May Buzz

Athleta Comes to KC

Showcasing a variety of stylish, yet high-performance athletic and everyday apparel, Athleta will open its doors on May 7 at 429 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo., on the Country Club Plaza.

Athleta has partnered with 435 magazine to throw an RSVP-only sneak preview party on May 6.

The new store will feature a broad assortment of apparel for everything from yoga to swimming. The store will also offer customers extra services, like a personalized styling service uniquely tailored to individual athletic pursuits and styles, complimentary hemming, kiosks that link directly to the website for access to additional products and sizes, free fitness classes, and discounts for fitness professionals.

Until last year the Sonoma, Calif.-based premium fitness and lifestyle brand for women was only available through catalog and online. Athleta plans to open 50 new stores in the United States by the end of 2013. In celebration of the Plaza store opening, Athleta will make a donation to the local chapter of Girls on the Run.

Girls Get Haircuts For Cancer

More than 100 girls at St. Thomas Aquinas High School participated in a Wigs Out Hair-Cutting Assembly in April. Each student had at least 8 inches of hair cut off and then received free hair styling at Xenon International Academy in Olathe.

The hair was donated to Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths-sponsored wig banks for cancer patients.

Using the donated hair, wigs will be made for women and children who have suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy.

photo: Michele Gress Photography

KCAI Hosts Art Auction

The Kansas City Art Institute will transform its campus into a one-of-a-kind art and party destination when the college hosts its ninth biennial art and design auction on June 1. Proceeds benefit the student scholarship fund.

Guests will gain unparalleled access to the extraordinary work of notable KCAI faculty and alumni from around the world, including ceramic artist Akio Takamori. Two hundred works will be offered for sale in silent and live auctions. “Smart” technology will be used in the auctions to facilitate the process and enhance efficiency.

Open bars and a gourmet dinner are planned, and KCAI students will set up easels and pottery wheels around the tree-shaded, 15-acre campus to demonstrate art-making techniques.

“More than 97 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid,” says Jacqueline Chanda, KCAI president. “Our ability to award scholarships is vital as we seek to attract the most talented art and design students from across the country and around the world.”

Auction tickets are $150. For more information, visit

photo: Bruce Mathews


Baldwin Gets National Nod

GQ magazine recently published the 2013 list of the Best New Menswear Designers in America, and making that list was Kansas City’s own Matt Baldwin of Baldwin Denim.

Baldwin helped launch Standard Style with wife, Emily, and then branched out to found Baldwin Denim in 2009. Baldwin is based on denim but is now expanding to include American-made shirts, tees and chinos.

Included with the honor of being named to the list, the designers will receive mentoring from GQ and have the opportunity to collaborate with Gap to produce pieces that will be sold in the retailer’s stores worldwide.

photo: GQ magazine

Get Wild at Zoo Fundraiser

Jazzoo is the Kansas City Zoo’s largest annual fundraiser and helps to support children’s educational programs and feed the zoo’s more than 1,000 animals.

This year’s event is June 7 and the theme, “Mystique of the Beak,” celebrates the upcoming arrival of the zoo’s new state-of-the-art penguin habitat. Jazzoo takes place at the zoo, located in Swope Park near Starlight Theatre.

More than 4,500 Kansas Citians are expected to attend this evening of unlimited food, drink and music while making a positive impact on their community. Guests — who are encouraged to come dressed in “creative black tie” — will enjoy bites from more than 50 area restaurants and drinks from 10 full and specialty bars.

The event also includes music entertainment from Victor & Penny, DJ Kirby, Patrick Lenz, The Zeros, Disco Dick & The Mirrorballs, Drew Six, Sell Out, and Calypso Bluz.

For tickets or more information, visit

Event Supports Cancer Patients

Art Bra KC showcases eclectic, work-of-art bras modeled by survivors to celebrate their triumph over cancer. The event takes place May 3 in the TWA Museum at the Downtown Airport in
Kansas City, Mo.

About 75 bras will be designed and created by family and friends of survivors, local artists, celebrities and volunteers. The top 25 bras will be modeled and auctioned off during a fashion show, and the others will be part of silent and live auctions.

Proceeds benefit the Patients in Need Fund at Missys’ Boutique, an accredited “appearance center” at The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion. The fund ensures access to Missys’ services for eligible uninsured/underinsured individuals.

For many cancer patients and survivors, changes in appearance caused by treatments or surgery can pose physical and emotional obstacles during their journey of recovery and healing. The boutique — named in memory of Melissa Malter Newell and Ann Wilcox O’Neill, both affectionately known as Missy — offers services and select products designed for cancer patients and survivors, as well as a variety of retail merchandise for the general public. 

For more information, visit


Foundation Names Johnson Countian of the Year

Johnson County Community College Foundation has named Lynn Mitchelson of Mission Woods the 2013 Johnson Countian of the Year. He will be honored at the foundation’s 27th annual Some Enchanted Evening gala on Nov. 9 at the Overland Park Marriott Hotel.

Some Enchanted Evening is a black-tie event that includes a gourmet dinner, entertainment and dancing. Proceeds from the event support student scholarships at JCCC. In the past 27 years, the event has raised more than $5.4 million for the college’s scholarship program.

“From my initial introduction to JCCC in the late 1990s, I saw Lynn Mitchelson as a leader of the college and an advocate for students,” says Steve Wilkinson, president and CEO of Menorah Hospital and JCCC Foundation president. “Over the ensuing years, I watched Lynn demonstrate his commitment in many different ways.”

Terry Calaway, JCCC president, says Mitchelson has been a tireless supporter of the college for many years, serving with the foundation and on the college’s board of trustees from 1996 to 2011.

Mitchelson, 73, is a banking executive with more than 50 years of business-lending experience in the Kansas City area. He spent more than 25 years working in Johnson County following his founding of the Corporate Woods State Bank in 1980 and through subsequent sales of the bank to Bank IV, Boatmen’s, NationsBank and Bank of America. In 2001, he became an advisory director for Executive AirShare, helping to establish a regional fractional air startup in Kansas City.

Since June 2004, Mitchelson has served as chairman/CEO of banks operating under regulatory enforcement actions that were required to transform their lending practices to meet higher standards. Mitchelson was the catalyst for improvement; he is currently helping restore American Bank in his hometown of Baxter Springs, Kan., to a healthy community bank.

In the community, Mitchelson has served as a director of the Johnson County Education Research Triangle Authority; a community adviser of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation; a director and chairman of the Learning Exchange; chairman and a member of the Kansas State Affairs Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; a director and chairman of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce; president of the Overland Park Rotary Foundation; a director of the Kansas City chapter of the American Red Cross; and a director of both the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra and KCPT.

photo: Bret Gustafson, JCCC

Mrs. Kansas Hopes to bring Awareness to Poverty, Homelessness

Elizabeth Stephens of Lawrence was crowned Mrs. Kansas America 2013 in March, and she will go on to compete at the Mrs. America pageant in August in Tucson, Ariz.

The winner will represent the country at the Mrs. World competition in China this fall. The pageant organization is open to married women in their 20s through 50s.
Stephens’ platform is to bring awareness to poverty and homelessness in America. The 32-year-old mother of three is the family program director at the Lawrence Community Shelter.

She previously worked in Johnson County as a cosmetologist and did some professional modeling before finding her passion in social services. She also worked at Women’s Transitional Care Services and the Willow Domestic Violence Center, a Salvation Army overnight shelter in Lawrence.



HappyBottoms Launches Mother’s Day Campaign

HappyBottoms is accepting donations in honor of moms through the month of May. Just visit and click on the pink Make a Difference for Mother’s Day button to make a donation. Price Chopper and Midwest Express Corp. will join the cause with a Really Big Diaper Drive at the Roeland Park, Stanley, State Line and Liberty Price Chopper stores on May 10 and 11.

HappyBottoms collects diapers through diaper drives and with monetary donations and gives the diapers to partner agencies, such as domestic violence shelters and low-income daycare centers, to provide to their clients.

Diapers are not covered by public-assistance programs, so HappyBottoms fills this need for low-income families and provides diapers to about 1,000 babies in the Kansas City area each month. However, according to the nonprofit organization, two dozen agencies are on the waiting list and parents of an estimated 15,000 babies in the metro area struggle to afford diapers.

Earlier this year, HappyBottoms signed a two-year agreement with the National Diaper Bank Network to become a regional partner through the Affiliate Partnership Program. This provides HappyBottoms with access to 1 million diapers per year for two years for a modest fee, which will help secure a reliable supply of diapers.

Designers’ Showhouse Now Open

The Kansas City Symphony Alliance presents the 44th Symphony Designers’ Showhouse — the country’s longest-running, continuous, showhouse fundraising project — open now through May 19.

Guests can enjoy live entertainment and special events throughout the Showhouse dates, including food and drink tastings on Thursday evenings. The Showhouse also features a garden tour, café and a boutique with more than 40 vendors.

The alliance sponsors the Symphony Designers’ Showhouse each year to raise money for the Kansas City Symphony and its youth programs. Every room in the house is decorated by designers from throughout the metro area.

Located at 1032 W. 55th St., Kansas City, Mo., and known as the Bent-Ward House, the three-story residence is one of the most prominent houses in Kansas City history.
According to house historian Beverly Shaw, the farmland on which the house now stands was purchased by William W. Bent, a famous frontiersman, trader and fort builder, in 1858. After his death, his wife sold the land in 1871 to Seth Ward, a buffalo hunter and fur trapper. The front of the house was built from a design by architect Asa Beebe Cross. 

There is evidence in the attic that a previous brick house was incorporated into the current vernacular Greek Revival structure. Some Italianate alterations and later additions partially modified the original appearance of the Ward dwelling. The house has undergone extensive historic restoration, as well as structural and mechanical system repair, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

For ticket information, visit

photo: Bill Mathews Photographer, Inc.