Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City Art World Stronghold, To Close / Hyperallergic

Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For more than 20 years, John O’Brien’s Dolphin Gallery has been a cultural and community epicenter for Kansas City artists. Located in a huge white wall space in the West Bottoms, a historical area in downtown Kansas City, the Dolphin is the size of a barn, and embodies the charisma of an established Chelsea or Chicago River North gallery.

In addition to representing more than 50 artists, including NYC-based Kacy Maddux, soft sculpture pioneer David Ford, sound and performance artist Mark Southerland, Brussels-based artist/musician Christina Vantzou, and Richard Serra, Dolphin Gallery also functions as a framing service. The gallery’s artists are either based in Kansas City or have strong ties to the city. Dolphin also gives back to the local creative community by employing artists, many of whom are typically working a combination of odd jobs. All of this will end with the closure of Dolphin Gallery.

“There is something very solid and comfortable about Dolphin Gallery,” says Cara Megan Lewis, former curator at Cara & Cabezas Gallery in Kansas City and current Associate Director at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago. “Though I never attended one of their annual barbeques, I coveted the routine nature of this annual event — an easy liaison between the gallery’s ‘white cube’ and the American Royal rodeo down the street. [This is] quintessential Kansas City.”

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