Also watching over the $4 million theatre renovation the last eight years has been Pat Jordan, president of the Gem Theartre Cultural and Performing Arts Center. She has been the one focused on the Gem, while her mentor, Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, has kept the fream alive for all of 18th & Vine. He is considered the father of the district's total $26 million renovation. It was part of the Cleaver Plan introduced to the City Council in 1989.
Jordan said she was "amazed, excited and thakful that it's finally come together."
"This is a wonderful event," she said. "So many of our friends, family and associates are here who were able to see what the future can hold for 18th & Vine. Our mission at the Gem is to act as a catalyst for cultural diversity and economic development. We want the Gem to be a stage for multicultural experiences and for partnerships to develop with other arts organizations and businesses."
Jordan said she hoped
that the Gem would crystallize the spirit of the 18th & Vine rebirth
by providing a meeting place for people of all economic and cultural backgrounds
who love the arts, jazz and baseball.
The Gem and other components of the 18th & Vine restoration --such as the Kansas City Jazz Museum, the Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum--will be celebrated at a black-tie gala Friday. National and lo
cal jazz musicians will perform in the Gem at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Festivities will run along 18th Street, from the Paseo to Highland Avenue, with action taking place throughout the new and restored red brick buildings that now shape the new heart of 18th & Vine.
The district will swing with a free public event Saturday featuring jazz musicians on five stages--three outdoors and two indoors--from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.