Dear Readers,

Do you remember the first time you were really inspired by a piece of art? I do, in a vague, fuzzy way. I grew up going to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with my family. My sister and mother both enjoy art but don’t linger over it. Instead, it was my dad and me, reading the signs of pieces that stood out to us, gazing in wonder at the intricate icons or the majestic Bierstadts chronicling the American West. But it was probably the seated Buddha or the temple wall from the Chinese Temple Gallery with its coffered ceiling and faded reliefs that made me stop in wonder.

It’s no real surprise then that I chose to pursue an artistic field. In today’s modern age, art comes in many forms and people express themselves in myriad ways. Dancers, visual artists, writers, actors and directors are all trying to make their way through life while providing beauty and inspiration where they find it.

Even here in the Northland, there are artists among us. In this issue, we meet Mark Ballard. He loves to share his experience in the rock and blues music world with younger students, the standard bearers of the cause. At the same time, he’s offering entertainment options for Northland residents, free of cost.

For Lisa Allen, one of our treasured writers, rediscovering her love of reading for pleasure inspired her to seek out a book club that would fit her tastes. With so many to choose from, there’s something for everyone in KC and she found several options both in person and online.

And then there’s Heather Manning. This precocious and hard-working 16-year old has already published her first novel before most of us have figured out which college to attend. Her ambition and drive is an inspiration to us all.

Art can be found almost any where if you’re looking for it, whether you discover it or create it yourself. Take some time to let creativity flow today. I think you’ll be glad that you did!