6 episodes

A Frame of Mind takes a hard look at race in America through the lens of one art museum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art sits at a crossroads: in the middle of Kansas City, in the middle of the country, and in the middle of America’s shifting cultural landscape. We’re working through the slow and sometimes messy change of a big museum asking what it can be and whose stories it tells. Along the way, host Glenn North meets brilliant Black and Native artists and thinkers in Kansas City who help us see through their eyes.

A Frame of Mind The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 83 Ratings

A Frame of Mind takes a hard look at race in America through the lens of one art museum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art sits at a crossroads: in the middle of Kansas City, in the middle of the country, and in the middle of America’s shifting cultural landscape. We’re working through the slow and sometimes messy change of a big museum asking what it can be and whose stories it tells. Along the way, host Glenn North meets brilliant Black and Native artists and thinkers in Kansas City who help us see through their eyes.

    Something's in the Air

    Something's in the Air

    For host Glenn North, you can’t talk about anything in the United States—museums, barbecue, football, whatever—without talking about race. It’s always there in our shared history and in our current moment. In this episode, we get to know the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with Glenn. It’s at the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, in the heartland of the United States. It’s a place that can inspire pride and poetry. But does everyone feel welcome inside?
    Learn more about our host, see the art in this episode, and read a transcript here.

    • 17 min
    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    Why do Kansas City and the Nelson-Atkins look the way they do? In this episode, we rewind to the beginning of the 1900s. Kansas City was booming from a Cow Town to the Paris of the Plains, and a few city planners and real estate developers saw opportunity. We meet J.C. Nichols, a real estate developer who perfected racially restricted covenants and made big decisions about the Nelson-Atkins when it opened. Along the way, host Glenn North takes us on a Sunday drive.

    Featuring Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Chiluba Musonda, Erik Stafford, Angel Tucker, and Jake Wagner.

    Learn more about our guests, see the art in this episode, and read a transcript here.

    • 23 min
    First You Have to See It

    First You Have to See It

    The original Nelson-Atkins building has 23 panels carved on the outside, high up and kind of hard to see—really see. They tell a story of settler colonialism in the Midwest, filled with harmful stereotypes of Indigenous people. The story is fiction, but it’s told like monumental history. In this episode, we look closer at these public images with Native artists Mona Cliff, Alex Ponca Stock, Lucky Garcia, and Alex Kimball Williams.

    Learn more about our guests, see the art in this episode, and read a transcript here.

    • 20 min
    Under Construction

    Under Construction

    We don’t know the names of the people whose hands and skill literally built the 1933 Nelson-Atkins building, but we know what some of them look like. This episode begins with a photograph from the museum’s archive and dreams about stories that haven’t been recorded. That gets us thinking about what it feels like to go to an art museum and see people who look like you, and one exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins that really broke some ground for Kansas Citians in telling stories about Black American life. If a museum is a house of stories, it’s always under construction—and maybe it can change the rules.

    Featuring Angel Tucker, Muenfua Lewis, Justin Ikerionwu, Sonié Ruffin, Chiluba Musonda, Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II, Erik Stafford, Alvin Brooks, and Wanda Battle.
    Learn more about our guests, see the art in this episode, and read a transcript of this episode here.

    • 28 min
    The Labyrinth

    The Labyrinth

    This is our last episode, but it’s not the end of the story. We go back a few years to when the Nelson-Atkins started to make some moves to celebrate Juneteenth, and why the museum needed to take a breath and listen. We stumble across a performance of the Kansas City 2Step in the museum’s lobby, with Black joy filling the air. And we dream about what could be next.

    Featuring Sonié Ruffin, Alvin Brooks, Makeda Paterson, Kreshaun McKinney, and De Barker.
    Learn more about our guests, see the art in this episode, and read a transcript of this episode here.

    • 26 min
    Introducing A Frame of Mind

    Introducing A Frame of Mind

    A new podcast taking a hard look at race in America through the lens of one art museum, hosted by Glenn North. From The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

    • 30 sec

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
83 Ratings

83 Ratings

MesabiGirl ,

Thank you

Thank you so very much for this. Each episode had several pieces that sunk into my psyche. Your poetry, beautiful and powerful. And, I left with a sliver of, dare I say it, hope.

I’m from Minnesota and hope to visit Kansas City and the museum in the future.

Ashe Juvabit ,

Other museums in the world should do this

Not only is it an enjoyable listen, but I hope it is something other museums and institutions listen to and think of using as another way to explore their own roles in their own communities. I’m impressed by how the Nelson-Atkins has begun this with vulnerability, thoughtfulness, and, of course, beauty. I hope other museums follow suit.

lingeriejunkie ,

I learned so much!

I loved all episodes of this podcast. I grew up on the east side of Troost and I know about the racial dividing line. I no longer live in KCMO, and when I come back to visit, it saddens me to see such a great city still so divided. This is a MUST listen.

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