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What is Your Creative Spark?

On Friday night, Helix hosted the design debut of Kansas City Young Audiences‘ new location in Midtown Kansas City. The evening featured good food, great friends and performances from the true inspiration behind the project – the talented KCYA students. These young artists filled our office with music and covered our whiteboards with murals, demonstrating first hand the impact that KCYA has had in shaping their creative spirit.

KCYA

As an organization that has an unwavering commitment to arts education, KCYA believes that every child deserves the creative spark that the arts ignite – we couldn’t agree more. For fun, we asked guests (kids and adults, alike) to share their own creative spark that inspired their passion for the arts. The responses ranged from people, to places and experiences.

“My grandma – the very best storyteller ever!”

“I played the brown cow in the first grade play and fell in love with performing”

“My father who showed me how to build, construct and schedule with Legos, then wood tree houses, then houses”

“Dancing in my underwear to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture as a toddler”

“My elementary school art teacher, who is still one of my greatest inspirations.”

“I saw the Wizard of Oz at Starlight when I was 6 and knew that I wanted to be on stage”

We are unbelievably proud that the building we are designing will help KCYA expand their programming and their reach so that they can nurture the creative spark in even more children throughout Kansas City.

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KCYA  purchased and will be renovating the building at 3732 Main Street in the heart of Midtown Kansas City to be the organization’s first permanent home in its 55 years in operation. The building’s location offers increased visibility, a central location for youths across the metro and the opportunity to build upon the continued revitalization happening along Main Street.

“Our new location will enable us to further our mission of providing transformational arts experiences to children from across the city, particularly children in the urban community” said Qiana Thomason, KCYA Board President.

Design

The design for the 18,000 sq. ft. space was on display for guests at Friday’s event. It features a flexible interior environment that will serve the educational, workplace, event and performance functions of the organization. The new space will include dance studios, a multi-purpose classroom for art and theatre classes, a mixed-use performance and event space as well as offices for the staff.

“Purchasing a new home for KCYA is very exciting, but more importantly this new home will allow us to engage more children in the arts, providing them with opportunities to discover new ways of seeing things and expressing themselves. We are looking forward to the day when our home is filled with children singing, dancing, acting, drawing and creating,” said Martin English, KCYA Executive Director.

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Construction is anticipated to begin in July and KCYA will move into the new space by the end of 2016. The first acting, dance and music classes will begin in early 2017.  McCown Gordon Construction is providing construction management services.

The Kansas City Star and KCUR recently published great articles on the project and we look forward to sharing updates on this transformative project as it moves forward.

More information on KCYA and their mission to engage all youth in the arts, promote creativity, and inspire success in education can be found on their website.


Boulevard Brewing Announces New Visitor Center

Helix could not be more thrilled to share the news that we are working with Boulevard Brewing Co. on the design of their new Visitor Center. “We’re honored by the chance to work with one of Kansas City’s most cherished companies,” said Jay Tomlinson, principal with Helix.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Rendering

When Boulevard opened its doors in 1989 it began welcoming those interested in touring its brewery and tasting its beers. For years the company offered just one tour a week, often attracting 15 or 20 people. As the company grew in size and stature, so did demand for its tours, recently ranked by national publications as among the best in the country. In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space. “People tell me it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem,” said Jeff Krum, Boulevard’s vice president of corporate affairs. “Now we think we’ve found a solution.”

As the company announced in a press release this morning, they recently acquired a four-story building at 2534 Madison, immediately adjacent to the brewery campus. The two lower levels of the red brick structure, built for the Skelly Oil Company in 1929, are being converted into a spacious visitor center. The first floor will consist of an “Experience” area with exhibits about beer and Boulevard, an expanded retail shop and a much larger tasting room. The 10,000 square foot second floor will be devoted to a Beer Hall featuring the brewery’s beers and offering a limited selection of food.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Entry Rendering

“It’s humbling to see lines of people waiting for a chance to tour the brewery, and we’re proud of what we’ve done with limited space,” said Amber Ayres, Boulevard’s Director of Tours and Recreation. “But we’re really excited by this opportunity to re-imagine and radically enhance the experience. We hope it will become a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

The Helix team has been working closely with Boulevard to bring their vision to life. “The Boulevard team has an amazing vision for the experience they want to create,” said Alissa Wehmueller, director of interiors for Helix. “There’s a true sense of excitement and pride throughout our office that we have the opportunity to help create such a special spot for KC.”

Boulevard anticipates a grand opening by the end of June. More details will be posted on the company’s website as they become available.

Special thanks to our Helix team members that have been working to make this project a reality – Erin Stork for her talent in creating places that people love to gather, Cale Sadowski for his diligence in seeing every detail through completion and Annie Nutsch for our beautiful renderings.

We can’t wait to share that first “cheers” from the new space overlooking the brewery and our favorite city!


1515 Walnut: Sustainable Urban Living

For the past 30 years, Helix co-founder Jay Tomlinson has made a tremendous impact on the revival of Downtown Kansas City. As an architect, Jay has salvaged, restored, renovated, and reconstructed over 50 buildings in the Downtown and Crossroads neighborhoods. Many of these structures exist as cultural icons within the cityscape. Community staples like the Mainstreet Theatre, the Midland Theatre, the College Basketball Experience, and Webster House, just to name a few, have helped to rejuvenate the urban core and attract visitors as well as locals to the area.

At 1515, Jay’s first personal development seeks to infuse the area with one crucial component, the people necessary to support and sustain the existing dynamic scene that is Downtown Kansas City. The redevelopment of the historic building will include two retail office unites on the first level, six urban lofts on the second level, a third story penthouse addition for him and his wife Leslie. The project will be net zero with all electrical needs being met by a solar array installed on the rooftop.

With all that he has put into Kansas City professionally, it’s only natural that he and his wife would continue support the growth of the urban core in their personal endeavors. Living in the heart of the city supports the cultural, economic and community development that continues to revitalize the area.

For more information on the project, please follow the links below:

KC Business Journal: Pia Abatement
KC Star: Housing Redevelopment Projects

Open PhotoJay and Leslie Tomlinson “Urban Pioneers” in front of 1515 Walnut. Jay and Leslie Tomlinson “Urban Pioneers” in front of 1515 Walnut.
Open PhotoRendering of the renovated residence. Rendering of the renovated residence.

5 November, 2012 | In Progress, Random peek into Helix

Helix Under Construction

 

We have been sprucing up at Helix:

Carter Glass has installed Skyline Vitracolor Magnetic glass in our conference rooms and replaced the red glass on our lovely Red Tables.

Other improvements include the sound control gypsum board ceiling systems and the Decoustics acoustical ceiling clouds installed in our two conference rooms by E&K Construction.

These are spaces that we use everyday for meetings, presentations, discussions and lunches – the updates are designed to allow us to use them to their full potential.

Finished photos coming soon!


KCPD East Patrol Campus

The Kansas City Police Department East Patrol division is committed to having a positive influence on the community starting from the design of their new campus. The East Patrol Campus—comprised of a police station, a multi-purpose building, a crime lab, and a property and evidence repository—will be located on 27th and Prospect, right in the middle of where they currently receive the most calls for service.

Project officials have specifically sought out Section 3 businesses to work with and the project will provide employment and training opportunities for low income residents during the estimated 24 months of construction. The whole design and decision making process has been made accessible and transparent to the community through public meetings, the East Patrol website, and the bimonthly newsletter. These resources are a wonderful way to see how, where, and why your tax dollars are being spent. They also serve to showcase the design process at Helix and demonstrate how every design decision, from location to design partnership to material usage, is made consciously.



Helix Annual Summer Staff Meeting

Recently, the Helix staff took a break from the office for the afternoon and traveled to the east side of Kansas City.  While typically the primary purpose for an annual meeting is to update staff on the status of the company, this outing was so much more.

After a delicious southern style lunch at Papa Lew’s, the staff viewed 3 project sites.  The first was the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bio-sciences Campus which is working with Helix to develop a new master plan for the future direction of the school.  The second, Highland Place Apartments offer a refresh to housing options in a neighborhood that has seen neglect in the past.  Finally, Helix viewed the future site of the East Police Patrol Campus.  The project will consist of a state-of-the-art Crime Lab, and will be situated 27th & Prospect, the heart of a neighborhood with one of the highest crime rates in the nation.

After this introduction to the area, the Helix staff settled in at the historic Mutual Musicians Foundation where Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Police Commissioner Alvin Brooks spoke about the history of the East Side and the 27th & Prospect neighborhood.

Reeves Weideman and Commissioner Brooks

Following a brief update on the status of Helix itself, staffers were able to enjoy the Piano styling of Kansas City Jazz Legend Luqman Hamza, who, at 80 years old, also shared a few of his experiences and thoughts about the East Side.

Luqman Hamza, Jazz Legend

From there, the staff ventured to 18th and vine to experience the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum, and finish the day with a drink at the at the 9th Inning Sports Bar.  Overall, the annual summer meeting offered the staff a glimpse into an often overlooked cultural center.

Jason Parson and Congressman Cleaver

Thank you to Jason Parson of Parson & Associates (Grandson of the great Jay McShann) for organizing such an amazing and enlightening afternoon.  Helix is thrilled to be a part of a community with such a rich history and promising future.

Helix Staff

Videographer: Ernes Echols

Photographer: Lynn Hinkle




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