A jewel of a performance space, cultivated by Katie Gilchrist and Annie Cherry

Pearl: 1. a dense variously colored and usually lustrous concretion formed of concentric layers of mother-of-pearl as an abnormal growth within the shell of some mollusks and used as a gem. 2. one that is very choice or precious. 3. something resembling a pearl intrinsically or physically.

A pearl is a rare and valuable jewel formed within a living creature as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant, or attack from outside. The pearl serves, here, as a metaphor for the nature of our new venture: Our Pearl is forming in an era in which free creative expression feels threatened, which serves to agitate and irritate, leading to the formation of something new, beautiful, and long-lasting. In our current socio-political climate, it is of the utmost importance to elevate diverse voices, create and showcase subversive performance art, and give safe harbor for people to celebrate the storytelling that is our human birthright.
To that end, The Pearl has developed organically: a performance space nestled in the living mantle of the thriving Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.

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“The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers.” The qualities that are assessed to assign value to a pearl can also speak to the intention behind our Pearl: reflection, refraction, and diffraction.

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Reflection: 1. the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it. 2. serious thought or consideration.

The Pearl reflects the surroundings of which it is a product: our neighborhood and neighbors, our historic building, and our city. Our collaborators are our greatest assets, and we reflect the times that we live in with the art we make together.

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Refraction: the fact or phenomenon of light, radio waves, etc., being deflected in passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another or through a medium of varying density

We refract by encouraging interface, interaction, and filtration of ideas between individuals and between mediums. We build bridges between collaborators and between art forms. We encourage the melding of creative performance techniques from modern to ancient.

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Diffraction: the process by which a beam of light or other system of waves is spread out as a result of passing through a narrow aperture or across an edge.

The Pearl encourages diffraction by pushing performance beyond it’s perceived limits and over the edge, spreading ideas and new ways of thinking.. We create experiences. We participate in, and co-create culture.

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