by Jetta Barbar
Cultural Arts Center Gallery curator Daniel Reneau wants to create a gallery that Lee’s Summit can be proud of at Metropolitan Community College-Longview. He aims to create bold and unusual shows at the gallery:. Several shows he has previously organized have included bed sheets as wall hangings, twisted wire sculptures, and paper boxes lay out on the floor, colored with charcoal.
Reneau says that such art is more challenging than classic art, which delivers its message immediately to the viewer.
“More traditional art tells you what to think. It’s a house. It’s a dog. It’s a ship.” But art that is subtler and more minimal makes the viewers think more about the meaning of an artwork, as well as what art itself actually means. “I’m always trying to find different entry points into this thing we call art,” Reneau said.
Reneau also emphasized the importance of art to students at Longview. “Art is not just on T.V. and in the cinema,” he said. “Including the arts in your daily life is important. Houses, cars, even clothes — all of these things come from art.”
To create shows at the gallery, Reneau collaborates closely with visiting or student artists. It’s his favorite aspect of coordinating the gallery. To choose artists to present, Reneau focuses on variety.
“We might have an extremely minimalist show, and then bring in a more traditional artist working in a traditional medium, such as paint,” Reneau said. The first show of the season presented minimalist artwork by Jonathan Dankenbring. The next exhibition will feature the work of a more traditional painter from Los Angeles.
Kansas City has several progressive art galleries such as the one that Reneau is trying to cultivate — but none in Lee’s Summit or the surrounding area.
“Lee’s Summit needs an art gallery like ours, for the city, students, faculty, and staff.” Reneau takes pride in the gallery and the fact that it offers unique shows and artists that are less mainstream than other galleries in the area.
Reneau became the gallery director in October 2008, when it first opened. He was previously an instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute, and currently teaches all media of art at Longview, and still sometimes instructs at the Art Institute. The gallery features seven shows a year, one every two months. The art gallery is open in the community arts center from 12 – 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.