The Talk Shop

September 2014

Kansas City, Missouri

The Talk Shop was a temporary, experimental cultural center open in Midtown Kansas City for one year.  It was a vehicle for dialogue by hosting public events at which people will gather to discuss topics that matter in Kansas City, like education, transit or food issues.  

The Talk Shop offered eight six-week programming themes. The format of the events themselves were varied, including exhibitions, hosted conversations, meals, or other types of gatherings that we came up with along the way. Overall, we hoped to cultivate healthy conversation surrounding public issues in Kansas City by making them interesting, accessible, and enjoyable. The Talk Shop involved individuals from the Kansas City community and beyond in an effort to both strengthen and diversify our own cultural landscape.

Our choice of venue informs the entire aesthetic of the project.  We intended to design and implement an inviting, collaborative space for individuals from all walks of life.  For this reason, we find ot key to be located on Main Street; foot traffic, accessibility and centralization are all key to the format of the project.  We wanted this project to create a participatory audience that is as diverse as possible.

We saw this as an opportunity for cultural exploration. By choosing the main venue as a midtown storefront– a public, accessible, unintimidating environment (as opposed to an art space) –will be able to draw a more diverse crowd. They may not represent typical audiences at art events, and because of this they are valuable contributors and participants within the community.