Historic Bakery Building Gives Rise to New Artist Studios on Troost Avenue

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Above image credits: The Kansas City Artist Alliance has opened a second artist studio space on 2999 Truth Store Venue called Wonder Studio. (Courtesy | Jim Barcus)

The supply of Kansas City Artist Studios has been left a little further with the recent addition of Wonder Studios provided by the Kansas City Artists Association (KCAC).

Wonder Studios settled at the lower levels of Wonder Shops and Flats on 30th Street and Troost Avenue earlier this year. Originally a bakery that opened in 1915, the building has been redeveloped by Kansas City-based Exact Partners.

The Truth Avenue has long represented the line between white and black Kansas City, and the black Kansas Sityan has been driven to the east of that line. It’s a problem that continues to plague at many levels. But after decades of decline, the Truth Avenue Corridor has blossomed in a redevelopment project that bridges the racial gap.

Art plays an important role in this renaissance in Trust and other parts of the city. Exact Partners has also redeveloped the Acme Building on 3200 Gillham Road, about 800 meters southwest of Wonder Shops and Flats. Built in 1925, the Acme Building now contains another batch of apartments, KCAC headquarters, and artist studios.

Artists love the airiness of the new Wonder Studio, which features concrete floors and 20-foot ceilings. (Courtesy | Jim Barcus)

At the Ribbon Cut Ceremony at Wonder Studio on January 26th, KCAC Executive Director Marissa Stark thanked Exact Partners. When they offered us this space, we quickly jumped at it and continued to provide a safe and affordable accessible studio. “

Caleb Buland, a partner at Exact Partners, said: “As an architect and developer, it’s important to include creative and vibrant uses, designs and partners in every project. This has been found to be especially true for urban redevelopment work, with the bright background of the gallery. Workspaces help maintain open warehouses and commercial spaces of the past. “

Buland said: “In the case of The Wonder and Acme, we looked for KCAC to bring sparks to the walkable areas we’re working on to build. In addition to being a creative partner, art, winewalks, gallery openings, studios. Events such as group lessons and general recipes are of great value to our goal: a happy building full of happy people. “

Wonder Studios represents the latest examples of ongoing growth in this area. Other recent entries include the Agnes Arts Studio in a former police training facility building at 1328 Agnes Ave., a few miles east of downtown.

Wonder Studios’ 10 studios feature concrete floors and 20-foot ceilings, ranging in size from 100 to 200 square feet. Tenants have unlimited 24-hour access using their keys. Space starts at $ 250 per month and has a minimum contract of 6 months. Rental fees include gas, water, electricity, internet access, garbage picking, shared bathrooms and a large industrial sink. All KCAC Studio Tenants receive a KCAC Annual Membership as part of their Studio Deposit.

Wonder Studio tenants can host Open Studio Nights within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops and retail spaces, according to KCAC sources.

Space to create and grow

Artists who have a strong position at Wonder Studios include Megan Ganey.

“This is my first studio,” Gainy said. “This is a great time because I had a home studio where I worked and was growing up quickly.”

Gainy is working on the art he is creating for the Parade of Hearts, an exhibition of heart statues around Kansas City, to support tourism, local businesses, early childcare, and other initiatives. He said he needed space.

The relationship between Gainy and KCAC dates back to her 2019 show.

“I wanted to continue that relationship,” she said. “Through that connection, I learned about these spaces. I’ve lived in Kansas City for eight years and have been slowly practicing artists. I recently decided to pursue it full time. Having decided, having a studio really helps it. “

Covers for May and June 2022 at KC Studios.
This article first appeared in KC Studio. This is part of an ongoing content collaboration between Flatland and KC Studio.

Artist Jean McGuire, who was also involved in the Parade of Hearts project, needed more space and moved from the Acme Building studio to the Wonder Studio.

“I like being airy,” she said. “It has a very high ceiling and lots of open space. It feels good. It has good energy.”

Artist Erica Baker moved to Wonder Studio space in late January. “When the pandemic began, I lost all my work,” she said. “I decided to create a small business.”

Baker’s business, Desert Pear, creates and sells plant jewelery and upholstery. She plans to advance to Wall Art.

“I was fortunate that my business grew considerably,” Baker said. “It became clear that working outside my home was no longer feasible, so I decided I needed an outdoor studio space.”

Donna Mandelbaum, KCAC Executive and KC Street Car Communications Director, said KCAC “needs an affordable and secure studio space not only on the 3200 Gillham Road, but also here in Troost.” It’s great for the artist community to be able to create and grow their profession in Kansas City. “

Brandon Klekel, Engagement Manager at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said: We are affiliated with many nonprofits of art. Marissa and the Kansas City Artist Alliance are doing great things. “

Crekel, who grew up in Blue Springs and lives downtown, also likes to see old buildings redeveloped for new purposes.

“The new developments are great, but they don’t have the characteristics of these old buildings,” Krekel said. “This is almost a form of art. They redeveloped it and made it something useful. That means people want to invest in the community.”

Christopher Goode, founder of Ruby Jean's Juicery, 3000 Troost Ave., offers a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and juices.
Christopher Goode, founder of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, 3000 Troost Ave., welcomes the additional traffic that Wonder Studios brings to the region. (Courtesy: Anna Petrow)

Opposite Wonder Studios is Ruby Jean’s Juicery, which contributed to the redevelopment of Troost Avenue. This menu includes custom juices, smoothies and shakes. Founder Chris Goode named the store after his deceased grandmother after fighting his diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure. The Ruby Jean website states that her grandmother’s illness is primarily due to her diet centered on traditional fried “soul food” dishes with high amounts of butter and salt.

Goode believes Wonder Studios will drive more economic development along Troost.

“Additional traffic engagement with the community will be a beautiful asset for our entire region,” said Goode, who catered the Wonder Studios ribbon-cut event. “Kansas City has a large arts community, and expanding it to the east is beautiful and our proximity is very close.”

Julius A. Karash, a Flatland contributor, is a Kansas City-based writer.

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