintains a 70-degree environment.  This event is free to the public, but space is limited, so please RSVP to Marcus Cain at or call 816-802-3571.

Friday, November 2
10:30 – 11 a.m. exhibition preview
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. guided meditation

Friday, December 7
5 – 5:15 p.m. exhibition preview
5:15 – 6:15 p.m. guided meditation

PDF Club (Third Thursdays)

PDF Club is a reading and conversation group hosted by H&R Block Artspace in collaboration with Informality, a slow media publication that focuses on empowering and growing the base of arts writers in Kansas City.

Each month, Informality Founder and Senior Editor and KCAI alumna Melaney Mitchell (’13 Painting) and Artspace Assistant Curator Jennifer Baker choose a pdf article on theory that relates to the exhibition(s) on view at the Artspace. These open source pdfs will be available for download so that participants can read and reflect on their own time before coming together to ask questions, share thoughts, and discuss ideas. PDF Club meets on the third Thursday of the month from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Artspace.  Please rsvp to Jennifer Baker at to receive your pdf.  Cllck here to access a PDF Digital Commons to see an archive of PDF Club and/or to participate in an online commenting and discussion.]

Thursday, October 18

6:30 – 8 p.m.

Join a discussion in response to an excerpt from Lutz Koepnick’s book “On Slowness
Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary.” Lutz Koepnick is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German, Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he also chairs the Department of German, Russian and East European Studies and serves as the director of the joint-Ph.D. program in Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP).

Thursday, November 15

6:30 – 8 p.m.

Join a discussion in response to Jarrett Mellenbruch’s “Deep Ecology Project – Redwood Preserve Whitepaper” which is part of his installation, “The Eternal Question” in the 2018 Charlotte Street Foundation Awardsexhibition at H&R Block Artspace. Jarrett Mellenbruch is a transdisciplinary artist, 2018 CSF Visual Artist Fellow, and is a lecturer in sculpture and social practice at the Kansas City Art Institute.

For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative
August 18 – November 6
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms Federation is a nonpartisan project and artist-led platform for action and engagement that encourages new forms of critical discourse to build greater participation in American Democracy. New this year, they have launched the 50 State Initiative during the lead-up to the midterm elections to engage in partnerships with organizations nationally. For its part, Artspace and KCAI hosted a campaign sign-making workshop August 18 with incoming freshman students during their orientation to create campaign-style lawn signs, which are currently displayed on the east side of the KCAI campus on Oak Street, and a voter registration event on campus, September 18, hosted by the League of Women Voters. Artspace is also offering the following additional For Freedoms programs that are open the public in a lead-up to the November mid-term elections:

For Freedoms Town Hall: Slowness
Friday, November 2
6:30-8:30 pm
Three artists, two scholars, one journalist, and one curator will guide an interdisciplinary conversation with the audience focused on intentional slowness, how we experience time, and the ways we remember, see the present, and plan for our futures.

Panelists: C.J. Janovny, independent author and Digital Content Editor at KCUR; Jay Johnson, Associate Professor and Chair of Geography & Atmospheric Science at the University of Kansas; and Lutz Koepnick, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German, Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University
Artists: 2018 CSF Visual Artist Award Fellows Marie Bannerot McInerney, Jarrett Mellenbruch, Jillian Youngbird
Moderator: Jennifer Baker, Assistant Curator at H&R Block Artspace

For Freedoms Campaign Lawn Sign Making at H&R Block Artspace
Ongoing through November 6
Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00-5:00 pm
Artspace presents a self-guided project for visitors to create their own campaign-style lawn signs at a drawing station in Commonspace using one of four fill-in-the-blank posters with leading phrases based on the concept of Freedom. Participants may also offer to have their signs displayed on the KCAI campus through Election Day. All materials provided for this project are free and open to the public.

The Artspace wants to help you exercise your right to vote in the Midterm Election. Register to vote here.

Commnonspace would like to acknowledge the following public/private partnerships that have helped to activate this space:

For Freedoms
League of Women Voters
After Action Network
Lisa Murphy, LLC
KCAI Advancement, Magic Sock Fund
KCAI Housing and Student Activities
KCAI Career Services
KCAI Communications
KCAI Staff Advisory Council
KCAI Fiber Department

In partnership with Open Spaces KC: the Expanded Field.