This Inspiration Grant will support the first phase of a public/community art project to be created by artist Maria Ogedengbe, “Missouri GOURDen,” featuring a gourd garden that will grow over a unique artist-designed bower to become a place where residents of Kansas City from diverse neighborhoods come together for recreation, art-making, and performances. Later in the year the cultivated gourds will be crafted into musical instruments along the lines of the West African shekere: a dry gourd covered in loose, beaded macramé. Sited east of Troost at Friendship Baptist Church and inspired by recent race and diversity issues in Missouri, the project aims to build trust and friendship among people of diverse
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