Upcoming Outreach Sessions

Outreach sessions to learn more about the Rocket Grants program in its fifth round of funding will begin in the first week of February. Please join us to hear past award recipients talk about the work that the program funded, the application process, their experiences during the project and opportunities that opened up as a result. The program coordinator will also be on hand to answer questions and steer interested applicants towards resources that will help them make a strong proposal.

Please check the Outreach Sessions page for later presentations and other venues.

Monday February 3, 2014, 7.00 PM at  The Commons at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1340 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence KS, 66045, map. 2010 award recipient Jarrett Mellenbruch will talk about his project Haven, that has continued to place innovative beehives in many different locations around Kansas City.

putting on insulation smJarrett Mellenbruch – Haven

Jarrett’s project proposal was selected in the first round of the Rocket Grants program, and he accepted his award in the spring of 2010. An artist who is also a beekeeper, Jarrett began his Deep Ecology project (as detailed on his website and  FaceBook page)  to address the alarming rise in deaths among honeybees.

He used his award to design and build a prototype for his Haven beehive – an innovative structure that is tailored to the needs of bees rather than those humans who wish to use them as pollinators or to collect their honey. The bee-centered design helps build healthy populations that are more resistant to colony collapse disorder and other threats to the insects’ survival. The distinctive architecture of the hives, perched high above a garden, as well as informational plaques that accompany them, draw attention to the bees and to the vital role they play in pollinating one third of our agricultural crops.

Map of Swarm Capture, BeeTreeCutoutsHavenPlacementsJuly13Jarrett’s goal is to build one thousand of these sanctuary hives and place them in public places across the nation. So far he has been making good headway collecting displaced and migrating swarms and relocating them to hives he has installed in public gardens and private homes dotted around Kansas City region. (The map is from July 2013).



Thursday February 6, 2014, 6.30 PM at PLUG Projects, Kansas City, 1613 Genesee Street, Kansas City, MO 64102, 646 535 PLUG, Map. (PLUG Projects was a 2011-12 Rocket Grants recipient). Presenting artists: 2012 grant recipients Sean Starowitz, who will talk about Byproduct: The Laundromat, and Don Wilkison (aka Minister of Information) who will present We are Here To Plant a Tree.

workoutwebtrimSean Starowitz – Byproduct: The Laundromat

This project brought an amazingly diverse set of programming to a local laundromat – including experimental jazz, low-budget cooking, spa treatments, lively discussions on topics of local and national interest, poetry readings, soap making demos, a curated video screening on the Laundromat TV, print and magazine workshops and much more. Each program was designed and built around the wash and dry cycles so that attendees could simultaneously attend to their dirty laundry.

Sean collaborated with business owner Walle Badejo and his family to bring projects, programs, performances, events and conversations to the Walnut Place Laundromat. The project explored the role of the artist in facilitating engagement, exchange, public discourse and the use of everyday spaces as generative public platforms. Participating artists and programmers came both from the region and from across the nation, and attendance varied from a few folk to above capacity.

Byproduct collageThis adventurous project generated additional grant funding, critical attention, and press, and introduced the community to a new dimension of household chores.







Intern2Don Wilkison (Minister of Information) – We Are Here To Plant a Tree

Don’s project engaged youth from a green-collar job training program, together with many other participants, in discovering how planting trees across the city could be an act of social sculpture. Over the course of the project, the team received additional funding from Forest ReLeaf of Missouri , and gave people the opportunity to be photographed under the world’s largest knitted tree, while holding a weapon of class warfare (a shovel!).

By planting saplings and interacting with people at sites across the Kansas City metropolitan area, the collaborative team aimed to create conversations and a focus on the importance of planting trees, of taking care of the environment, and the role of art as an agent of change. In the end, volunteers and paid interns planted more than 50 trees at 18 sites across the region.

We Are Here To Plant A Tree PosterA quote from Don: “Drawing with a shovel in a public space is a collaborative process. In order to establish entrance, the ground must be wetted with ideas, stony obstacles negotiated, and roots bared. Because this process exudes joy and hardship among participants, it strengthens the approach. To plant a tree is something different. Each and every time it is different.  Planting is personal. For some, at times, it is memory. To others, it is promise. Sometimes it is, today is the day I produce change. Each hole dug yields new ground and an opportunity to sift through the past, present, and future.”



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