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Charlotte Street’s La Esquina Gallery (1000 W 25th Street) will host Traces and Trajectories, an exhibition examining the six-year history of the Rocket Grants program in the Kansas City region. Traces and Trajectories will open Friday, February 5th with a reception from 6-9PM, and will be on display through March 5th.

This exhibition – curated by Melaney Mitchell and Blair Schulman – highlights the overarching accomplishments of the Rocket Grants program, and how their artists practices speak to issues and concerns in our community. The Rocket Grants program and its recipients’ community-based practices have acted as a catalyst in the Kansas City region. The various projects sometimes shift perspectives of the artists’ trajectories, illuminating subtler aspects for their audience. Other times they offer an examination of topics some might consider challenging or provocative. The aim of this exhibition is to survey how these projects have made, and continue to make, an impact on the city as a whole.


The exhibition will include work in response to their earlier Rocket Grants projects from artists Blanket Undercover, Nedra Bonds, Darryl Chamberlain, Amber Hansen, Judith G. Levy, Dave Loewenstein, PLUG projects, and Don Wilkison. These works come from varying disciplines, including installation, mixed media, drawing, photography, social practice, and performance. While the mediums may differ, the works’ subject matter engages with larger ideas such as identity gentrification, economics, social justice, and the environment.

Exhibition: Traces and Trajectories; an exhibition celebrating the Rocket Grants Program
Opening Reception: Friday, February 5th 6-9PM
Rocket Talks: Saturday February 6th 1pm Judith G. Levy & Jessica Borusky
Saturday February 6th 3pm Dave Loewenstein
Thursday February 11th 7:00 pm Nedra Bonds/ Michael Toombs
Thursday February 25th 6:00 pm Plug Projects Crit Night
Exhibition Runs: February 6th – March 5th
Where: La Esquina, 1000 W 25th Street, Kansas City, MO
Gallery Hours: By Appointment: Thursdays: 11-6pm and Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 12-5pm

Traces and Trajectories will link these uncommon processes of community engagement through programming outside of the standard exhibition format by staging a series of Rocket Talks during the month of February. These talks will examine and illuminate the micro issues surrounding each artist’s practice. They are an opportunity for the individual artist(s) to discuss their process at length and allow for an audience encounter to question and discuss these motivations. By extending this exploration, the work and ideas of these varied artists invites new conversations. In addition, PLUG projects will also host a Critique Night at La Esquina. 

Melaney Ann Mitchell is a curator, visual artist, and writer based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Informality, an online platform for documenting the conversation about Kansas City contemporary art and culture. Mitchell was also the Director of Subterranean Gallery, an underground apartment gallery, located in Midtown. She is a 2015 Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Art Writing and Curatorial Fellow, a participant in the Charlotte Street Foundation Rocket Grant Editorial Program, and has received an Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC. Her curatorial, writing, and visual art practices all revolve around the intersection of our lives with the Internet and its affect on our online and offline identities. For more information see,, or

Blair Schulman is an art writer/critic and Senior Editor of Informality. He is a regular contributor to Ceramics: Art & Perception Huffington Post Arts & Culture and Hyperallergic. His writing has appeared in Art Focus Oklahoma, Art Practical, Juxtapoz, The Kansas City Star, Whitehot and the former Review magazine, where he was a longtime contributor. He was Editor of Cupcakes in Regalia and Associate Editor of Art Tattler online magazines.  In addition, Schulman is a 2012 Oklahoma Art Writing and Curatorial Fellow as well as a founder and co-host of ArtSpeak Radio on KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio. For more information visit

Rocket Grants 2016-17 are supported by a $60,000 regional re-granting award from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and are developed and implemented by a partnership between the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, and the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence. They are specifically intended to encourage work that is interdisciplinary and under-represented, and that engages or benefits an audience somewhere other than in an established arts venue, museum or art gallery. The long-term goal of the program is to both encourage emerging and non-traditional art practices in the Kansas City region, and also to contribute to a thriving artists’ community. Awarded projects are therefore evaluated not only on the artistic merits of the proposed projects, but also on their capacity to stimulate further growth in a diverse and supportive art ecology characterized by unconventional and expansive forms of interaction, exchange, provocation, and surprise.

The Spencer Museum of Art houses an internationally known collection that is deep and diverse, with artworks and artifacts in all media. The collection spans the history of European and American art from ancient to contemporary, and includes broad and significant holdings of East Asian art. Areas of special strength include medieval panel painting and religious sculpture; the Kress Study Collection of early modern Italian painting; 19th-century American art and material culture; old master prints; photography; European, East Asian, and Indian textiles; American Indian pottery, beadwork, and jewelry; African sculpture; Japanese Edo-period prints; and 20th-century Chinese painting. The Spencer Museum is currently closed for a major renovation and is slated to reopen in 2016.

Generous support for Traces and Trajectories provided by:

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