Swope Health

One-on-one with Swope Health: Allan Gray & Izzy Vivas

Swope Health announces a new edition of its podcast, One on One with Swope Health, featuring Allan Gray and Izzy Vivas of the Zhou B Art Center, opening in June in the 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City.

Eric Wesson, founder and publisher of The Next Page KC, a newspaper focused on the Black community, hosts the show’s conversations with Kansas Citians about issues of importance to the community’s health and wellbeing.

Gray, partner, and Vivas, art director, joined Wesson at Swope Health to discuss the new art center and its role in the historic jazz district. The art center is founded by brothers Shanzuo Zhoushi and Dahuang Zhoushi, who are world renowned Chinese painters now based in Chicago. Gray, founder of Friends of Alvin Ailey, former chairman of the Missouri Arts Council and Arts KC, described inviting them to visit Kansas City, where they found the abandoned Attucks School and “immediately fell in love with it.” They envisioned it as a dynamic arts center.

Vivas and Gray talk about the spirit of collaboration the $27 million center embodies and plans for programming, resident artists, studio space, and connections to the community. “It is an investment in the future of Kansas City,” he said.

Allan describes himself as coming from an arts family. Vivas, a native of Chicago, has lived in Kansas City for seven years. Her background is also rooted in arts – she trained as classical oboist before moving into visual arts.

“Art has a way of connecting with our humanity, to our spirit,” Gray said. “Art impacts each of us on an individual level. It’s about human nature, our spirit that connects us to the art. We welcome people to come in, we want everyone to feel connected to the center and feel it’s a home, a place you can come to relax or be rejuvenated.”

This is just the beginning, he promised. Vivas agreed, noting there will be a strong emphasis on community and creative programming, with open space to collaborate with other artists and arts institutions.

The only element of competition is the push for the highest quality and greatest accessibility, Gray said. Programming will include music and dance as well as visual arts and will focus on connections with the community and schools.

The opening exhibition is curated by CCH Pounder, who is bringing in nationally acclaimed artists. The grand opening party, a fundraiser, will be held at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 1. An artist talk is scheduled for Monday, June 3, and the center will join in the June 7 First Friday celebrations with free admission.  Additional details are available at Zhou B Art Center.

Find this edition of One on One with Swope Health, and all others, on YouTube, Spotify and Google.





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