Artspeak Radio with Elisabeth Kirsch, Christopher Leitch, Happy Tree Painting, & Zhou B Art Center

Artspeak Radio, Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 9am -10am CST, 90.1fm KKFI Kansas City Community Radio, streaming live audio

Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd, writer/curator/art historian Elisabeth Kirsch, writer/artist/curator Christopher Leitch talk with Melissa Butler, Izzy Vivas & Alan Gray with Zhou Brothers Art Center.

MELISSA BUTLER- We Didn’t Invent Painting, We Just Make It Easy! I started teaching painting parties as a part time job in 2013 at Hook Gallery in Westport. Later that same year I got a chance to open my own small location in the Crossroads, and this became known as Happy Trees Painting. We operated in the Crossroads for couple of years before moving in 2016 to Cap Gun Studios in The West Bottoms. Happy Trees is Paint & Sip business model similar to some of the franchises like Pinot’s Palette, Painting with a Twist, etc. At Happy Trees we have tried to set ourselves apart by our vast selection of original painting examples. Cap Gun Studios is the quintessential artist loft & is the perfect place to come and get creative. There are not a lot of spaces left like ours and we love sharing it with people. In addition to the Happy Trees art class calendar, we are working with other artists and makers to have pop-up markets, craft nights and live music. I am also a musician in local bands Good Time Charley and Dimension Bill Edwards and have appeared on Under the Radar, Wednesday Midday Medley and River Trade Radio.
Happy Trees was founded in 2014 by local artist and musician Melissa Weinman. Since its inception thousands of paintings have been taught, and over time a tried and true Happy Trees method has developed. Register for a class, bring a beverage, and receive step by step instruction on creating your own masterpiece! Happy Trees is located at 1219 Union Ave, Kansas City, MO 64101
Melissa Weinman | Owner

IZZY VIVAS, Art Director Zhou Art Center & ALAN GRAY, Partner at Zhou Brothers Art Center; A LABOR OF LOVE FOR KANSAS CITY’S 18TH AND VINE JAZZ DISTRICT: GRAND

[Kansas City, MO] – The Zhou B Art Center of Kansas City proudly announces the grand
inauguration and renovation of the Attucks School, marking a significant milestone for the Kansas City arts community and the 18th and Vine Jazz District. The Grand Opening Benefit will take place on June 1st 2024 at 6:00 PM. This monumental event not only celebrates the cultural history embedded in the former Crispus Attucks School but also marks the launch of the Zhou B Art Foundation of Kansas City, a non-profit initiative dedicated to fostering the arts with future creatives and residents alike.

The Zhou B Art Foundation of Kansas City’s commitment to nurture creativity and promote inclusivity extends beyond the studio and into the community. Through educational programs, community partnerships, exhibition sponsorship and advocacy efforts, the Zhou B Art Foundation aims to cultivate a vibrant and sustainable arts ecosystem. Proceeds from the Grand Opening Benefit will go directly to subsiding artists’ studios, curating renowned exhibitions and developing engaging workshops and community events.

Though sitting vacant for 20 years, the Attucks school’s renovation is finally complete. In
remembrance for the school’s innovation and impact, the Zhou B Art Center intends to
memorialize its legacy with the first Inaugural Exhibition: A Benediction from the Rubble. The exhibition is curated by renowned actress and collector, CCH Pounder. The exhibition will feature two international artists; Tony Ramos and Harold Smith, and two Kansas City based artists Michael Brantley and Robert Hale whose work captures the emotional intricacies found in the everyday juxtapositions of the human condition.

As the Zhou B Art Center opens its doors to the public, it invites individuals from all walks of life to embark on this transformative endeavor of artistic discovery and cultural immersion. As quoted by the Zhou Brothers, “for art, for life, for people, and for the future”, a philosophy that brought them to Kansas City and makes the Zhou B Art Center of Kansas City a labor of love.

Zhou B Art Center KC
1801 E 18th Street
Kansas City MO 64108
For more information, please visit or contact Izzy Vivas (Art Director) at
[email protected]
About the Zhou B Art Center

The Zhou B Art Center is a pioneering cultural institution dedicated to fostering artistic
excellence, innovation, and inclusivity. Located in the 18th and Vine District, the center provides a dynamic platform for artists, patrons, and the community to engage with the arts. Its facilities include 45 studio spaces, 3 private event spaces, a sculpture garden and exhibition space. The Zhou B Art Center KC will feature a rotation of formal exhibitions to exhibit resident, local, national and international artists. The goal of this interdisciplinary arts building is to foster a vibrant community that extends beyond the arts by actively collaborating with the people of Kansas City through partnerships and a shared vision.

About The Zhou B Art Foundation of Kansas City- The Zhou B Art Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to empowering artists and fostering a sustainable arts ecosystem by providing a supportive environment for learning, experimentation and the exploration of their creative spirit. The non-profit’s initiative towards inclusivity and accessibility can be seen with its various means of community outreach, partnerships, subsiding programs, and advocacy efforts. The center will serve as a bridge connecting local artists with regional and national art professionals acting as a beacon for artistic discovery and intercultural understanding. The generosity of donors and partners allows the Zhou B Art Foundation to further its mission to nurture a thriving arts community locally.

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