Loved this story sent to me by my friend Bob, in response to the “Birth of the Cool” post, about his Midwestern exposure to art and jazz.
“Had my little mid-west mind blown away when escaping a rather bleak neighborhood birthday picnic at 12 years old. I followed a winding path (in later years wrapped in Gold Lemay by Christo) and stumbled on the Nelson-Atkins Museum of art in KC. Never was the same after that. I was declared missing and found by police sitting staring at a Rodin sculpture. Had to take the obligatory carnal punishment “in the basement” with dad but it changed my life. The Picasso print “Boy and Girl Reading” purchased with lawn mowing money at 15 from “The Nelson” still hanging over my desk today.
On another escape from neighborhood bullies I went “down town” on the bus & snuck into a Charley Parker gig at 12 Street & Vine. Thelonious Monk sitting in. Can’t ever be the same after that. Then there was sneaking in through a hole in the fence that the adults knew was there to see the KC Monarchs of the old Negro Baseball league. Satchel Page pitching, but that is another story.
I guess all those mid-west museums have a purpose, Still like Thomas Hart Benton. Thanks to Harry Truman Library.”