Posted: April 18, 2013
Written by: Guest Blogger
Mention “Downtown Overland Park” to any long-time resident, and the phrase evokes memories of the city’s central business district – a place where the Kansas City Power and Light Co. was housed in a two-story building and the eats were simply delivered in the “café.” Today, William Strang, the city’s first master planner, would like what he sees. A convergence of shops, galleries and culinary offerings line the charming streets in this northeast corridor of Johnson County.
The heart of Downtown includes the iconic clock tower pavilion and Farmers’ Market, and live entertainment is featured at the clock tower during the market season. More information on clock tower entertainment can be found on pages 12-13. To check the latest produce, vendors and hours for the Farmers’ Market, visit www.opkansas.org/farmers market.
A taste of the world
Bring a cultured palette to the many Downtown restaurants, which simmer in unique, multi-cultural flavors. Try the spirited cuisine at Elsa’s Ethiopian Restaurant. Visit the taste of Italy at Villa Capri and glimpse Central America at El Salvadoreno. Neighborhood favorites Dragon Inn and Mr. Gyros bring China and Greece to the table. The Snack Shack on Santa Fe has visitors lining up at this cozy niche. Travel south of the border at Mi Ranchito or Torreador. Sports emporiums Maloneys, The Other Place and The Peanut on Santa Fe satisfy the pizza and wings lovers; and coffee fans find their joe at Homer’s Coffee House, Great Day Café, Mysteryscape and Clock Tower Bakery & Cafe.
Licking the bowl
Downtown is a foodies’ haven for those will all levels of kitchen experience. The Culinary Center of Kansas City brings classes of all levels and interests to the metro. Also a popular stop is The Tasteful Olive, specializing in over 60 of the richest olive oils and vinegars from all over the world. A short walk down the street is Penzeys Spices. One step into this shop and the aromas alone inspire shoppers to stock their cabinets.
A vibrant art culture
Steady infusions of galleries are opening in Downtown Overland Park, such as Prairiebrooke Arts, Images Art Gallery, Olive Branch Art Gallery and Studios, Alice Carman Studio, The Studio and more. Each third Friday of the month, more than 20 shops and galleries stay open late for an evening of specials and entertainment.
Unique and eclectic fare
The charm of Downtown is its unique, privately-owned shops. To name just a few, find two quilt shops, Harper’s Fabric & Quilt Co. and Quilted Memories. Check out consignment and antique shops TLC Thrifty Boutique, Now and Then, and Sacks on Santa Fe, Peterson’s Antiques and McNary’s Antiques and Refinishing. Model trains whistle at Fred’s Train Shop, and visit our feathered friends at the Wild Bird House. Traditions Furniture is the Midwest’s largest Stickly furniture dealer, and The General Store & Co. is a whimsical shop for home décor.
Plan a day in Historic Downtown Overland Park, and visit the unique, eclectic culture an d tastes it has to offer.
Robin Fish is the executive director of the Downtown Overland Park Partnership.
Posted: January 26, 2012
Written by: Liron B.
One of my favorite movies of all time is the cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. So many scenes are memorable, but one that always stands out to me is the trio playfully frolicking around the Art Institute of Chicago. Who can forget the infamous scene where Ferris’ buddy Cameron is mesmerized by the complexity and beauty of one of Georges Seurat’s most famous paintings in the world? When I lived in Chicago for six years, I was extremely lucky to be able to make monthly visits to the Art Institute and replicate my own Ferris Bueller experience – minus the actual frolicking of course.
Fast forward 18 months, I am now a resident of Overland Park and constantly familiarizing myself with my new surroundings. I’ll admit that when I moved here in the summer of 2010, I was skeptical of how I could ever live without Chicago deep dish pizza, frequent visits to the Art Institute and the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. As I prepared for the big move and made my way south, my husband said “don’t worry, there’s plenty to do here!” Gradually, I have come to believe him more and more.
I could go on and on about the culinary and cultural adventures we have had over the last year and a half in the Kansas City metro area, but I would like to concentrate on my recent visit to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, located on the campus of Johnson County Community College (JCCC). As I previously mentioned, I love exploring art museums and was very excited that one so widely respected in the art world is a five minute drive from our home.
Unfortunately, it took me until this past weekend to get out and explore this local gem, but I’m officially hooked. Upon arrival, the museum is an architectural wonder divided into two levels. The lower level is currently devoted to a very special exhibit, Abstract Kansas City, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the JCCC art collection. Abstract features pieces by artists who were educated in Kansas City or currently reside in the metro area. Running until February 19th, the exhibit showcases probing and unique pieces of contemporary work by such artists as Anne Lindberg (Parallel 23, 2009) and Brian Fahlstrom (Final Theme) – two of my favorites! The creative talent in the Kansas City area is tremendous and there is truly something for everyone to appreciate in this special exhibit. There’s even a beautiful piece involving duct tape!
Next, I made my way upstairs to the Kauffman, Starr and Cohen Galleries. I was greeted by South Korean artist Do-Ho Suh’s Some/One, which is truly one of the most unique pieces of art I have ever seen. Made from hundreds of stainless steel dog tags symbolizing ones issued by the military, the “coat” stirred my curiosity for at least 20 minutes. Other permanent pieces that caught my eye were Tomory Dodge’s Wasteland and Nicola Lopez’s Eye of the Storm. Both pieces involved so much color and visual detail that every admirer of the piece will surely interpret it differently.
For those of you who have never visited the Nerman or haven’t in quite some time, I highly encourage a visit as soon as possible. Admission to the museum is free and exhibits rotate every few months so each trip is truly different. During your visit, take time to read about the artist’s background, gaze at the art from different angles, interpret the art in your own way and if you have time, ask for a free guided tour. You may find that your appreciation and curiosity builds more than you ever imagined. And remember what Ferris famously said: “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Tags: Anne Lindberg
, Art Institute
, Art Institute of Chicago
, Art Museum
, Brian Fahlstrom
, Chicago Art Institute
, Contemporary Art
, Do-Ho Suh
, Ferris Bueller
, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
, Johnson County Community College
, kansas city
, Nerman Museum
, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
, Nicola Lopez
, Overland Park
, Tomory Dodge