New Exhibit, Indisposable: KC Cultures, Showcases Refugees Living in Kansas City

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Courtney Lewis
New Exhibit, Indisposable: KC Cultures, Showcases Refugees Living in Kansas City

Kansas City, MO - The Kansas City Public Library unveils a new pop-up photography exhibit, Indisposable: KC Cultures, on Friday June 1, 2018, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The opening highlights Library’s First Friday open house, Art Starts at the Library, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Indisposable: KC Cultures features the photos of Kansas City refugees who were handed disposable cameras and asked to document their lives. From dinners to church services to kids playing in local neighborhoods, the exhibit showcases what families in the city’s refugee communities find interesting and appealing about their newly adopted hometown.

This is a second iteration of the Indisposable project. The first debuted in the summer of 2017, featuring photographs taken by some of Kansas City’s residents experiencing homelessness. After the success of the previous exhibit, Library staff wanted to extend the concept to the refugee populations in Kansas City. 

“In many ways, refugee and immigrants are the newest residents of Kansas City,” says Julie Robinson, director of the Library’s Refugee and Immigrant Services and Empowerment (RISE) program. “Their adjustment to a new society and their outlook regarding that community is a story that can be shared in many ways.”

Rita Edmonds, a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer attached to RISE, oversees the project. She says she hopes the exhibit allows patrons to see what it means to be a refugee in the 21st century.

“The refugee populations in Kansas City have provided a beautiful diversity in languages, cultural opportunities, foods, and more,” she says. “There is also a large part of the population that does not understand what it means to be forced out of your home and no longer know where your family can be safe.”

Community partnerships were vital to Indisposable: KC Cultures. “Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) and the Kansas City Public Schools’ Language Services Department both have relationships with new Americans and have interpreters to step in when needed,” Edmonds says. “Our partners, including the Northeast Chamber of Commerce, also served as dropoff sites to make delivery of the cameras as easy as possible for our artists.”

The pop-up exhibit remains on display in the Central Library’s Kirk Hall through June 17. Parking is free.