Walking approximately 1 mile over uneven terrain with some stairs. Standing during presentations. Transportation via motorcoach approximately 14 miles throughout the day.
At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that includes choices such as eggs, pancakes or French toast, fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
We’ll set out on a walking field trip with a local historian to explore and learn about the history, public art, and Spanish-inspired architecture of the Country Club Plaza area, a 15-block retail, dining, and entertainment district. We’ll also learn about J. C. Nichols, the visionary developer who in 1922 transformed a swampy section of Brush Creek Valley into America’s first suburban shopping district. Upon return to the hotel we’ll be joined by a local educator who will give us an overview presentation on Kansas City and Missouri, providing the foundation for our program activities. We then board the motorcoach for historic Union Station.
Lunch today will be at a restaurant of your choosing in Union Station. A stipend for lunch will be provided to each participant.
After lunch we enjoy an expert led walking exploration of Union Station. Part of the reason Kansas City became known as Paris of the Plains was its free and easy nightlife in the early 20th century. But it was also thanks to significant cultural institutions and majestic architecture such as Union Station, opened in 1914. The architect, Jarvis Hunt, was a prominent member of the “City Beautiful” movement focused on urban beautification. The station is a wonderful example of the Beaux-Arts style and was the second-largest train station in the country when it opened. At its peak in World War II, Union Station served more than a million passengers but deteriorated over the decades as train travel declined. A restoration movement began in the 1980s and reached fruition with the 1999 re-opening of a rejuvenated, multi-purpose community facility. Today it is not only a monument to travel, but also a home for culture, education, and entertainment. We again board the coach for a journey to the home and studio of Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), one of America’s most popular artists for several decades before World War II. At the age of 18, he enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, then went to Paris where he met and admired the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He returned to America and served at the Norfolk Naval Base during World War I, where he was influenced by the Navy’s requirement for artistic realism. His family’s roots in Missouri gave him an intense appreciation of life and culture in the Midwest. Benton’s great murals made him a champion of the artistic movement known as Regionalism. He was also an outspoken opponent of fascism, foreign and domestic. He is remembered foremost for his images of ordinary people and daily life. We’ll have an insider’s look at his home and studio, untouched since his death, and learn about his life, work, and influence on other American artists. Following the visit we return to the hotel via coach.
At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with choices of entrée plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
At your leisure.