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Best Bridge to the Arts 

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

An all-access, open-door approach to the arts isn't a revolutionary concept, but stamping it paid isn't easy. Enter the gleaming new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, whose planners, designers, architects, builders and staff have made city connectivity a primary goal from the project's start. The place itself is a metaphor for the unity it's meant to instill. The glass façade and main lobby — Moshe Safdie's "front porch" idea — merges inside with outside, offering a panoramic view and gorgeous transparency, and the location itself bridges north downtown with the southern part of the loop. Inside, a central backstage path and color scheme provide easy access and orientation for both performers and crews, bridging its two halls. And the world-class acoustics render perfect sound, no matter which seat you can afford, giving equal aural value to curious newbies and well-heeled subscribers. Among tomorrow's supporters: the metro schoolchildren bused to the center with funds raised specifically to subsidize transportation. A bridge can't join people unless they travel across it, after all. By keeping education in its mission, the ambitious and generous Kauffman Center isn't just a bridge but also the new center of Kansas City.

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