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Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project Presents Happy Free Friends

KANSAS CITY, MO.- Curated by Kate Hackman, Associate Director, Charlotte Street Foundation, Happy Tree Friends (or Standing: Tree as Agent, Index, Object of Desire) is a two-part exhibition project featuring works that depict, reference, incorporate, document, and otherwise derive or draw inspiration from trees. The exhibition is being organized in partnership with the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, which will concurrently present the exhibition Trees and other Ramifications: Branches in Nature & Culture.

Happy Tree Friends (Part I) at la Esquina, March 6-April 18, includes works by: Barry Anderson (Kansas City), Jeff Badger (Portland, Maine), Carnal Torpor (Kansas City/Omaha, NE), Kelly J. Clark (Lawrence, KS), Mark Cowardin (Kansas City), Jeanna Darby (Chicago), Dominique Davison + Robert Riccardi (Kansas City), Kristina Estell (Duluth, MN), Cari Freno (Richmond, VA), Diane Henk (Kansas City), Michael Krueger (Lawrence, KS), Sarah Luther (Milwaukee, WI), Kacy Maddux (Kansas City), Johnny Naugahyde (Kansas City), Benjamin Potter (Portland, Maine), Shawn Sanem (Kansas City), Margaret Shelby (Kansas City), Carlos Rosales-Silva (Austin, TX), Deanna Skedel (Kansas City), Jesse Small (Kansas City/China), Corine Vermeulen-Smith (Detroit, MI), Maranda Stebbins (Kansas City), Davin Watne (Kansas City) , and Jennifer Whiteford (Kansas City).

Works included span photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, quilting, collage, audio, video, performance, installation, cooking, and urban design. The exhibition approaches the tree theme as a means to consider, and draw connections among, a wide swath of creative investigations. Taken as a whole, the exhibition addresses the tree(s) as index/marker of activity, time, place, memory, and change; as sign, signifier, symbol, metaphor, conceptual model, and personification/surrogate; as medium for the expression of cultural, spiritual and ecological/environmental beliefs, behaviors, and desires; and as material body – object, media, source, tool, support.

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