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Frisch has a few other suggestions to break down these barriers, especially for newcomers who find it hard to break into social circles. One is a call for new entrepreneurs to create new spaces where people can meet and mingle.
"Maybe everyone in Kansas City should think about trying to add two people to their social circle every year," he says. "I actually think that by exposing yourself to a few people who are different from you or are new to you, you're going to be surprised how it can change your outlook on things."
He says he came to Kansas City because he saw so much potential here. "It's big enough that significant things can happen here," he says. "But there are times when I wonder if it's just not big enough, and sometimes we're on that line."
Luis J. Garcia knows what it's like to be on that line.
At a party when the Power & Light District opened this past spring, he jokes, "I saw everyone I never wanted to see in my life again."
The 35-year-old Garcia is founder and creative director of Spyn Studio , a multimedia design and marketing firm; his business partner, Nicholas Segura, is Spyn's marketing director. Garcia is also director of the Base Gallery in the basement of the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center at 20th Street and Baltimore. The white-walled gallery leads to Spyn's office, a cool space that's painted dark red and white.
Garcia grew up in the Brookside-Waldo area. After attending St. Elizabeth School and Bishop Hogan, he moved with his family to Prairie Village so he could go to Shawnee Mission East High School. He went to Johnson County Community College, where he took theater and art classes. He signed with a couple of modeling agencies and began acting in Kansas City, appearing in theater productions, industrial videos and infomercials, but left for Los Angeles to pursue an acting career when he was 22.
In California, he realized that he wasn't ready for the intense acting scene there. He moved back home, then to Chicago. But his grandmother was sick, and he and his fiancée were having problems. He was 27, and he wanted to make a decision about his career. "I didn't want to be a server for the rest of my life or be mediocre at everything," he says. He came back to Kansas City and was accepted to the Kansas City Art Institute, where he studied graphic design.
Segura hails from Kansas City, Kansas. The 36-year-old went to Schlagle High School, then attended the University of Kansas, Johnson County Community College and Benedictine College. Segura stayed in Kansas City and worked in corporate training, sold advertising for Dos Mundos newspaper and did marketing for a couple of local agencies before founding Cultura Communications, which focused on the Hispanic market.
Garcia and Segura are third cousins, but they never met until just a few years ago. Since graduating from the Art Institute in 2004, though, Garcia has seen his social circles expand. He's friends with people from his acting days as well as with artists and advertising types. One downside to these overlapping social circles is that he'll sometimes run into clients with whom he has disagreed or other nemeses from the past.
"But that becomes an issue in itself if you're negative toward that person or you let it bother you," he says. "It's just better to face it or to keep your enemies close. Or something like that."