Art in Unexpected Places

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Missouri is home to several renowned art museums – the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum are two you don’t want to miss – but you can also see some amazing art in places that might surprise you.

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City: Home of the Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium underwent a massive renovation in 2010 that included plans for a world-class art collection. Artists from a six-state region submitted work to be considered for the Arrowhead Art Collection. More than 35 pieces are on display year-round with plans to add more in the future. You can view the artwork on a general tour of Arrowhead Stadium or a more in-depth art-focused tour.

Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City: Noted for its architectural features, the Missouri State Capitol also houses an extensive art collection, including statuary, fountains, stained glass and murals. The most famous work of art is a mural by Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton. A Social History of the State of Missouri fills the walls of the House Lounge, located on the third floor. Other murals include 41 lunette (half-moon shaped) paintings lining the capitol’s corridors. The third-floor rotunda houses the Hall of Famous Missourians, where more than 40 busts – including Harry Truman, Mark Twain, George Washington Carver, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry and Omar Bradley – are on display.

Joplin City Hall: The mural Joplin at the Turn of the Century, Thomas Hart Benton’s only autobiographical work and the last painting he signed, is located in Joplin’s City Hall. An exhibit in the mezzanine, Evolution of a Mural, traces the development of Benton’s thought process as he designed his final mural and includes rough drawings of the work in progress. A second mural at City Hall, Route 66, Joplin Missouri, was created by Benton’s grandson Anthony Benton Gude.

21c Museum Hotel, Kansas City: The 21c Museum Hotel is part of North America’s only multi-venue museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting 21st
century art. The hotel’s museum features rotating, curated exhibits from today’s emerging artists, site-specific displays and cultural programs. The museum is free and open to the public year-round. Guided tours are offered every Wednesday and Friday. Original artwork is also on display in the hotel’s rooms and suites.

Angad Arts Hotel, St. Louis: Located in the heart of St. Louis’ Grand Center Arts District, the Angad Arts Hotel immerses guests in a creative environment that embraces the visual arts. It’s the first hotel in the world where you can reserve luxury accommodations based on the colors of the rainbow – “passionate red, tranquility blue, happy yellow or green rejuvenation.” The Chameleon Lounge, located in the twelfth-floor sky lobby, features a giant Chameleon Lamp that creates a 360-degree video art experience.

and Sophia’s, Columbia: Two restaurants opened by a group of friends in Columbia about 20 years ago feature large-scale paintings by Missouri native David Spear – a graduate of the University of Missouri – whose work has been inspired by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, among others. Spear’s art can also be viewed in other locations throughout the college town, including Boone Hospital Center, Wabash Station, University of Missouri Memorial Union, Jefferson Junior High and on a utility box at Ninth Street and Broadway.

Look for these works of art – and many others – in unexpected places throughout the Show-Me State.

Written by Liz Coleman