Kansas City’s Deaf Cultural Festival returns to Nelson Atkins

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Kansas City's 8th Deaf Cultural Festival returns in person to the Nelson on Saturday.

Kansas City’s 8th Deaf Cultural Festival returns in person to the Nelson on Saturday.

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After being virtual for the past two years, the Kansas City Deaf Cultural Festival is back in full swing on Saturday at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.

From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, visit the museum for free activities and performances that celebrate and highlight Deaf culture and American Sign Language. It’s open to all viewers, and you don’t have to identify as deaf to join in the fun.

“People shouldn’t be afraid to come if they don’t know anything about deaf culture,” said Jackie Niekamp, ​​community and access programs manager at the museum. “I think this is a really wonderful opportunity to learn something new, meet new people, and see how vibrant the deaf culture and deaf community is in Kansas City.”

All activities take place in the museum or in the Bloch building, so you need to get a free ticket here or at the museum entrance. Parking is $12 if you are not a member, but you can also park for free on the street surrounding the museum.

WHAT IS PLANNED?

A series of performances, workshops and art walks are planned for the festival on Saturday. ASL interpretation, voice interpretation and CART live closed captioning options are provided for each activity. There will also be someone speaking, so if you don’t know ASL you can still attend.

Check out the schedule below:

  • An illustration workshop with Jennifer Tandoc from 10:30am to 12:00pm at the Rockhill Room. It is limited to 40 people.

  • ASL poetry and story performances by students from the Kansas School for the Deaf from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Kirkwood Hall. The theme is “Come Full Circle”.

  • ASL performance by deaf comedian Levi Anderson from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Atkins Auditorium.

  • ASL storytelling sessions by Marie Qualls and Michelle Plummer where you can learn ASL for the animals in the stories. The first session will be from 1:30-1:45 p.m. and will be repeated at the Spencer Art Reference Library from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

  • An art walk with deaf educator Micki Keck through the art gallery to learn more about the museum’s collection.

  • Sketchbook Scavenger Hunt at Kirkwood Hall all day.

Information booths from The Whole Person, the Kansas School for the Deaf, and the Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture will be on hand to provide more information about Kansas City’s deaf culture.

The Smartify app provides guided tours in American Sign Language while you’re at the museum. You can download the app on your phone or use the website to access the mobile tour.

“It’s really great to bring it back here, and especially that there are some guest artists with us this time, too,” said Niekamp. “It’s a bit like before the pandemic.”

Joseph Hernandez is a member of The Star’s on-service journalism team. A Kansas City native, Hernandez graduated from Cristo Rey Kansas City High School and the University of Missouri-Columbia. He previously wrote for Columbia Missourian and The Pitch.

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