Kemper Gala

Saturday, October 9, 2021
7 p.m.—Midnight
SOLD OUT - email to join the waiting list.

We are so excited to welcome you back to an in-person Kemper Gala this October. This year’s event, ARTBEAT, is inspired by two exhibitions that will be on view during the event: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Topology, a new immersive light and sound environment featuring 3,000 light bulbs that pulse to the heartbeats of visitors and Aliza Nisenbaum: Aquí Se Puede (Here You Can), comprised of three large-scale portraits of individuals connected to the salsa dance and music communities in Kansas City with whom the artist has been working, remotely, since 2020.

This is a PARTY! There are no speeches or auctions—just incredible haute cuisine, dynamic entertainment, surprises at every turn, and lots of dancing. In addition, your patronage allows you to play an important role in ensuring access to world-class exhibitions of contemporary art and programming for all ages and abilities—always completely free of charge.

The safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff is paramount. Proof of full* vaccination (or a negative test dated no sooner than October 7) will be required for all attendees in advance of this event. Kemper Museum leadership evaluates our museum and event protocol regularly as the pandemic continues to evolve to ensure it is adequate and appropriate. 

Helen and Frank Wewers, Honorary Chairs
Emily Uhlmann Fehsenfeld, Co-Chair
Damian Lair, Co-Chair


ARTBEAT Attire: Exuberant Party Wear

Those who’ve attended for years know this: the Kemper Gala has always been a celebration—and a fashion show.

Throughout history, fashion has been informed, shaped and advanced by world events—both traumatic and hopeful. The end of WWI and prohibition ushered a return to excess in the freewheeling Gatsby Jazz Age, epitomized by flappers, fringe, and pearls. A second world war’s end introduced Dior’s “new look”—an ultra-feminine, cinched but voluminous silhouette that was a radical departure from years of military/civilian uniforms and fabric shortages. A political youth movement, newfound freedoms and the empowerment of women in the 1960’s marshalled in the miniskirt’s advent. Quintessential examples like these have creative minds wondering, "how might the emergence from a year-long quarantine and lingering effects of a global pandemic influence the 2020s?" Knowing that the most festive eras in history have frequently been born from periods of hardship—we imagine it could be a time defined by eventual exuberance.

As we collectively emerge from this period of isolation, many are anxious to finally pull something out of the closet that excites us. Maybe it's a gorgeous gown, black tie, bold sport coat, glittering jewelry, or something more wild and impulsive. What have you been yearning for an occasion to wear… or splurge-purchase? How do you imagine your reentry into society? Is it with humor… glamour… a dash of irony? Perhaps you’ll be further inspired by one of the special exhibitions noted above or pull on the thread of a favorite artwork in the permanent collection. So, whether your exuberance is runway high-style, classic glamour or impulsive creativity, here’s the key: If you have to ask “Is this too much?,” the answer is… it’s just right. Need more inspiration? Google: The Met Gala.

Bring. The. Fashion.

However you choose to dress for ARTBEAT, you will be joined by a group of people who value this connective institution that heavily contributes to the heartbeat of our city. While the world rests not in a state of perfection, there is optimism. The sun on a new day rises, and we can feel its pulses of warmth.


* Full vaccination means two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine