Guest Banana: Public Displays of Creativity by Kristen

I’ve asked some Guest Bananas to help me out over this holiday week so I could take a little break from the blog (my first in over a year and a half, yikes!) Today features Kansas City-based stitching artist, former roller derby girl, and all around awesome chick, Kristen from Hey Paul Studios. Thanks, Kristen!


I first started my quest to find Kansas City’s most unique and inspiring spaces after I sacrificed a lunch break in the name of checking out a new interactive art exhibit, near my office.


As I was floating in the field of hammocks, I made a goal to begin seeking unconventional lunch spots near work, as a way to practice a little self-care. Because I always carry an embroidery hoop with me, I began to eat less on lunch breaks and stitch more. I quickly found that these public spaces provided an incredible amount of inspiration and it had a positive impact on my work. I now seek out every opportunity to grab a park bench or spot under a shade tree to get my creative groove going.

Me Stitching

Here is my list of favorite creative spaces around KC. Depending on the weather, you can spot me at one of these favorite spots, stitching away. I hope this guide inspires you to find your own public space to sketch, draw, write, and beyond.

K Park

Kauffman Legacy Park: There are so many spots within this six-square-mile area to spread out a blanket, your supplies, and work away. My favorite location is within the Memorial Gardens. The aroma from the flowers, the soothing sounds of the fountains, and the pleasant landscaping sparks plenty of creative energy. There is a general respect for noise level and although I am easily distracted, I have never struggled to remain on task in the garden. During the cold months, there is an indoor area where tropical plants are guarded by the friendly resident cat.

Sculpture Park

Nelson-Atkins Sculpture Park
: A sculpture of three giant bowls bowls and a striking metal tree provide lots of nooks and crannies to nestle into for shade and surroundings. Looking out across the Nelson-Atkins lawn and onto Theis Park gives me a sense being a tiny creator in a vast landscape.

Union Station

Union Station
: Now that the temperature has dropped, I have my eye on a workspace in the Grand Hall at Union Station. The architecture, people watching, and energy of the space gives me a boost of creativity. There are benches located along the walls where you can discretely work and take in the movement around you.

Dr Sketchy's

Dr. Sketchy’s: The anti-art school–sketch fest. I have been to several of these events in the past and hope to start going again. I use inspiration from the live models for stitching inspiration. It’s a great way to get out of your studio and out amongst other artists.


Art Exhibits (Photo Credit: KC Star): We all experience art in a variety of ways. Being surrounded by creative work stimulates my imagination. Without taking the focus off of the featured art, I like to take the opportunity to reap the benefits of the creative energy. I most recently attended the Picnic Project on the lawn of The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. The textile art and excitement of the people made for a great picnic and embroidering opportunity.

I hope this short list gives you a little inspiration to take a break from your typical work environment and to get out and about into all of the creative spaces your city has to offer!

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