Hi I’m Polly McCann, writer and editor at Kansas City’s New publisher, Flying Ketchup Press. I sat down with eco artist and adventurer, Alexis Webb Bechtold and got the scoop on Curiosity Passport, part of the Open Spaces extended Field in KC this fall. You’ve never experienced Kansas City like this. Enjoy the journey and see you there.
The Curiosity Passport promises a search and find adventure as you explore the KC area through an exciting challenge called letter-boxing. Have you ever found something cool about your city and wondered if other people knew about it too? Letterboxing is way to keep track where you’ve been and who else is a curious traveler in your city.
Is it like geocaching? Yes but with an art twist. What’s the difference? Instead of coordinates, you get clues through photographs. The Curiosity Passport is more than just a scavenger hunt. It is interactive, exciting, exploratory, inspiring, open-to-all-ages, treasure hunt and it is simply filled with fun!
Who did all this? People have been enjoying letterboxing for almost a century. Kansas City’s Curiosity Passport was dreamed up implemented and created by eco-artist and adventurer, Alexis Webb Bechtold of x37adventures as part of Open Spaces Expanded Field and extension of KCMO Office of Culture and Creative Services.
Want to meet Alexis? Come to the opening reception at Paper Birch Landing Art Gallery Friday September 21st at 5 pm to celebrate the launch
What’s at the art gallery? A wacky wall-full of miniature art made this year by eco artist, Alexis Webb Bechtold. They are eco-friendly mosaics of the photo clues for each secret location of the hidden letter boxes at 24 Kansas City Metro Area Landmarks. Alexis is all about upcycling. And these mosaics are made from birch wood and found plastic (used gift cards, really). Here is where you will start your journey. Pick up a passport at the event and follow the clues to find hidden letterboxes at the locations that inspired Alexis’ mini-mosaics in real life.
Want a demo and some free stuff? Come to one of the three walking tours in North KC on Saturday September 22nd. Get a free curiosity passport book and find three letterboxes within walking distance of the River North Arts District right off Armor and Burlington/ Oak. Then you are ready to go out on your own adventure!
What do we look for at each site and what is in the box? No shovels needed-- they are not buried in the ground, but they are hidden. Each box is as small as a Altoid tin (curiously strong mints). Keep your eyes peeled as the boxes are a dark color and well hidden. Inside you’ll find a log book and a hand carved rubber stamp.
What should we bring? You’ll need to bring a curiosity passport or an empty notebook plus a marker or a tiny inkpad. And you will probably to bring a personal stamp. Maybe bring curiosity and a sense of adventure—a friend or two.
What do we do when we find a box? You’ll take the stamp from inside the letterbox, apply some ink or marker and stamp your passport. Collect all 24 passport stamps! Before you go, put your personal mark in the log book so that other’s will know you have visited the landmark. If you don’t have a stamp simply stamp your thumb print. Then hide the letterbox again so the next adventurer can find it.
What if we meet some other curious people along the way who are also letterboxing? Great. Say hello. It’s up to you whether you trade clues or not. But guess what? You can stamp each other’s log books! Fellow adventurers should stick together.
Interested in bringing The Curiosity Passport to another community? Just email artist, Alexis Webb Bechtold, of X37Adventures, at X37Adventures at gmail.com for more information.