Archdiocese Local

The Sistine Chapel exhibit comes to Kansas City

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” produced by SEE Global Entertainment, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday from April 1 to May 1. COURTESY PHOTO

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a view unlike any other.

And it’s coming to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 1.

Spectators will have the chance to gaze upon near-life-size reproductions of the frescoes that adorn the Sistine Chapel.

“This is an up-close, never-before- seen perspective,” said Eric Leong, senior producer at Special Entertainment Events, Inc. (SEE) Global Entertainment.

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” produced by SEE Global Entertainment, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, until May 1.

Thirty-four printed fabrics of Michelangelo’s frescoes will give visitors a chance to experience them in a way they never have before.

The artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican is about 68 feet above the viewer.

“We bring the art down closer to you so you can examine the art up close at your own leisure,” said Leong, “and really absorb all the details and the individual stories that are told on the ceiling.”

Michelangelo’s frescoes are brought down to eye level in the groundbreaking “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” coming to Kansas City this spring. PHOTO BY CALVIN CRAIG/UNSPLASH

Visitors can read about each fresco and gather even more information about them through an optional 90-minute audio guide.

With timed ticketing available for purchase online, crowds will be minimal.

Its opening in Kansas City offers Catholics a unique way to appreciate the beauty of their faith this Lent.

The idea for the exhibition came about when the CEO of SEE Global Entertainment visited the Sistine Chapel in person.

After experiencing the overwhelming crowds and being rushed through the building by chapel guards, he was disenchanted.

“He thought there’s got to be a way to enjoy some of the most iconic artwork of all time in a modern environment — in a way that really allows you to take in this experience,” said Leong.

The exhibit was created in 2015 and has since toured in several cities, gaining popularity across the U.S. and worldwide.

Martin Biallas, CEO of SEE Attractions, which produced “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” talks about the exhibit with local media at its opening in Omaha, Neb., Oct. 7, 2021. (CNS photo/Jerry L. Mennenga)

Kasey Vena, general manager of the Country Club Plaza, is thrilled to bring the experience to Kansas City.

“When given the chance to showcase world-renowned art from an exhibit that’s been well-received by audiences in other major metros,” she said, “we seized the opportunity to bring this unique experience to our guests.

“It’s exciting to provide transformative art in an up-close and personal way that many may not otherwise experience.”

According to Vena, the Plaza is the perfect destination for the exhibit.

“The Plaza is a beloved KC landmark and has long been a destination for artistic expression,” she said, “so it’s a natural fit.”

Dave and Jackie Krenske of Divine Mercy Parish in Faribault, Minn., view a reproduction of a fresco called “The Creation of Adam” Nov. 15, 2020, at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

Sylvia Noland, business development manager at SEE Global Entertainment, said the exhibit is designed for people of all ages and interests.

“It appeals to the history buffs, art lovers and those looking for good quality entertainment,” she said.

“Whether you have been to the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome or not,” she continued, “this up-close exhibit gives the viewer a more in-depth view of these masterpieces.”

An attendee at the Oct. 7, 2021, opening of “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” in Omaha, Neb., activates an audio device to listen to the story behind a particular fresco. (CNS photo/Jerry L. Mennenga)

Leong echoed that the show is for everyone — from families to individuals with a love for art, history or religion.

“We feel like there’s a little something for everyone,” he said.

In all the times he’s set the exhibit up, Leong admitted he’s still amazed by the new details he notices each time.

“It’s very impressive to see up-close and imagine that this one man did all this work over four or five years,” he said. “It really blows you away.”

Leong believes the exhibit comes to Kansas City at a pertinent time.

“There’s a lot going on in the world right now,” he said. “I think if everyone had the chance to stop and enjoy something beautiful like this art . . . maybe we’d all get along a little bit better.

“Art has a place in the world. I’m happy to share it and make sure as many people [as possible] get to see it, and I hope they enjoy it.”

To purchase tickets for “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” click here and scroll down.

‘Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition’

211 Nichols Rd., Kansas City, MO 64112
April 1 to May 1
Open from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage the website, social media channels and Archbishop Naumann's Facebook page. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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