The Kansas City Museum, in partnership with the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, is working with New York-based artist Summer Wheat and Kansas City-based International Architects Atelier (IAA) to create JewelHouse—a monumental, site-specific, site-responsive artwork for the Kansas City Museum.
Slated to open in 2025 at the Kansas City Museum, JewelHouse is a groundbreaking architectural and art intervention that will transform and reimagine an existing historic Beaux-Arts Conservatory into a light-filled, immersive space to celebrate, share, and advance the contributions of all women. JewelHouse is incomparable because both the Kansas City Museum, a history museum, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art have formed an institutional collaboration to create a monument that commemorates matronage.
For JewelHouse, we define matronage as the leadership role women have always played in philanthropy and bold community-based endeavors to be the truth-tellers, knowledge-bearers, and guardians of the whole story. Through intergenerational and multidisciplinary educational and public programs, JewelHouse will promote gender equity, collective impact, and shared humanity for a more inclusive future.
A priority goal for JewelHouse is to inspire active matronage and women-led support in all aspects and at all levels of the project.
To create this work, Summer Wheat will transform the Beaux- Arts conservatory (built in 1910 to store plants in the winter and later transformed into a planetarium in the early 1950s) on the Kansas City Museum property into a light-filled, immersive, and inclusive sanctuary for contemporary art. Evoking a jewelry box, visitors will step inside JewelHouse and be encouraged to uncover the inner light of their personal stories and the limitless constellation of memory, perspective, identity, and belonging. JewelHouse will be a contemplative space, providing solace or stimulus for those who seek truth, reconciliation, engagement, and healing.
To construct JewelHouse, the building’s exterior limestone will be restored, and the interior will be renovated. The original perimeter windows and the roof made of copper and glass will be recreated. Summer Wheat will produce artworks for the exterior and interior including stained-glass windows, mosaic flooring, mosaic stone seating, a bronze entrance door, and a bronze moon, sun, and star for the roof. JewelHouse will breathe new life into the Kansas City Museum’s conservatory to engender an enveloping experience of shape, color, pattern, and sound.
JewelHouse will be used for inclusive history- and humanities-based education and public programs and events, developed using a restorative practices methodology, that center the often untold or undertold stories of women and girls—past, present, and future. Education and public programs will include storytelling, spoken word, oral history recordings, collecting initiatives, music concerts, dance performances, soundscapes, and private events, as well as panel discussions, summits, and workshops.
JewelHouse will engage vast and intimate connections between people, nature, and the cosmos—creating a new type of conservatory where stories and relationships will be collected, grown, shared, fortified, and protected. Inside JewelHouse, people will come together to connect, reflect, restore, and adorn themselves with new narratives of collective beauty, strength, empowerment, and creativity.
To read the curatorial statement about JewelHouse by Erin Dziedzic, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, please click here.
JewelHouse is a project produced by the Kansas City Museum in collaboration with the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.