Building Community Through Art with Jose Faus

Building Community Through Art with Jose Faus

This episode was recorded on February 15th, 2024.We are so excited to be kicking off Season 2 of KC Leaders Podcast with the inspiring and talented Latinx Muralist and Artist, Jose Faus. Jose holds community and Latin culture close to his heart, and it is evident in his work.

Show Notes

In this episode of KC Leaders, Jose and Virginia touch on:

Jose’s inspiration from seeing Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” at the MoMA

Incorporating community and culture in his creations

The complexity and balance of collaboration between artists

Find Jose:
Instagram –

All episodes of KC Leaders are produced by Catapult Creative Media –

Show Transcript

[00:00:10.060] – Virginia Huling
Welcome back to another episode of the Kansas City Leaders podcast. We are excited to kick off our first episode of Season 2, and I am excited to welcome José Faus to the Kansas City Leaders podcast. José is a multifaceted artist whose work is significantly impacted the Kansas City area. His contributions span across visual arts, writing, teaching, community involvement, making him a prominent figure in the local art scene. His story is one of cultural transition, community community building and artistic expression. Welcome to the KC Leaders podcast, José.

[00:00:50.370] – José Faus
Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

[00:00:52.690] – Virginia Huling
All right. For our listeners, they can find you on…

[00:00:57.580] – José Faus
Qarido, Q-A-R-I-D-O on Instagram and José Faus on Facebook.

[00:01:02.950] – Virginia Huling
Okay. They can see your artwork all over Kansas City.

[00:01:07.140] – José Faus
Yeah. I think I have connections. I have stuff put on the accounts as well, so they can see it in there.

[00:01:14.760] – Virginia Huling
Okay, definitely. They’ll be able to see your artwork. Where are some of the places that we can see your murals?

[00:01:20.190] – José Faus
We did a community project over in Kansas City, Kansas, along the downtown area of Minnesota. These were some murals that were done with kids in the neighborhood and others with myself and a partner, Alicia Gambino. Then there’s two prominent ones down in the River Market, the Steamboat of Rhabis on one, and then the Lewis & Clark town of Kansas, celebration. Then they’re all over the place. Some on Independence Avenue, down along Independence, or all northeast, and then some in KCK. There’s one in I think the very big one that we did was down on Metropolitan in the Argentine district, which is an anthology of the area. That’s what we looked at.

[00:02:09.600] – Virginia Huling
I got a chance to read some of your history and bio and involvement before we met today, this morning, this afternoon. In your murals, or it seems like in some of these, you do a lot of the community involvement. You have smaller scale projects where kids in the area can get involved or people in the neighborhoods are able to come out and contribute to the murals.

[00:02:35.360] – José Faus
Yeah. Some were funded by community organizations, and there’s always this sense of bringing the community in, but that also sometimes means making them a part of the process that can help you with them. I think the first one we did, the mural in Argentine, that was as big a community effort as ever. I mean, this thing is two blocks long, 660 directly in your feet. It’s huge. It’s like we’re two football field lengths, more than that, I guess, maybe. Then it’s about 19 feet average height. We had to have a lot of help. It was our first big challenge. A lot of that help came from community organizers. There was a group called Las Tecas, the Greater Kansas City. They had a lot of members. They came out. They helped us with setting up scaffolding, moving scaffolding, unloading supplies. We also had meetings with community people to find out from them what was important about their story. Argentina has a very unique history, but not unlike a lot of immigrant communities. It traces roots back to areas in Mexico where the Hispanic community has moved in there. So there was stories to tell. And so that’s where we had to engage community.

[00:03:54.320] – Virginia Huling
I might end up answering this question with my next question, but why murals? Let’s start with that one. Why murals in particular? You are an artist in a lot of different areas, but getting up on scaffolding and scaling on that level is a whole different thing.

[00:04:15.050] – José Faus
Well, it’s funny because when I was in art school, our references, I think the things that stuck to me the most were… Art history is full of a lot of large spaces. It’s reduced in I have a picture, very small. But I can remember, so you’re reading about the Renaissance and you’re talking about the work that they did, and you’re realizing they’re painting these huge murals. I mean, you look at just the size of the Sistine Chapel, right? Or you look at one of the big classical paintings you see is the Last Supper, right? They’re not small paintings. These are large canvases on walls. There was this idea that I always wanted to go large. I am not a very detailed, fine-line-oriented painter. I enjoy drawing that, but I like broad strokes. I like the broad canvases. For me, it just thought it was also this idea, it’s very democratic. If a mural is outside or in any place. I mean, if it’s large enough, it’s obviously meant to be seen by somebody. There’s an interaction. There’s a communication that’s being transmitted from the large painting, the large scale of it, view of somebody looking at it.

[00:05:28.650] – José Faus
You may not have any understanding or reason for why, especially if it’s a community component. You can draw so many different inferences about what this is about. But there’s something that happens when you see that large work in front of you. I can tell you the thing that fueled a lot of that for me, one example that encapsulates it, and I tell this story, I happened to be at MoMA many years ago, and I was walking through the rooms, and I remember I came to this one room, and literally, when I looked ahead of me, I I was so stunned. I just remember putting my back up against the wall and just sliding down to my haunches and just sitting there and looking at it. What it was was Guernica, Picasso’s famous painting about the Spanish Civil War and the atrocities that happened in the Basque town of Guernica. I was going, it stunned me, one, because it was so large. You got to remember, I had only seen it in reproduction, like a three by five in art history books. Never anything bigger than that that I can recall. But then when you saw it there and you just, yeah, the huge…

[00:06:33.400] – José Faus
All of a sudden it’s like compositionally, everything was perfect about it. I mean, it literally was. There’s no color in it. It’s black and white and gray. It was so powerful. I knew the history. I had read a lot about the Spanish Civil War. It just all of a sudden was a piece. It was important to me. I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if I could have that same experience if I’m just walking down the street and I turn a corner and boom, something like that hits me? I don’t mind the experience of a museum. I love going to museums. We have a great one here. But there’s just another aspect of it. Then to be able to paint something on that magnitude was like, that just seems nice. It just seems like, here José, come and paint something.

[00:07:22.090] – Virginia Huling
To leave a mark in a really impactful way. Exactly. Okay, that does lead me to this next question. You’ve had that unique experience of seeing the community before one of your murals, and then after. Do you see a transformation?

[00:07:36.170] – José Faus
What does it look like? I think I took it for granted because I think sometimes we do things because we have a sense that this is the way it’s going to turn out. But until it happens and you tangentially can see that it happened, and you’re there and you see it, you really don’t understand it. You think you do. You hope. It’s a hope more than anything, an aspiration. But I remember when we started painting the mural in Argentine, I always tell this story because I don’t know what made it unique in that moment, but it was a sound I heard. We’re sitting there, we’re painting this mural, and we’re literally two weeks in. And behind us, this wall, it’s a concrete wall that extends down two blocks. But behind us is houses. But at that time, you couldn’t see the houses because there was all this overgrown brush and trees and dense foliage. So you didn’t even see houses. You couldn’t see it. You could tell there were peaks above the stuff. And the reason The reason was that the wall we chose to paint on would get full of graffiti all the time. And not nice graffiti, it’s just painted tags, gang signs and stuff.

[00:08:39.440] – José Faus
Then people would gather along the strip of grass and drink beer, break bottles. The city didn’t even bother really to do a lot of cleanup on it. It was just a place nobody wanted to see. But when we started painting that mural, I remember we were sitting there, we were taking a break, and we’d go across the street and just laid there in the grass. I heard this noise like chainsaw, right? The guy’s cranking it up, and he starts cutting. We thought that’s odd, but I don’t know why we thought, but it did. But as we’re watching, I feel like about half an hour, you see the tip of the blade cut through the brush that was there. It’s always like, wow. It turned out later, the guy that owned the house told us, I wanted to see what you guys were doing. The thing that was amazing is within two to for three weeks, that whole block started cleaning their backyard. We started to see people’s yards. In fact, people would invite us to come and have food or drink with them. But they would sit there sometimes, and they’d have little parties, and we’d be painting.

[00:09:45.590] – José Faus
We knew we were watching. That, to me, was the most tangible evidence that that’s what happens when you do community stuff. It’s interesting. Yeah, because they just opened it up. It was amazing. We didn’t even know. There was a little Actually, little side alley that goes. It’s a button. It goes into a neighbor’s yard. But I would have never thought that it looked like it was a street that went down there. Never would have seen it because it just was not visible from the road.

[00:10:12.770] – Virginia Huling
But in that little act of creation, you pulled people out of their normal day-to-day and created that curiosity element, which branched into a whole new way of getting to explore.

[00:10:27.100] – José Faus
The interactions from community was just That’s awesome. Actually, there were three of us that were organizing, Jesús Ortiz and Alicia Gambino. I was working at a law firm at that time, and I was working outside. I was working outside of the city. I moved away for about a year and a half. I was coming in and on when I could, and then we had made our chance to go ahead and paint this mural. They did a lot of the community research. Then when I came back, as we started to paint, I had quit my job by then and wanted to do that full-time. I didn’t get as much as the community involvement, but I already was familiar with the neighborhood of Argentine. It was connecting and getting to meet a whole group of people that just had community in mind, right?

[00:11:13.980] – Virginia Huling
Could Could you tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up here? Because you have a little bit of a different story than the other guests that we’ve had.

[00:11:22.010] – José Faus
I’m an immigrant. I was born in Colombia, South America. My mother moved up here. She married a guy that was in the Air Force, stationed out of Fort Levinworth. She moved up here with my sister. Later, her and my stepfather had another child, my brother, my younger brother. But my brother and I, the other brother, we stayed with our grandmother down in Colombia until my mother could find her way, find her place, because she was also coming as an immigrant. I think it was about four years before. Oh, wow. Yeah..

[00:12:01.250] – Virginia Huling
You were nine when you came over here, right?

[00:12:03.250] – José Faus
Yeah. My mother came. Yeah, I would have been about five when she came. Then when it was time to come, we said, You’re going to go see your mother. I think for me, the experience has always been that my brother and I had really no clue that we were never going back to Colombia. We thought it was a visit. We came here and it was anything but a visit. This was where we ended up being settled.

[00:12:29.860] – Virginia Huling
I watched your videos. For our listeners out there, if that’s okay with you, I’d love to use that link. It’s a fantastic video. You did a cultural presentation, and there was a lot of your background and how you growing up and coming here, it’s a poetry, which I thought was very, very lovely. I would like to put that on there.

[00:12:53.040] – José Faus
Is that the one where I have the blanket on? I did one where the blanket is.

[00:12:57.370] – Virginia Huling
I didn’t start with a blanket.

[00:12:58.490] – José Faus
Okay, good. No, No, that’s not a bad one. It’s just I’m trying to figure out. I’ve done so many, I forget.

[00:13:05.010] – Virginia Huling
Yeah, we’ll definitely put that on there and some of the other links to your different social channels and properties there. Because I think a lot of people have seen your work around town, but they may not know who you are or get to put that face with the name. You came here when you were about nine, and you ended up in Kansas City. Yeah. Have you been here Since then or you’ve moved about?

[00:13:32.120] – José Faus
I added it up. It’s like seven and a half to eight years I’ve traveled and lived somewhere else. I lived in Omaha for three and a half years. I said a year and a half I was in North Carolina. Then other times traveling and being in other places. But yeah, pretty much this has been the reference place, the home.

[00:13:49.400] – Virginia Huling
Why Kansas City?

[00:13:51.330] – José Faus
I ask myself all the time. Honestly, I do. I think when you’re displaced in a way like my brother and I were, with no real thought that this was going to be home until we got here and realized in a way you’re trapped. There’s this thing called Arrested Development. It was a great show. It was that and there was a band, I think they had a song, Arrested Development, or they were the band. It always stuck in my mind as being indicative of what my brother and I went through. We land here, we’re nine and eight years old. We speak a language that we moved to the West Side, so people spoke it there, but not everywhere that we would Music was different. Even though we lived on the West Side, there was some music that was very familiar. But if you went out into the broader community, it was music I’d never heard. Food was very different. We lived around a lot of immigrants that came from South America, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Guvano even, but they were moving out. So food was different, the music was different, and sounds were different. For us, that community that we brought into, that was our community.

[00:14:59.990] – José Faus
That was like people… I remember my brother and I learning English because a lady that was a friend of my mother that worked at the church where my mother was working at, would sit with us and go with us and read little books and then make us pronounce the word and repeat it back to us. It felt like this very extended family thing. For me, that’s always stuck in my mind. When this happened yesterday with the shooting, the first thing I thought about is I did not know her personally. I had seen her at events, but I knew people like her brother, and I knew people that dealt with the family and everything. I had tears in my eyes. I think it’s because I always make a joke about certain communities, how tight they get. The Latino-Hispanic community in this town has always been accepted into it. It’s always this idea. I tell people, You got to be careful when you’re around some places because if you throw a rock, you’re going to hit somebody’s cousin. That’s the Latino community I’ve known. The West side, Northeast, go out to Belton in some areas. You hit somebody, you’re going to know somebody.

[00:16:10.680] – José Faus
It’s somebody’s cousin. That’s the way I felt. I think I carry that spirit with me a lot. When I leave Kansas City, I know when I come back, it’s like that’s a community I’m familiar with. I think that really it’s people. It’s people really that keeps you here.

[00:16:30.860] – Virginia Huling
I think in the wake of yesterday, there’s going to be a lot of holes in those communities that are going to be challenging for people to deal with. Here on the show, our hearts go out to everybody that’s been affected. Just as a quick note, I did see somewhere on the news today that Johnson County was going to be offering support counselors. If anybody out there is needing to talk to somebody, please reach out to those. We can put those on the site with the episode because it is a tragedy.

[00:17:11.380] – José Faus
A big tragedy.

[00:17:14.400] – Virginia Huling
Well, I will say it is interesting here that we’re having this episode talking about leaders in the Kansas City community because it’s been my experience. I I’ve just moved up here, so I’ve been here for off and on about a year. So I’m still integrating into the communities. And one of the reasons that we wanted to start the podcast is because of all the people that we’ve met. There are such a wide variety of people who have such a depth of knowledge and experience and the way you’ve helped shape communities around you. We wanted to celebrate that. So there’s my pitch for the Kansas City Leaders podcast. Coming back to some of the questions, José, for you, how did you get into your current role, and what do you find most rewarding about it?

[00:18:13.540] – José Faus
I mean, role as an artist or?

[00:18:15.860] – Virginia Huling
Maybe as a muralist in this particular sense.

[00:18:19.540] – José Faus
I think there’s always a lot of accident that happens in life. Remember that movie, The Accidental Tourist? I thought it was a great article for an accidental life. I back into a lot of things.

[00:18:34.150] – Virginia Huling
Okay, then I want to back up and I want to hear about how you got into the artist bit. Because this is a bigger story here, not just a muralist part.

[00:18:42.720] – José Faus
I’d always drawn and not always written. There was teachers that had told me in grade school and high school, Oh, that’s nice, and had pointed it out as something that was worth doing. But I came from a family that the expectation was you were going to go to college. There are a lot professionals in the family, and if anything, you were going to be something like that, right?

[00:19:06.380] – Virginia Huling
Not an artist.

[00:19:07.180] – José Faus
Yeah. My mother was an artist, which is strange. She was a dancer and professional, but that was not what she wanted for her kids. But so college was always there. I thought, I like history, I like events and stuff, current, get into debates with people. I thought, I’ll be a political science major. I started taking a heavy load at Johnson County Community College. That was like 21 hours the first semester. My brother came up to me and says, Hey, man, you like to draw? You like to be around art? I have this teacher. She said, I told her about you. She said, Well, if he wants to come in and draw anytime just to take a break, he’s welcome.

[00:19:50.810] – José Faus
I said, Okay. I showed up. Of course, I walk in when they have a naked model.

[00:19:57.980] – Virginia Huling
I’ve had those classes.

[00:20:00.220] – José Faus
I think no matter what I said, I think she was hearing boy with hormones or something. But I told her what my brother had said, and she said, Okay. She gave me a large piece of paper, and literally, she put me right in front of the model as close as you and I are. I think it was in the hope of if I was jiving her, I was out.

[00:20:19.890] – Virginia Huling
That was a test. That was absolutely a test.

[00:20:22.470] – José Faus
But it’s like I saw the body, I saw the figure, I had the pencil, it was crayon. I think she gave me Conti crayon. I had this big sheet of paper, and I just started drawing. All of a sudden, it became not clinical in any way, but I was looking at something, I said, I can put this down here. I remember after 20 minutes, she tapped me on my shoulder and she says, You’re welcome to come the rest of the semester. I’ll tell you the schedule, and you can just come in and sit down and draw. You don’t have to take the classes. You don’t have to audit. I’ll just when you want to. I remember going home that weekend and thinking really hard about it. I went and looked at the class catalog and I said, Oh, my God, they offer degrees in art and in English. I literally had just a focus. I was going for a professional degree. When I looked at the course schedule, I was looking, Well, what would satisfy a political science degree? That’s what I was taking, American government history, Western civilization. All of a sudden, it’s like, there’s art.

[00:21:20.970] – José Faus
I remember that Monday, I went in. I went right to my academic advisor and I said, You know what? I want to change my degree. She said, To what? I told her, Art and writing. The sad thing about it is that she also was the one that taught one of the classes that I was taking for my political science degree. I could tell she was disappointed. But I just had never thought about art as being something tangible that you could do. Right then and there, I split and became an artist.

[00:21:55.040] – Virginia Huling
Is it funny when you find it and it’s like, Whoa, wait a minute?

[00:21:58.760] – José Faus
It was there all the time. You didn’t know. It’s like, there’s something.

[00:22:02.370] – Virginia Huling
For it to be, oh, that’s awesome. You had a teacher that brought you into that.

[00:22:08.740] – José Faus
She was an amazing lady. To even just say, Okay, that felt really good.

[00:22:16.530] – Virginia Huling
In that vein, taking that and giving back, what’s an initiative or a project that you’re particularly proud of, and why?

[00:22:27.540] – José Faus
Oh, God.

[00:22:28.920] – Virginia Huling
I’m What’s one of those things that stands out to you and you’re like, I’m glad I did that one.

[00:22:37.530] – José Faus
God, I could say that about so many things, but I think I have to say it about the first ones we did, and they weren’t even done here. The way that we met and became friends, Alicia, Jesús and I, is we had a gallery down in the Crossroads. It was that time, right before it became the crossroads. It was a nebula space. We were going to lose the gallery. We decided, Why don’t we go out with a bang and have a show? I had run into a flyer from somebody that said, I’m putting up a show of Latino artists, Hispanic artists of Kansas City. They said, Azteca The Great of Kansas City. That’s how we met Azteca, who helped us later with the Argentine wall. I called the lady and she said, I have a roster of Latino artists. I said, Really? Why? I didn’t know. We didn’t see them, right? This is like 1993, ’94. I reached out to her and I said, We want to have a show This is going to be the last one we do. We have a big gallery. That’s how I met Jesús and Alicia. Then after we had the show, I’m sitting over at Jesús’s house and he said, How would you like to go to Mexico and paint a mural?

[00:23:43.870] – José Faus
I was like, Oh, heck, yeah. Because I wanted to do murals, like I said, that had this idea of the large scale. When he said, We can go, and he said, We have a place to stay. We can stay there up to a month. They’ll feed us, they’ll take care of us. We just have to get there. So we did, We went. That first project is what made me realize I was in the right track because we painted in another country. I remember, even as much as I wanted to paint a big mural, I had never painted in front of people. For me, it’s always been like a private thing. I paint in my studio, I write in my garage or in my studio, wherever it is, my room. I never had an audience. Then all of a sudden, we’re at a school, there’s like 800 kids running around seeing what you’re doing.

[00:24:31.330] – Virginia Huling
Who are fearless and will ask them whatever they feel like.

[00:24:34.190] – José Faus
Hey, what are you doing? It’s like, die. What’s that? There was nothing on the wall yet. I just had a chalk, a piece of pencil and stuff, and I just started putting little sketches there. I had a sketch I was going to work on, but I was so nervous that they had people watching me. Then I started drawing when the kids would go into class and I go, I’m free. Then after a while, after two days of them constantly running around to see what we were doing, they just weren’t there anymore. I mean, they were, but they were… Yeah. It was like- Is that trance? Yeah. Well, it was like the wind blows. Oh, here comes a kid. It was just natural. It became part of the experience. Like the birds singing off in the distance of the trees rustling. Here’s kids. It’s recess time. Then after a while, we were just part of the environment for them.

[00:25:20.500] – Virginia Huling
I was just going to say you integrated into the environment.

[00:25:23.080] – José Faus
Sometimes they’d come over and hang with us, and other times, they were just playing their games. It was really nice. That’s very cool.

[00:25:28.440] – Virginia Huling
I was going to ask if working on a smaller scale project, how you get in the zone, does that translate on larger scale things with an audience?

[00:25:38.920] – José Faus
Yeah, because- You’re able to block them out. You have to get in the zone in a way. I remember I went to Penn Valley, and I remember the last… We had a final, and basically what do you do? You’re a painter. What’s the final? Show up the last day, and he gives us canvas, and he says, You have two hours to paint a scene from inside the space. I remember thinking, I’m looking all over the place. The minute I picked on what I wanted, time just stopped. I mean, literally, I just was so focused on doing what I was doing, trying to get it done. Finish the painting like an hour and a half, and I was done. I don’t recall thinking. You know what I mean? I don’t recall. That’s a sweet spot. Yeah, it’s just the colors, finally, the palette made sense to me. I was mixing the same colors. I had a limited palette, so I wasn’t messing around with a lot of stuff. Boom, boom. That’s the way it is, I think. It doesn’t take long for me to lose the sound. I listen to music sometimes. After about five minutes, I don’t hear it.

[00:26:44.650] – José Faus
It just doesn’t exist anymore. I’ll listen, I don’t have the headphones on. I think sometimes I’m just keeping people from talking to me. But I don’t even think of it that way. I think I’m going to listen to music. I don’t. I listen to talk radio. I don’t remember half of what they say. Somebody said, You should listen to books. I can’t. After a while, I don’t hear the book anymore.

[00:27:04.160] – Virginia Huling
Your brain is engaging in different ways. You have to help it get through that funnel into where you can do your thing.

[00:27:13.020] – José Faus
I resent it when I finally hear it, I go, Oh, then I’m not concentrating on what I’m doing.

[00:27:16.270] – Virginia Huling
No, it pulled out of it.

[00:27:17.580] – José Faus
Yeah. But it doesn’t take long to go back in. Okay.

[00:27:21.500] – Virginia Huling
How do you approach collaboration? I want to be clear, you cover such a wide spectrum of mediums, from visual arts to poetry, music, et cetera. How do you approach collaboration and fostering unity on these big projects? Because there can be a lot of egos in there.

[00:27:42.390] – José Faus
Oh, there is. I remember when we started to paint it, I’ll go back to the first mural we did, the first thing we figured out after we had an idea of what the design would look like was how are we going to paint it? Because all three of us have very different styles. One person is an illustrator, another friend of mine is self-taught by a very strong references, very strong. For me, I was learning. It’s always like we have different attitudes. We have different kinds. I like more abstraction sometimes. I like more dense color. The other one more like the more figurative model colors. It’s always like we sat down and we said, You know what? We have to agree on the style. I think once you agree on that, that’s like that consensus building. Any collaboration has to have consensus. It doesn’t just It can work, but it can be miserable experience. Yes, it can. Because then there’s always somebody fighting about, I want it to be this way. Once you have agreed on something, then you just move on to the next obstacles. So collaboration, you have to have consensus. That’s the first thing.

[00:28:46.070] – José Faus
The second part is that you have to really want to do the project as well. It’s like you’ll say yes to a project, then you realize very quickly, even after you have established consensus, you really didn’t want to do it. So it can show up sometimes. You have to want to be engaged and open to whatever happens. I think that’s… I’ve worked improvisationally with musicians and dancers, even a person that delumes opera singers singing. It’s just the other The heart is trust. It’s trust that what you’re doing is going to work. Even if it doesn’t work all the way, there are moments that really work. Sometimes the moments are the most important thing.

[00:29:27.330] – Virginia Huling
Well, and I think, this is my personal I think we as humans tend to forget that the act of creation is imperfect. It’s easy to destroy because it’s easy. But you’re going to fail and start again, fail and start again. But each time you’re developing that sense of where you’re going and the craft that you’re creating.

[00:29:49.880] – José Faus
Sometimes that failure or that accident is exactly the thing you need to concentrate on. When I teach, I tell people, You shouldn’t erase only because… It’s not that it’s because you always hear that, don’t use an erase or whatever. But it’s only because sometimes if it’s not a finished thing, you can see something in it that says, Oh, maybe that’s a better one. It’s like in writing. If you write and you don’t say it perfectly enough, but you want to get through it because you have this thought that’s coming along, you can come back to that writing and say, Oh, wait a minute, that changes this. All of a sudden, it can take you in a different direction or it can be its own thing. Sometimes the accidents are the most interesting thing. I have There was a painting I did that was very specific abstract painting, and I still have it only to remind me of this. A brush fell out of my hand and it had this red that was not in the painting at all. I just was moving something out, working on another thing, and it hit that canvas and I said, It’s ruined.

[00:30:47.430] – José Faus
I remember some students had visited my studio and I was talking about them, and this one kid says, Why’d you put that red on there? I told them, I like it. I still haven’t reconciled myself to that because I had a very specific thing that it was very methodical. But it made me think because I look at that and I haven’t painted it. It’s been like that now for about five or six years.

[00:31:12.400] – Virginia Huling
There’s a whole life lesson in that.

[00:31:13.990] – José Faus
I keep it in. I look at it. Until one day I’m going to look at it, I’m going to say, No, that kid’s right. You can write them both on that. I think I’m going to leave it like that. But I don’t touch it. It stays that way.

[00:31:25.250] – Virginia Huling
That’s cool. I mean, look, I’m a huge fan of visual arts.

[00:31:29.510] – José Faus
I think it’s You’re a painter, right?

[00:31:31.460] – Virginia Huling
I think it’s important for us as a species to have those interactions. Oh, yeah. I love… One of the reasons I’m excited about being here in Kansas City is this is… It’s such an art-friendly city. There’s a lot of… At least from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot that goes into… You know what’s wild? Let me tell you this. This is such a tiny, stupid detail, but it gets me so excited. The bridges. The bridges have decorative stonework in them. Why? For no other reason that it’s esthetically pleasing. I love that. That says something to me about a city like this.

[00:32:13.810] – José Faus
But those are disappearing.

[00:32:15.670] – Virginia Huling
Are they? I know.

[00:32:17.670] – José Faus
I know the new structures that go up. I really do think there is something for that decorative element that happens and that idea that the town, that’s like a vestige of something. But the idea, too, that the town celebrates the arts right now, right? But I can honestly tell you a time, and I will never forget this. There was a time when I left university, we did not have the art scene we have now. I remember a lot of my friends, artists, we were two minds. We would stay here and make us an art scene here, or they would leave, and most would leave, and most would go into other directions and do art as a hobby or whatever. I can recall a one time when there were four major galleries I can recall a time when there were two or three theater equity companies, maybe two dance companies, and one of them was the Kansas City Ballet. That was the art scene in Kansas City. There literally was no art scene to speak of. I mean, yeah, you could see it. You’d have to go hunting for it, but there wasn’t much.

[00:33:19.320] – José Faus
But now, you fast forward or go back maybe 15, 20 years ago when the whole scene started with the crossroads or got activated, there were other scenes that were popular, but something happened in that mix that all of a sudden a density of people who were not artists started to come out and make it an event. I think that gave a lot of impetus to starting it up. Now you can celebrate this in art culture, but it has a lot of organic groups.

[00:33:47.970] – Virginia Huling
Yeah, it definitely takes the people who put it in place to get there.

[00:33:53.140] – José Faus
They weren’t thinking about it either. They just said, Eh. You go down to the crossroads now, and I know they’re going to the Royal said where they want to put the new stadium at. It’s right there in the crossroads. It’s like you go, Well, this whole thing came about because the artist got in here. They were living in these spaces. They were cheap, huge, empty. Nobody wanted to be there at the four o’clock because there was nothing to do there. Now you want to put a stadium in it. Frankly, the crossroads have changed. A lot of the galleries have left. An artist can’t really be a huge component of it because they’ve been priced out of it. But there’s There’s still artists there. There’s still bastions there. But yeah, it’s changing. It’s changing quite a bit.

[00:34:35.530] – Virginia Huling
What are some of the opportunities that you see on the horizon for Kansas City in that vein?

[00:34:40.630] – José Faus
In the artistic, you mean? Yeah. Oh, yeah.

[00:34:42.680] – Virginia Huling
There’s a ton of opportunities. But for those of us who are looking for this, I know people on Reddit who are like, Where’s the art scene? They want to get involved. What can they do?

[00:34:52.400] – José Faus
Well, I think you can make an art scene literally happen anywhere. Artists are always going to be looking for places. There’s There’s an art scene that happens down in the West Bottoms, the River Market. You have artists communities there. You have artists communities in Kansas City, Kansas. There’s an epic arts resident. They have a Third Friday art scene there. It’s really nice. It’s really ample. There’s a lot of different little community things that help or businesses that are growing, as a matter of fact. You got Columbus Park. You’ve got places. There’s the Englewood Arts thing that’s happening over towards the Independence, where it’s this whole idea of taking Artists as bastions or people that can promote growth in areas that have been depressed by either taking advantage of low-income housing or low-cost housing, financing, studio space. They create density, they create something like that. That’s happening at Englewood Arts. There’s a lot of little pockets like that. There’s the Inter-Urban Art space out in Overland Park, which pretty much was started. It’s all do it yourself, grassroots idea that, Hey, this has to happen. Then you find people that can help make it happen. There’s a lot of that that’s happening around town.

[00:36:08.020] – Virginia Huling
Are there any channels or paths that you know of for people to stay informed or connected with this?

[00:36:14.150] – José Faus
Oh, man. Just follow artists. Okay. Artists, I mean, artists, I mean, musicians, but define an artist as very broad sense, creative producers, right? We say artists, and people think immediately visual artist, and that’s it. Then we talk about writers and we say, Oh, these guys, they’re artists, too. Yeah, them, too. Yeah. Yeah. No, they’re choreographers, dance. Anybody. Yeah. Be curious. Go to a dance. If you’ve never seen dance, go to a dance thing. If you’ve never seen jazz, go to a jazz concert. There’s this idea that somehow we have to only like certain things, A, because they’re topical, A, because that’s where everybody is louding and touting around. I’m not a Taylor Swift fan. I’ve heard some of her songs. I don’t dislike them. There is actually one I kind of like. But at the same time, it’s like, would I say, Well, that’s not really music? No, because I think about classical composers. They would take a genre, they would take folk music and incorporate it into the thing and they become celebrated. They’re relying on these folk traditions. But at the time, I guarantee you somebody was saying, Oh, that’s just folk. That’s like everybody.

[00:37:23.470] – Virginia Huling
He’s just remixing this thing. Why is everyone getting so excited?

[00:37:25.800] – José Faus
This is not the classical thing, but it becomes the basis for most our Tchaikovsky. I mean, all of them had Berleys. I’m not Berleys. What is his name? I was Copeland, Aaron Copeland. He’s using Appalachian music. Those traditions, Joe Yomal played some of this. It’s like, why should any expression before and to you. If you really love and appreciate me, look, I grew up disliking country music like crazy, only to realize that some of my favorite songs were Johnny Cash songs. You I mean, Jackson, right? Got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout. It’s like, I’m going, Man, that’s poetry. Or Glenn Campbell, Gentle on My Mind. I think that’s a beautiful song. Or Tulsa Lion.

[00:38:15.540] – Virginia Huling
What was that like, coming to that realization that there’s poetry in this place that you didn’t even think it existed?

[00:38:21.900] – José Faus
Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t believe it existed? I just thought that it was not my poetry. It’s not your style. Got you. But then I sat down one time and I listened to… If you listen to that whole… I’ll take that gentle in my mind, that whole… All the lyrics that are in it because there’s a shortened version. I think it’s like 2 minutes and 30-something track. But if you get the whole thing, you see a progression of a guy thinking about a woman who he has this relationship with that is in many ways casual and easy, that he can keep his bedroll parked behind their couch, the idea that he can come and go. But then later, as he’s sitting around some crackling fire or something, he’s taking you through this journey of the things that he’s missed because it is about loss. He’s sitting here drinking his coffee. That’s an art in poetry that is so exquisitely beautiful. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful poems. But I can separate it from the music and read it as poetry. Then I can come back and with the music, it just fills it out.

[00:39:26.500] – José Faus
No, you have to be curious. If you’re going to really engage in art, be curious enough. You’re not going to like everything. But you’re going to be surprised if you’re open, just how many things you can blend together. And art really is always a blending. Culture comes out of all these disparate elements coming together. And at some point, you create a thing that somebody says, Oh, that’s Kansas City style. Graffity artists do this very well. When you hear them talking, Oh, man, this is East Coast. This is West Coast. I got Chicago. And you understand what they’re talking about because they studied those. Now, they don’t sit there and say, The only valid form is West Coast. No, I said, Man, I got my own thing. I grew up in Kansas City. This is the way I see it. And there is Kansas City stuff. And so you see it reflected. That’s the way we should look at things. But I think we tend I look like always back off. You look at the symphony. For years, it was so high-brow, right? But they got to grow up. They got to… And so they have the pop series, which is take popular music and you bring it together and you put it in an audience, and the audience comes to see it because they’re familiar with one thing.

[00:40:35.170] – Virginia Huling
Like when they were doing the movie Soundtrack series. I thought that was a brilliant move. Yeah.

[00:40:38.990] – José Faus
One of the best experiences I ever had was there’s a great album by Charles Mingus called ‘Epitaph’. You can hear bits of it in a lot of his music that he did, but he decided one day to do this whole orchestra thing. It’s a band of 30 plus musicians up there, top-of-the-line musicians. You hear this, and it’s 70 minutes, but it’s a complete orchestra work. It’s gorgeous. You hear some of the themes that he always played with when he did his own music. You can see how those things become rejuvenated, reclassified, put into it to create a whole new one, right? That’s the curiosity you got to have. I can remember if I would have been 20 and somebody had given me that, I didn’t like jazz. But I remember in high school, one of the coolest dude I ever met This is the way somebody introduced him. The dude is a black belt in karate, and he listens to jazz. All of a sudden, I was like, Oh, my God, that’s really cool guy. I’m listening to rock and roll. I’m listening to Stones, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd. That’s what’s bringing me into the Black Sabbath.

[00:41:57.670] – José Faus
It was one of my first concerts. But I’m looking in the liner notes and I’m hearing, Oh, this song was by these other artists, and I started listening to Blues. Find out Kansas City is a great blues town, which leads to the jazz town. So that was the education. It’s like being curious and saying, Oh, this is what you do. But the liner notes said this song came from this and then go into the source.

[00:42:19.380] – Virginia Huling
And following it. Yeah.

[00:42:20.640] – José Faus
I think that’s

[00:42:21.610] – Virginia Huling
Digging and digging.

[00:42:22.840] – José Faus

[00:42:23.580] – Virginia Huling
Okay. What are some personal experiences or a lesson that significantly shaped your your life or career path? Because you’ve had a lot of experiences that I don’t think a lot of people get to-

[00:42:40.610] – José Faus
I’ve had a lot of experiences that I…

[00:42:42.550] – José Faus
I mean, some have been debilitating to an extent. I was not an altar boy. My mother wanted me to be an altar boy because my grandmother wanted me to be a priest. Did you grow up Catholic? Yeah, I’m very Catholic. I used to say the rosary with my grandmother. I hate kneeling.

[00:43:06.550] – Virginia Huling
I know, I do, too.

[00:43:07.670] – José Faus
My grandmother would have a pillow.

[00:43:09.460] – Virginia Huling
I walk into a church and my knees hurt.

[00:43:11.210] – José Faus
My grandmother would have a pillow on her knees, but I was on the freaking floor. But no, I think there’s a way that you grow up, especially growing up without a father. Then growing up in some ways without a mother because she It was a foreign concept to me when we came back here. My experiences were outside of the house. That’s where most of my growing up was taking place. It was in the street. It was in the friends that hung out. I got into trouble. I can recall, I think the thing that always has struck me is the people in my life that took the time to point out that I was going in the wrong path, were people that were incidental to my life in terms of I would see them at school.

[00:44:06.190] – José Faus
They were my teachers. They were the librarians. They were people who said, Come on, you’re better than this. Even though I was doing everything to prove them wrong, they kept believing, and they have always been an inspiration to me. When you ask that, for me personally, I think it’s been that in my life, when it was the most essential time for me to be alive, that moment where you’re starting to create your ideals and your ethics, in spite of all the mistakes you’re making, somebody’s taking the time to say something to you and point you in the direction. That, to me, has been, I think, when I abstracted from everything else, if there had not been mentors in my life, I’m not sure where I’d be.

[00:44:47.940] – Virginia Huling
How does that manifest in your life now?

[00:44:49.980] – José Faus
I mentor others. I don’t think there’s any information out there that I can own that is so mined that I would not give away to somebody. You know what I mean? These teachers did for me things that went beyond their classroom. It wasn’t like in the classrooms, they were teaching me these lessons. They would see me somewhere and say, Hey, I got to talk to you. Or they would go out of their way and hunt me down in my classroom and say, Hey, I think you ought to read this. I had a librarian that did that. I think you just have to be open to those things. Things happening and realizing that you can’t plan those moments. When I have the ability to be able to… If somebody comes to me and ask me for something, if I know, I’m going to take the time. If I see that they’re receptive to me saying something to them, I’m going to say something to them. I’m going to say, Hey, you know what? But only because somebody did it for me. Reciprocity is really the way we should live our lives ethically.

[00:45:58.950] – Virginia Huling
I think that’s really the only that we can give to each other. There’s just these experiences that I hope this makes your life journey easier. Yeah. Okay. What’s an actionable piece of advice that you would share with our listeners?

[00:46:16.880] – José Faus
It’s one that really, I don’t know if it applies in spite of all the things I’ve said, but it’s show up. Show up. If somebody invites you to do something and says, Hey, I’m interested in this, and you have an interest and you say, Yes, show up for it. Granted, there are times life gets so complicated, you can’t. Well, make amends. Because if something becomes really important and you get an opportunity, you show up for it. So if somebody tells me, Hey, I need an artist to do this thing, and you go, Okay, I’ll do it. Then you’re sitting and going, Well, they really don’t need me. Somebody else is going to show up. You could back out. You’ve left them down. But more importantly, you’ve let yourself down because at that point, you wanted to do it. If somebody invites me to do something and I say yes, unless I couch it with, Okay, look, I’ll really try, but I can’t promise you. But if I say I’ll be there, I have to be there in spite of whatever it is. There are moments you forget. That’s the embarrassment of life. But show up for things.

[00:47:13.960] – José Faus
Even if they’re not things for you, show up for others. There’s nothing to be said for. I’ve done poetry readings where they took me across the state and only two people showed up. Were those things defeats or failures? No, because I’ve also had it the other way around where way too many people were there. But in the moment, I shared what I had, even if it’s with two people, it was important. No, I think you show up in spite of what things might turn out to be. Don’t have a judgment. Some things turn out really well. But yeah, be there when it happens. That way you can’t complain, Oh, nothing ever happens. Well, you never go. You get invited, you just stay home.

[00:47:59.280] – Virginia Huling
Make things Be a part of it. Go out and be. Yeah. Okay. What is it for you that you love most about Kansas City when you’re here?

[00:48:14.060] – José Faus
There’s The familiarity you have, right? I’m going to take it now to car culture, right? Okay. Years ago, I worked at a law firm, and my money was a little bit more steady. I bought a little used BMW. I had two of one went under, so I bought another one. But there was something about that BMW that I just love so much. Somebody always told me, That German engineering, the way that those cars take corners. I had a little 325i, beautiful little car, very manageable. I remember the first time I really knew what that meant was I’m driving down… You know that drive where you go to take I-35 and you’re coming down Southwest Boulevard. There’s that little bank that goes in there. It’s got a little hug. Yeah, it’s got a little hug. I remember going, Oh, my God, I got to slow down.

[00:49:02.700] – Virginia Huling
That’s fun to drive.

[00:49:03.370] – José Faus
Yeah, it is. I got to slow down. I’m not going to make this curve. That car made it so easy. I’m going, God, how far could I push it? I didn’t try. I wasn’t reckless.

[00:49:13.100] – Virginia Huling
Sure. We don’t condone recklessness here on this podcast.

[00:49:17.230] – José Faus
But it made me realize how much I know of this city, that I could make a sense of, Oh, I’m coming over here. This is going to happen. I know that my car could do that. Now, I take that same thing with the… I drive trucks now, a little Ford Ranger or something, my favorite thing. I can’t do that. But I know that road enough to know what happens. It’s that familiarity of things. I just use that example of a road, right? But I also know one where if I need to get from one place to another in a snowstorm, since I don’t have snow tires and I’m not going to put chains on it. How can I get this little flat truck all the way over there? In all the years, and granted, we don’t have as much as we used to, I’ve not gotten stuck. I’ve always made it back, except one time in this little hill right by my house, but I could walk, literally, we’re next block over. But I think it’s that familiarity of knowing things and knowing the place you’re in enough that you know where you’re safe, and you know where you’re taking a chance, and you know where you’re going to have a good time, and you know where you’re likely to run to people you haven’t seen for a long time, and you do.

[00:50:19.440] – José Faus
Then the other part is spring. When spring hits Kansas City. It’s beautiful. It’s the mentality. You know the minute spring hits. People are waking up. Well, even if it gets cold the next day, they’ve already in their mind since spring’s here. It’s not changing. It’s like a collective feel, right? The parks open up and people are everywhere. That’s the beauty about this thing. I hate the seasons. Honestly, I hate winter. Really? I cannot stand winter. I just cannot do it. But I tolerate it because spring is so beautiful. Fall is so intense.

[00:50:51.540] – Virginia Huling
It’s the fall.

[00:50:52.800] – José Faus
But I’m a summer person. I love summer. I don’t care how hot it gets. Okay, well. But spring and fall, oh, my God, they’re delightful.

[00:51:01.450] – Virginia Huling
It’s those little windows of just not the extremes. They’re just so nice to enjoy.

[00:51:06.080] – José Faus
Like the weather we’ve had this last week and a half.

[00:51:08.680] – Virginia Huling
I know. Gorgeous. After 10 below. Really chilly today. Well, that’s it. With the familiarity, are there any local leaders or influencers in Kansas City that inspire you? If so, who are they?

[00:51:23.270] – José Faus
I think it’s just my peers, honestly. Artists, musicians, people that I’ve worked with, people who I see, regardless of the things that go on, the art is so important, they’re going to persevere, move on. Pandemic, I think to me, it showed my community in the best light because I’ll give you one example. I’ve done a little acting. I’m not going to put myself out as one, but I love the idea of it. It’s terrifying. But I remember a girl’s name is Katie Gilchrist. We’re all sitting on the pandemic, and I did not mind pandemic, honestly. I thought it was a nice reset for me. I’m watching her. She’s using Facebook, and she says somebody gave her a birthday or something was going on. She and her friend drove under pandemic. We were all quarantined to their driveway and put on a little show for them in funny costumes and got in it and then put it out there. If anybody wants to let me know, boom. That’s fantastic. People are doing that, right? There was another person Molly Murphy, I think was her name. I should make sure, but she got cancer. We knew she was going to die.

[00:52:42.600] – José Faus
She put it out there. I’m going to be out there taking hugs. Somebody made this thing so she could hug people. We made her a sweet. It was, man, it’s like, I get so emotional sometimes because it’s those little things of creativity, bounded with this idea of the belief in the goodness of people and how we can, as small as a thing may be, it can have an impact. It can be this incredible thing, but it just seems so simple. Those things to me, I can’t… I’ve given you a couple of names, but I could name you tons of things like that that happen. Usually around creativity, usually driven by artist. Yeah, so my heroes are small things like that.

[00:53:26.830] – Virginia Huling
It’s the artist that reminds us that we’re human. I mean, I’m just saying my own little shameful plug. The pandemic, I think, gave us a weird window that let us see who we could be in other ways just because it stopped the world. It’s such a weird halting pace. But I digress, and I don’t want to get into the pandemic. We’re going to talk about the future of Kansas City, and what role do you hope to play in that?

[00:53:57.730] – José Faus
I think always just as a citizen that’s involved, that feels they have a voice as many of us do, two and a half million of us that live in this community. There are challenges, though. I love the idea of development. I understand it, but I don’t like the idea of development at the expense of so many good things. Right now, I think… Kansas City, its history has always been driven by real estate. Real estate has always been, and I think imagine that’s going to be everywhere. But there’s something specific Basically about if you own it, you can dictate what it is. You see now in the West Bottoms, there’s a big change going on down. There’s a lot of infrastructure being put in to build housing that goes along the river. Berkeley Park, that’s the big construction that’s going on. There’s a KC Curran Stadium at one end. All this mass of things. The only thing I worry about is that sometimes you create these things and then you start to, by chance or just the things work out, it becomes an exclusionary thing. All of a sudden, it’s not as open as it used to.

[00:55:06.960] – José Faus
Sometimes the architecture begins to look so similar. It’s like you can drive 27th and Truce right now and it looks exactly like you’re in the crossroads on parts where any development is happening north of the city, south of the city. It’s like it has this cookie cutter look to it. The other part, too, that we’re losing is we’re losing neighborhoods to a great extent. I think the idea of single family housing In the urban core, it’s more like, We should give all that up and just put more density, put more people. The train that’s expanding, it’s a beautiful thing, but when is it going to go east and west? There has to be this thing. It just can’t be driven only by tourism as the place you wanted to go. There’s a lot of challenges. How do you make a city that stays equitable? When we are already beginning to see incredible price ranges? Housing stock is down. A lot of corporations are buying housing and then renting it at exorbitant numbers. Where do we… Then also the other part that really troubles me is I think there’s a lot of young people that are not seeing that the model that they’re investing into now requires that you basically spend almost 50% of your income for housing when it used to be the idea was a quarter.

[00:56:28.390] – José Faus
Now, it’s like we don’t even go far at that. We fight and struggle about somebody making an extra dollar because somehow they’re not worthy of that. But then how do you survive? The worst thing that happened about pandemic was when some company says, You’re an essential worker. We’re going to give you a dollar more. Then after pandemic, it ended, they took the dollar back. It’s like I’m going, Really?

[00:56:51.040] – Virginia Huling
Or we named you an essential worker, and then we beat you to death.

[00:56:56.230] – José Faus
Yeah. Those challenges, I think, Exists everywhere. But when they come to a community like Kansas City, which in some ways has always touted the fact that it’s a livable city, that it’s an affordable city, and you start to see the things that begin to impinch on that, you have to be very careful. I’m going to be very happy to see the World Cup come to Kansas City, but I’m so very concerned about what that’s going to look like in terms of the pressures that are put onto construction here, take resources away from there. I love baseball. It was one of the first introductions to American culture for me. But I really worry about it being in the crossroads where you’ve created this one thing organically, and all of a sudden, if we put it here, that’s the best thing to do. I’m going, We built that arena because there was going to be a basketball team, no matter what anybody says. I think a lot of the voters that voted on that thing, the sprint arena, was they really believed that we were going to get a hockey team or a basketball arena. It was going to be good for downtown.

[00:57:59.000] – José Faus
Instead, we’ve gotten a big mortgage. That’s, I think, the fear that I have is that I think a lot of the development and the arguments and the debates and the numbers that really can inform people about what the nature of that debate is are obscured behind committees. The county legislature took so damn long to finally agree on whether to proceed or not with doing something with the royals, right? They had to override Frank White’s veto. Those are indications of things happening outside the margins.

[00:58:30.090] – Virginia Huling

[00:58:30.620] – José Faus
They were not aware of it. I think that’s what I worry about. But I think that’s something to worry about any place that development becomes important.

[00:58:37.440] – Virginia Huling
That is where… It’s interesting, your initial major in college, but that’s where we We as citizens have to remember that this is our… We can create the fabric that we want to live in.

[00:58:51.520] – José Faus
It’s the polis.

[00:58:52.380] – Virginia Huling
We have to be involved in it to do that, though. You have to follow this stuff, and you have to get your voice heard, and you have to take the be curious and put the time into it because it won’t just happen. Or it does just happen, but it’s because somebody else put the work into it.

[00:59:08.150] – José Faus
You wake up one day and you go, Why does it look this way? How did this happen?

[00:59:13.370] – Virginia Huling
Could you recommend any local events or organizations that people should know about that maybe they don’t?

[00:59:20.020] – José Faus
Oh, God.

[00:59:21.220] – Virginia Huling
What are your top three?

[00:59:22.330] – José Faus
What are your top three? I sit on a board of an organization called Charlotte Street Foundation. That’s right. Which was artists.

[00:59:27.940] – Virginia Huling
You started there two years ago?

[00:59:30.220] – José Faus
Yeah, actually. But I’ve been involved with them since they started about 25 years ago. They had events downtown, and I started attending them and got to know the organization and been involved in just being in some events. Then I came on the board a few years ago.

[00:59:47.300] – Virginia Huling
Charlie’s Place?

[00:59:48.160] – José Faus
Charlotte Street.

[00:59:48.202] – Virginia Huling
Charlotte Street.

[00:59:48.490] – José Faus
Yeah, Charlotte Street. Which is named after Charlotte Street, and the founders had a connection there. They all knew each other, and the arts was the thing that bound them together. That’s an interesting organizing organization. We work with artists. But I think get involved in the public events that take place around art the first Friday. Come back on a Saturday. Look at the art. If you go there and you see the party on Friday, come back for the post-party the next day because galleries have a lot of work there. Any artistic event, but also sometimes just look at the art that is the city. This city has a very… There are beautiful vistas in this city. I think the saddest thing about yesterday is that that plaza that is the Crown Center, the Union Station, the Liberty Memorial, and the vista standing on any side of those places that you see of the whole city is magical.

[01:00:48.890] – José Faus
If there’s ever a fog in the city, head over to Union Station or head up to Liberty Memorial and just watch it as it takes over and dissipates.

[01:00:59.830] – Virginia Huling
I bet that’s cool.

[01:01:01.090] – José Faus
Oh, my God. It’s like watching an ocean coming in in very slow motion and then living.

[01:01:05.840] – Virginia Huling
That’s cool.

[01:01:07.190] – José Faus
But those are beautiful moments. I think take advantage of the rivers. I love going to Caupoint. You love it? Yeah, I just love to watch the water come together there, and it can be so peaceful.

[01:01:22.010] – Virginia Huling
I dig Kansas City because it’s such a nice mix of city and not city. You can find the places that you need to be in as you need to be there.

[01:01:31.750] – José Faus
Yeah, you can go to Weston Park, Bill, and other communities along the river, and you’re in different places, and they have a different feel to them.

[01:01:40.810] – Virginia Huling
I can drive out at night, 20, 30 minutes out of the city, and you’ve got stars. How often do you get that?

[01:01:48.580] – José Faus
Oh, man. Not often enough.

[01:01:50.420] – Virginia Huling
Not often. Not often enough for my taste. All right, our last and probably most important question. Who has your favorite barbecue?

[01:01:59.870] – José Faus
When I drove one time when I was leaving out of New Orleans Park, I got on I-35. I got on I-435, got up to I-35 and drove all the way downtown to go across the river where my studio was at. I remember I had this moment as I was driving. I said, Oh, I could go over here Was that Broderick or Bodrick, some barbecue place out there? I thought, No, I ain’t got time. But as I was going, I did an exercise. If I had to get off the highway right now because I had an incredible barbecue Jones, where would I go? This is like, imagine I’m going 435, taking I-35, coming down and going to… I counted about 14 different places that I could take before I got to downtown. Woodyard Barbecue, Wynedotte Barbecue, Johnny’s Barbecue, Boudreaux’s Barbecue, freaking you name it. I mean, literally, then you could go on down, you go to Gates, you go down to Bryant’s, you can go to Smokestack, you can go across the river. What is that one? Slaps is there now. Slaps, yeah. Q39 now has come in. Mr. T’s, L. C. I like Mr.

[01:03:03.630] – José Faus
T’s. It’s just past L C’s. I go there and eat every now and then when I’m out in that area. If I’m out that way, I got to stop there. L C’s is good. You just What can go wrong with barbecue unless it’s a barbecue that shows up and says, Well, we’re a national chain. If it ain’t got no roots, it ain’t got no fruit, it ain’t got no soul.

[01:03:25.950] – Virginia Huling
All right, that’s the answer. Okay, anything but national chains.

[01:03:28.960] – José Faus
Yeah, because I think I think we do it pretty well here. But I will say I’m not a homer totally incessed this is the greatest barbecue in the world, right? Kansas City barbecue is Memphis barbecue. It’s Mississippi up the river, Mississippi up to cross. So I can go to Memphis and have good barbecue. I still prefer my joints here, but I’m not going to be surprised. I’m not a lover of Texas barbecue, but I’ve had some great barbecue in Texas. Oh, yeah. There’s good Texas barbecue. And North Carolina.

[01:04:00.300] – Virginia Huling
North Carolina has a great barbecue.

[01:04:02.520] – José Faus
Yeah, they do. But it just doesn’t measure to what the flavors are here. But the one thing I would say about barbecue, for God’s sake, please stop telling the world that Kansas City barbecue is all about the sauce. It ain’t I’m not sure about the sauce. I mean, we have some great sauces, but there are some great smoked meats here.

[01:04:20.650] – Virginia Huling
Yes. There’s rubs. That’s one of the fun things. I mean, just as a side note on barbecue stuff, it’s such a community thing down here. In these little areas, everyone comes out for lunch and hits these places, and then they’re gone until dinner again. It’s crazy.

[01:04:37.870] – José Faus
I can remember when LC started, he just had that little… We used to go to the baseball game, thought that the back road up Snive Bar, and there would be this big smoker. I remember I would drive by and say, Man, it can’t be that good. But in my mind, I’m going, That’s where it comes from, right?

[01:04:50.900] – Virginia Huling
Wait until you smell it.

[01:04:51.920] – José Faus
Then one time it stopped. Then it could not go to the stadium without stopping. I used to go fishing. I remember I’d say, I’d tell my partner at the time, I’d I’m bringing back some fish and we’re going to eat. I’d never catch a damn thing. But I’d stop at LC’s and I’d buy them. I remember one time I bought them and I put it in the cooler. I brought it in and I put it down. She picked it up and goes, It’s full of fish. It wasn’t. It was barbecue from LC’s. No, it was Mr. T’s. Richards. Richards was a guy that worked at the Pit for Bryant’s. Then he took off and started his own after the old man died. He went on his own. He had a Pit down here, downtown.

[01:05:29.140] – José Faus
But then he had a place out there with Mr. T’s. I think it was in that area. That’s where I would stop and pick up because it was the old Bryant’s carried over, but it was hilarious. I caught a ton of fish.

[01:05:40.190] – Virginia Huling
We don’t even have to prep it.

[01:05:42.540] – José Faus
It’s fantastic. It looks like ribs, but..

[01:05:45.300] – Virginia Huling
José, thank you so much for coming in today. I really appreciate getting a chance to talk to you and just some of these exchanges. To our listeners, please go follow this guy. His work is all over Kansas City, It’s beautiful. There’s a lot of different elements that are brought into the murals that you see. Check out some of the videos that we’re going to post and go get involved. Go be curious and show up.

[01:06:15.180] – José Faus
Yeah, show up. Thank you so much.

[01:06:17.450] – Virginia Huling
Thank you so much.

[01:06:20.000] – Producer
Thank you for listening to the KC Leaders podcast. Please remember to like, share, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen. For more information about this podcast, please visit Don’t forget to check out our other great podcasts at the Buck Stops Here, streaming now on all major platforms and at

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