Imbued with artwork that celebrates the city’s past, Two Light embodies the spirit of Kansas City’s resurgent present and bright future.
The first major piece to be completed at Two Light was Kansas City based muralist, Alexander Austin’s sprawling mural on the north side of the building’s garage celebrating the Negro Leagues, with representations of Buck O’Neal, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, among others. More recently, a mural celebrating great Kansas City sports moments was completed on the south side of the building’s garage, with images of Kansas City Chiefs’ great Len Dawson, Sporting Kansas City Club’s Matt Besler during their MLS Cup run in 2011, the Kansas City Royals’ World Series Ring and Union Station Celebration from 2015 and Mario Chalmers “Shot heard round the world” from the University of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA Championship win against Memphis.
The theme of locally-inspired art continues on the interior of the building, with the lobby, the amenity level and every residential floor featuring murals, photography, quotations and sculptures sourced, created or installed by local artists.
Curated by nationally renowned interior designer Rebecca Jones, with the support of art consultant Brenda Wood and environmental graphics designer John Lutz, each piece of art was hand-painted on-site by local artists.
Featuring Wilt Chamberlain, Jackie Robinson, Buck O'Neil, Satchel Paige, Goose Tatum, and 1945 KC Monarchs.
A large abstract mural, painted by local artist and Kansas City Art Institute student Colin Kettler, is featured behind the lobby desk
Elevator Lobby - 9th Floor
Ed Asner was born in Kansas City, MO and grew up in Kansas City, KS. He attended Wyandotte High School before leaving Kansas City to attend the University of Chicago and eventually moving to New York City. While he starred on Broadway as well as making several guest appearances on TV and small movie roles, he is most well-known for his role as Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show which landed him his own show titled: Lou Grant. More recently, Asner is known for voicing the character of Carl Fredricksen in the movie UP and playing Santa Claus in the movie Elf alongside Will Ferrell. He is the most honored male performer in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards having won seven awards total.
Elevator Lobby - 10th Floor
Jean Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter in Kansas City, MO in 1911. At the age of 16, she married her high school boyfriend and they moved to California. While living in Beverly Hills as a wealthy socialite, Jean was offered many auditions for movie roles which she turned down until her friend dared her to try it out. By the time she was 21 years old, Harlow was one of the biggest stars in the United States starring in films such as Red Dust and Dinner at Eight. During the production of her last film, Saratoga, Harlow died unexpectedly of kidney failure at the age of 26 and three body doubles were used to finish the movie.
Elevator Lobby - 11th Floor
Walter Cronkite was born in St. Joseph, MO and grew up in Kansas City, MO until the age of 10. At the age of 46 he began his 19 year career as the anchorman for the CBS Evening News. He is famous for reporting events such as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, the Vietnam War, introducing the Beatles to the U.S. as well as many space exploration programs. Between the 1960’s and 1970’s he was cited as the most trusted man in America. He is well-known for his departing catchphrase “And that’s the way it is”.
Elevator Lobby - 12th Floor
Robert Altman was born and raised in Kansas City, MO. He was a film director, screenwriter, producer and five time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director. In 1957 he directed his first film titled ’The Delinquents’. This movie was filmed entirely in Kansas City in under three weeks. The popularity and success of this film led Altman to move to California where he eventually directed such films as M*A*S*H and Popeye the Musical which starred Robin Williams in his first major role. His last film he ever directed was A Prairie Home Companion which was released in 2006.
Elevator Lobby - 14th Floor
Walter Disney was an entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. Although he was born in Chicago, at the age of nine his family moved to Kansas City where Disney took Saturday drawing classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. It is said that he practiced by drawing animals from books he checked out from the Kansas City Public Library. After working as an ambulance driver in WWI he returned to Kansas City to work at an advertising firm which eventually led to him starting an animated film business where he produced animated cartoons for local movie theaters. Supposedly a small mouse living in his desk drawer became the inspiration for his most famous character: Mickey Mouse.
Elevator Lobby - 15th Floor
Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, arranger and composer. Although she was born in Atlanta, Williams always credited Kansas City as the birthplace of her musical career. She moved to Kansas City in 1928 as part of the Twelve Clouds of Joy band. During a time where not many women were instrumentalists in jazz, Mary Lou Williams was named the top soloist of the band and much of the band's success is credited to her distinctive arrangements and solo performances. While Williams left Kansas City in 1942, she returned 38 years later to receive an honorary degree from Rockhurst College. A section of 10th street in Kansas City, MO is named after her and she is widely regarded as one of the greatest female jazz musicians ever.
Elevator Lobby - 16th Floor
Janelle Monáe was born and raised in Kansas City, KS. She has been nominated for eight Grammys as a singer/songwriter and has starred in movies such as Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Welcome to Marwen. She uses her Kansas City roots as inspiration for many of her song lyrics and uses her responsibility to her community as motivation for her career. Her trademark hairstyle and tuxedo uniform can be seen on both the 8th floor mural behind the leasing desk and her photo on the 16th floor.
Elevator Lobby - 17th Floor
Melissa Etheridge is an American singer/songwriter who was born and raised in Leavenworth, KS until she left for college at the age of 18. Her most popular songs include “I’m The Only One” and “Come To My Window”. Throughout her career she has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and has won two, she also received the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2007 with her song titled “I Need to Wake Up”. Etheridge is also known for being a gay rights activist and an advocate for environmental issues.
Elevator Lobby - 18th Floor
Amelia Earhart was an aviation pioneer and author who was born in Atchison, KS. She fell in love with flying and started taking lessons in her early 20’s. In 1928, at the age of 31, Earhart became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane. For this she received celebrity status and became an international household name. Four years later she made her solo nonstop transatlantic flight, becoming the first female to do so. In 1937, during her attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the world, she and her navigator disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean. Though she was declared dead in 1939, many theories still exist to this day about her last flight and disappearance.
Elevator Lobby - 19th Floor
Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist, short story writer and journalist. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois and moved to Kansas City after high school to work for the Kansas City Star. Although he only spent six months at the Star, he relied on the Star’s style guide for the foundation of his writing: “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.” Hemingway is known for writing such novels as For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea.
Elevator Lobby - 20th Floor
Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, MO and moved to Independence with his family at the age of six. After graduating from Independence High School he worked in Kansas City as a bookkeeper until heading to Grandview to work on his Grandparents farm in Grandview. In 1917 he was off to war as a Commander of Battery D, returning to Independence two years later to marry his childhood sweetheart, Bess Wallace. Truman’s started his political career as Jackson County Judge in 1923 and 1926 and then onto the US Senate in 1935 and Vice President in 1944 which led to his presidency in 1945 after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. After his presidency he returned to Independence to live out the rest of his life as a civilian. Today his home is a National Historic Site.
Elevator Lobby - 21st Floor
William James “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1904. He was an American jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. At the age of 25 he moved to Kansas City to pursue his career in music. He started playing at a local club called the Reno Club where a broadcaster gave him the name “Count” because he thought his name needed more style. This is where the band Count Basie and His Barons of Rhythm was born. From that club, Count Basie and his band made a style of jazz called the “Kansas City Stomp” popular. The Reno Club is also where Count Basie ended up composing his signature tune, “One O’Clock Jump” completely from scratch while improvising to fill time during one of his shows.
Elevator Lobby - 22nd Floor
Joan Crawford was a film and television actress who began her professional career as a chorus girl on Broadway. She was born in San Antonio, TX in 1908 where she lived until the age of nine when her mother and step father relocated to Kansas City. After dropping out of multiple Kansas City academies, Crawford attended Stephens College in Columbia, MO which she also left after attending for only four months. After returning to Kansas City, she worked as a salesgirl until she saved enough money to move to Chicago to work as a dancer where she was offered a job as a Broadway chorus girl. Soon after she was scouted by MGM and signed a contract with the company at the age of 17. By the age of 26 she was voted one of the top ten most moneymaking stars and at the age of 37 she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She starred in over 80 films in her 53 years of acting.
Elevator Lobby - 23rd Floor
Ginger Rogers was born in Independence, MO in 1911 and raised in Kansas City until the age of nine. She was an actress, dancer and singer, but is most known for performing in musical films alongside her longtime dance partner: Fred Astaire. Ginger won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1940 for her performance in the film Kitty Foyle and in 1942 she was ranked #1 on the list of Hollywood’s highest paid stars. In 1964, President Harry S. Truman declared July 16th to be Ginger Rogers Day. In 1994, Ginger visited Independence on National Ginger Rogers Day and was given a key to the city by Mayor Ron Stewart. Her childhood home is now a tourist attraction/museum located in Independence.
Elevator Lobby - 24th Floor
Joe Williams was a jazz singer and actor that sang with such bands as the Count Basie Orchestra and the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. Williams started singing professionally as a soloist at the age of 19 but did not make it big until his breakthrough hits with the Count Basie Orchestra including “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “Alright, Okay, You Win”. He is most well-known as an actor for playing Bill Cosby’s father-in-law on The Cosby Show. During his singing career he recorded his own version of the famous “Kansas City Blues”.
Elevator Lobby - 25th Floor
Charles “Charlie” Parker was a jazz saxophonist and composer who was born in Kansas City, KS and raised in Kansas City, MO. Charlie discovered his love and talent for music at an early age and dropped out of school at the age of 15 to play with bands at local night clubs and to pursue his musical career full-time. After playing around KCMO for four years he toured in Chicago and New York City eventually deciding to live in New York permanently. During his early career he acquired the nickname “Bird” which he used for inspiration of many of his composition titles. There is a sculpture of Charlie Parker titled “Bird Lives” located near 18th and Vine in Kansas City, MO. The biggest accomplishment of Parker’s career was his contribution to the creation of bebop. Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”