The Greg Brantman Patrons Gallery
“The goal was to create a proper environment for the students to have their work on display, as well as to exhibit the work of professional artists in the community.”
– Greg Brantman, Head of the Arts Department, SMN
In 1978, Dr. Don Wilson was the principal at Shawnee Mission North High School and he had a BIG QUESTION: If we have special facilities for our wide variety of sports teams, stadiums, gymnasiums, courts, pools, fields and running track, baseball diamonds and a theater for drama students to show their skills, WHY WAS THERE NO SPACE FOR ARTISTS TO SHOW THEIR WORK? Something needed to be done to create that place and allow student artists to shine and to gain the real world experience of having a show of their own.
So Greg Brantman, the ceramics and jewelry teacher, who later became the head of the Arts Department and legendary sculpture teacher (the gallery was renamed for him in 2012), created a vision of the space and, Meg Cross, a talented and tireless community volunteer, went to work making the space a reality. Mrs. Cross enlisted the support of over 400 patrons, including the Governor of Kansas, Muriel Kauffmann, J.E. Dunn Construction, Capital Federal Savings, J.C. Nichols Company and United Telecommunications (Sprint), among others, who donated time, money and expertise. Hence, the name Patrons Gallery – the space was given to the students through the generosity of community patrons. More than financial support, the students were given belief in their talents and their worth. They deserved recognition and opportunities as much as other programs.
Forty years have now passed and the gallery is still serving the students and the Kansas City Community. Countless professional artists have shown at the gallery and worked alongside students in their classrooms. The gallery has purchased over 50 art works from students to form a permanent collection. Over 30 students have received scholarships for summer art enrichment classes at the KC Art Institute. In the last two years, 100+ students have seen exhibits at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, some attending a museum for the first time. We are proud to continue the enrichment and support the artistic growth of our non-traditional students.