For host Glenn North, you can’t talk about anything in the United States—museums, barbecue, football, whatever—without talking about race. It’s always there in our shared history and current moment. In this episode, we get to know the Nelson-Atkins with Glenn. It’s at the heart of Kansas City, Mo., in the heartland of the United States. It’s a place that can inspire pride and poetry. But does everyone feel welcome inside?
About the Host
Glenn A. North is an award-winning poet, activist, educator, and arts executive based in Kansas City. He is currently the Director of Inclusive Learning & Creative Impact at the Kansas City Museum. He has previously served at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, American Jazz Museum, and The Black Archives of Mid-America. Having earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Glenn also conducts Ekphrastic poetry workshops, as well as using poetry to address issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, self-empowerment.
Black Lives Matter organizers on the streets of Kansas City
Rachel Nicholson, Director, Interpretation, Evaluation & Visitor Research, the Nelson-Atkins
Chiluba Musonda, Deputy Director of Operations & Organizational Development, Kansas City Museum
Muenfua Lewis, creative and design strategist
Vi Tran, actor, storyteller, and musician
Lucky Garcia, writer, performing artist, community organizer, race equity educator, and software engineer
Erik Stafford, sole proprietor of the Kansas City Tour Company
Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO & Director, the Nelson-Atkins
Angel Tucker, Youth Services Manager, Johnson County Library
The Art in the Episode
Joseph Hirsch, American (1910–1981). Lynch Family, 1946, Gift of the Friends of Art, 46-82. Art © Estate of Joseph Hirsch.
Joseph Hirsch painted Lynch Family in 1946. That year, the number of lynchings of Black people rose from an all-time low in January to a fevered pitch by August. Citizens across the country urged President Truman and Congress to end the horrors. To capture and personalize these tragedies, Hirsch presented a mother with her baby, presumably surviving family members of a lynching victim, against a simple background that draws focus to the figures. The painting focuses on the mother’s intense hold on her defiant child, who raises a fist seemingly in protest while she turns to hide her anguish.
Black Lives Matter Protest Kansas City 5.30.20: A 60 second documentary of protests in Kansas City after the murder of George Floyd.
High Ideals and Aspirations: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 1933-1993: A history of the Nelson-Atkins by Michael Churchman and Scott Erbes, if you want to know more about the early years of the museum.
Take a virtual walk through the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins.
A Frame of Mind is the podcast of the Nelson-Atkins. This episode was produced and co-written by Glenn North and Christine Murray. Editing and sound design by Brandi Howell. Interview recording by Tim Harte. Studio engineering by Simpson Sound Lab. Fact checking by Kate Carpenter. Theme music by The Black Creatures. Additional music by Eclipse. Cover art by Two Tone Press.
Thanks to advisory group members Jimmy Beason II, José Faus, Allan Gray, Ron Jones, and Nia Richardson.
Produced in partnership with Jocelyn Edens and Kim Masteller, and with support from Anne Manning, Rachel Nicholson, Brent Bellew and the Nelson-Atkins Teen Council.
Produced with generous support from Bank of America, N.A., Trustee of the John W. and Effie E. Speas Memorial Trust.