Kauffman Center for Performing Arts hard-hat tours seek hard cash
By Miriam Pepper, Kansas City Star Editorial Page Editor
The rising icon on Kansas City’s downtown skyline is still on time and on budget. That’s the word from backers of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts who are showing off the work site to invited guests.
The hard-hat tours’ mission is donations: Inscribe a name, a company’s name or the name of one you wish to honor on a seat for perpetuity and help close the gap to pay for the construction and build an endowment.
The solicitations are aimed at those able to give $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 for a name plate on a seat, or at least spread the good word to those who can help.
What’s ahead for theater and concert-goers:
— The towering south glass front will feature iron-free glass, to offer a crystal clear view inside the atrium entryway, a view that could resemble a chandelier at night.
— The stainless steel roof (created locally by Zahner Architectural Metal) is bead-blasted to avoid glare for airplanes or neighbors.
— The floor of the concert hall stage will be Alaskan cedar, allowing musicians to “feel” the music as they perform.
— Acoustical innovations include designs that prevent sounds from getting “trapped” in balconies or walls. Design features
will allow the music to flow through and around the hall evenly.
— Heating and air conditioning openings in the floor beneath each seat will keep the concert venues at 72 degrees without the noise of on-and-off cycles, and without drafts.
— Care to see the conductor’s face rather than his back? More than 100 seats for some concerts will allow patron seating behind the orchestra.
— Opera goers will be able to choose the translation they prefer to appear on a small LCD screen on the seat in front of them, with a display that’s unobtrusive to neighbors. No more neck craning to read the English (only) translation above the current Lyric stage.
The givers will be given quite a bit in return. A “meet your seat” night event. A donors’ lounge area. And everyone will be
eligible to rent some lovely spaces for meetings or large gatherings.
The fall 2011 grand opening will be designed by the same firm that handled the Los Angeles Olympics opening and several Super Bowl half-time shows. Several hundred workers are on the job readying the two-hall masterpiece.
Some “final” wood slats are already in place on one wall in the concert hall, and some walls are painted. The one-tenth size acoustical model now displayed at the J.E. Dunn construction site office is coming to life.
The $413 million private project is still $11 million shy of its construction goal. The endowment is seeking $36 million more.
Many Kansas Citians will want to be part of the permanent decor, and the “Please, take your seats” campaign is ready to make that happen with name plates. For more info, see www.kauffmancenter.org