KC’s Third Free Art Museum — The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

While the Nelson-Atkins and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art seem to receive the most attention, there’s a third, free art museum in the Kansas City metro.  

The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the Johnson County Community College campus at 12345 College Blvd.

All photos by Libbie Bond.

All photos by Libbie Bond.


Its story begins in 2003, when Jerry and Margaret Nerman, two of the area’s most prominent contemporary art collectors, pledged $1.5 million to assist the construction of a contemporary art museum on the JCCC campus. After fundraising $13.5 million dollars, construction began.

Today, the Kansas limestone-covered building is a minimalist and elegant addition to the campus. The two-story museum features 11 gallery spaces, a cafe, a 200-seat auditorium, two classrooms, art storage and preparation spaces.


The museum houses an expansive collection of contemporary art, including photography, painting, clay, sculpture, student works and more. Many pieces in the museum’s permanent collection are even on display throughout campus. We’ll make it easy for you to get started with your explorations there– five top works worth a look during your visit!

Five Works to See:

1. Do Ho Suh, Some-One, 2004

Some-One 2.JPG

Do Ho Suh’s massive robe is made of thousands of stainless steel military dog tags, representing soldiers’ identities as individuals and as a larger military body.

2. Nick Cave, Soundsuits, 2005 and 2011


Cave’s Soundsuits originated in 1992 in response to the Rodney King beatings. Since then, Cave has created more than 500 Soundsuits to serve as a method to obscure race, gender and class.

3. Ebony G. Patterson, Untitled Lightz II, 2013

Untitled Lightz II.jpg

Patterson draws from popular culture, and uses bright colors, gold, flowers, glitter and rhinestones to enthral her viewers.

4. Warren Isensee, Wiggle Room, 2011

Wiggle Room.JPG

Isensee’s hard-edge works are visually intense and extremely vibrant. Most impressive of all, his works are exclusively freehand.

5. Andrzej Zielinksi, Yellow Industrial Paper Shredder, 2009-2010

Yellow Industrial Paper Shredder.JPG

Zielinksi’s abstract, mixed media paintings feature today’s electronic devices, including computers, ATMs and cell phones. The Nerman has four of Zielinksi’s works.

Insider tip: because the museum is in the center of a college campus, parking can be difficult. For easier access, stop by after work on Wednesday or Thursdays (the museum is open till 8pm) or visit during the weekend.