By Leda Gipson, Alaris Account Manager
In 2007, the skyline of downtown Kansas City was in the final stages of a revitalization. The now iconic Sprint Arena opened with their first performer, Elton John, to a sold-out crowd. The historic KC Power & Light building was being restored to provide luxury condos surrounded by businesses, restaurants, shops, pubs and downtown residential lofts.
Meanwhile, Alaris, known then as Midwest Litigation Services, was growing their client base and the local staff to support Kansas City. We opened the first Kansas City Alaris office in 2009 in the Judicial District, a close neighbor to the Sprint Arena and Power & Light District. The firm name displayed on the building provided visibility to the legal community and made our mark in Kansas City.
Eight years later, we moved just a few blocks southeast to a larger space to build a state-of-the-art litigation hospitality suite with five conference rooms, including a boardroom that can host up to 25 people.
However, the icing on the cake was our new neighborhood itself, The Crossroads Arts District, comprising businesses, galleries, artists' home studios, urban lofts, restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops. Built on the historic Film Row, once a major global film distribution center, today the district is known for its monthly artists' studio and gallery tour titled First Fridays, held the first Friday of every month throughout the year.
Embracing the community in which it resides, a characteristic of each Alaris office, our KC location added a professional art hanging system so our clients and guests could enjoy the works of local artists. In addition, we began opening our doors to the wider public for our First Fridays.
The challenge was to continue to promote Alaris while supporting the community of artists with our unique office/gallery. We have accomplished this by titling each series or genre of artwork with one of our Core Values. Each First Friday opening provides an opportunity for attorneys and their support staff, as well as Alaris court reporters, legal videographers, and office staff, to come together to network under a common interest: art. The local artists presenting work attend to discuss their creative process and inspiration. As an example, last year our Diversity Artists’ Series featured local artists from all over the world who now reside in Kansas City and whose creative works represent their ethnic heritage. Our Innovative Artists’ Series showcased mix-media works utilizing innovative materials, such as broken glass and metal.
To kick off 2020, our Photographic Artists’ Series is on Respecting the environment, wildlife, and people from around the world while capturing moments with artistic vision. We are fortunate to have two of our attorney clients participate in this series for the second consecutive year. John Rollins (Rollins/Kavanaugh, PC), an attorney as well as award-winning travel, nature and wildlife photographer from Kansas City, was chosen as National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year in 2016. Additionally, attorney Raymond Dake (Siro Smith Dickson) enjoys acclaim as a photographer of landscapes, wildlife, and nature.
We began the Alaris First Friday Artists’ Series in July of 2017, shortly after moving into our unique office location. Today we are proud to continue embracing our community through the arts. With such an overwhelming response to our commitment from our clients, stay tuned for our plans for an artists’ seminar in collaboration with Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts (KCVLAA). This opportunity will allow Alaris and our attorney clients to aid local artists in avoiding common legal pitfalls in their professional art careers.
We look forward to future artists’ series as we continue to connect Alaris’ Core Values with our passion for our community in Kansas City.