I just spent a weekend teaching in Kansas City. I go a lot of places to do workshops, often for a day or a weekend at a time; I rarely feel like I know a city or an arts community. Even worse, I rarely feel that curious. As much as I don't approve of positing NYC as the center of American art, I do find myself really happy here.
But Kansas City makes me ache for a small, savvy, rocking, open place. The artists there are fantastic, rigorous, adventurous and intrepid. The houses are cheap and big. The food is great. The city supports the arts.
If you are there, and want to know what's happening - mostly it's visual art that predominates, though theater is making a play, too - go to http://www.charlottestreet.org/. David Hughes has his finger on the pulse.