ARTNotes for March 10

March 10, 2014


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Upcoming events

March 11: The ArtSounds performance series presents “Sea Prairie: Oceans Apart,” a performance by Alex Shapiro and Paul Rudy. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium in Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus.
March 13: Marjorie Welish will speak at 7 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium in Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus as part of the college’s “Current Perspectives” lecture series.
Through April 2: “Saints Stars & Selfies” at the H&R Block Artspace, 16 E. 43rd St., features recent work by a selection of artists who are inspired by art history and reference historical works of art. For details, visit

KCAI alums part of team that created Disney’s Oscar-winning ‘Frozen’

Paul Briggs (’96 illustration), story supervisor, and Scott Peters (’02 animation), character technical director, both worked on “Frozen,” the Walt Disney film that won Best Animated Feature March 2 during the 86th Academy Awards presentation. Lisa Gutierrez wrote a story about their accomplishment in the March 3 edition of the Kansas City Star, and it can be viewed here: Pictured: Paul Briggs (above) and Scott Peters.

Sponsored Studio program unveiled at Capitol Federal 



Alexandra Khoder (senior, graphic design), Edwing Mendez (senior, graphic design) and Jennifer Su (senior, photography) were recognized for their work on display at the newly opened Capitol Federal Savings Bank branch at 4242 Main St. during a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 4. Capitol Federal selected their design concepts after they participated in KCAI's new Sponsored Studio program, which began with an ideation class last summer led by Michael Kidwell. Kidwell and fellow KCAI faculty member Marty Lane then worked with the three students during the fall semester to produce their individual projects for the bank. In addition, Sebra Debrecht (senior, ceramics) selected works from the ceramics department’s Ken Ferguson Teaching Collection for display throughout the bank lobby. Pictured: (top photo) John Dicus, president and CEO, Capitol Federal; Edwing Mendez; Jennifer Su; and Alexandra Khoder. (Bottom photo, clockwise, top left) Jennifer Su’s photomontage of the Kansas City Art Institute, Alexandra Khoder’s “Field of Gold,” Edwing Mendez’ community map to be displayed on the building between Capitol Federal and The Levee on 43rd St. and the ceramics exhibition in the bank lobby.

Students flock to KCAI for Diversity Weekend

Thirty-four high school students from throughout the United States came to Kansas City in late February for the second annual President’s Diversity Weekend. The gathering was funded by an anonymous donor.
“Our event was a great success,” said Julia Welles, interim director of admissions and recruitment. “The students were outstanding.”
The weekend visit began with dinner on the Country Club Plaza, where liberal arts faculty and Phyllis Moore, director of the School of Liberal Arts, joined the group, and a tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, led by KCAI art history faculty. The next day, President Jacqueline Chanda welcomed the students at a breakfast in Vanderslice Hall, after which the students toured the campus.
The campus tour ended in the West Building, where Brett Reif, director of the School of the Foundation Year, made a presentation. After lunch in the foundation studios, the students took a trolley tour of the Crossroads Arts District and dined with several studio faculty and program chairs at Lidia’s.
Pictured: Students participating in President’s Diversity Weekend visited La Esquina. With them are KCAI regional coordinators Kendell Harbin, Katy McRoberts, Andrew Ordonez, Mary Bond and Russell Shoemaker.

Four sculpture students receive McKeown Special Project Awards

From seven applications submitted, the KCAI sculpture faculty have selected four winners of the 2014 McKeown Special Project Awards. The awards are named for donors Byron McKeown (’60 design) and his wife, Deanne McKeown (’60 painting), who live in Sedona Ariz. The couple annually underwrite awards in sculpture and ceramics. This year’s sculpture department recipients:
  • The Rev. William Ellis Bradley, senior, $900 for the purchase of sound equipment to use in upcoming performances and studio work.
  • Oliver T. Clark, senior, $500 for the purchase of woodworking tools to create his B.F.A. exhibition project.
  • Siara Berry, junior, $400, for the purchase of a sewing machine to make large-scale installations, models and patterns.
  • Kim Davidson, senior, $200, toward wood veneer materials needed to create her B.F.A. exhibition project.

Six ceramics students receive McKeown Special Project Awards

Six students from KCAI’s ceramics department were awarded 2014 McKeown Special Project Awards. These awards were created by alumni Byron and Deanne McKeown of Sedona, Ariz., to fund special artistic and research projects in the KCAI ceramics and sculpture departments. This year’s ceramics department recipients:
  • Christen Baker, senior, will purchase an anatomically correct life-sized skeletal model to assist in the production of porcelain bones to be installed in the explosion style for display in the ceramics department spring exhibition.
  • Sebra Debrecht, senior, will purchase materials to create two tiled textiles for the B.F.A. exhibition. One textile will be made up of three-sided pyramidal tiles and the other will consist of four-sided star tiles, and both will be attached to a metal support structure.
  • Brandon Schnur, senior, will travel to Yellowstone National Park in Montana to observe the gray wolf for documentation that will inform a multi-disciplinary installation.
  • Melanie Sherman, senior, will purchase supplies for her installation in the ceramics department spring exhibition. The grant will allow her to experiment with and use flocking fibers on wallpaper in an adaptation of a traditional Chinese pattern.
  • Joey Watson, senior, will purchase an electroencephalograph (EEG) device to assist in the production of a ceramic horn for use in a performance during the ceramics department spring exhibition.
  • Jennifer Wilkinson, senior, will purchase glass and colored sand to use in her installation for the B.F.A. exhibition. The installation will consist of kiln-formed glass sculptures in an environment created by the sand.
Pictured: (clockwise, top left) “(X,Z) (O,O),” Jennifer Wilkinson; “Documentation of untitled #3,” Sebra Debrecht; “Addressing a Longing For. . .” (hand on the right), “The Dismay of Good Fortune” (hand on the left), Christen Baker; “Resteesen,” Melanie Sherman, 2013, porcelain with mixed materials; “Terrestrial T.V Trays with Picnic Accouterments,” Joe Watson; from bottom left, “Persistence (Gluttony),” top left, “You Can't Have What I Already Have (Greed),” top right “Territorial Busk (Wrath).”

Society of Illustrators accepts work by nine illustration students

Twelve works created by nine KCAI illustration students have been accepted into the Society of Illustrators national student competition. According to Steve Mayse, chair of illustration at KCAI, only about 200 works from 9,000 national entries were accepted. He noted that last year’s seniors as well as current students were eligible for the competition. Juniors Kelsey Borcherding and Kelsey Wroten and Andy Ozier (’13 illustration) each had two pieces accepted into the competition. Class of ’13 graduates Celina Curry, Claire Faulhaber and Tierra Nelson; senior Emmy Jennings; and juniors Spencer Pullen and Clinton Walker each had one work accepted into the competition. Mayse noted that last year four students had work accepted into the competition, with one winner at the $1,000 prize level: Andy Ozier. Winners for 2014 will be selected later this spring. For more information about the competition, visit Pictured: “Exotic Interior” by Spencer Pullen.

AACS presents 2014 Access Alumni Events exhibition ‘Progress and Prosperity’

The office of Academic Advising and Career Services at KCAI continues Access Alumni Events: Connecting Students to Alumni with an exhibition of student work entitled “Progress and Prosperity,” shown at The Vulpes Bastille, 1737 Locust St. AACS put a call out to alumni interested in interacting with students by jurying the exhibition. The alumni curator panel included Anthony Baab (’04 painting), Theresa Bembnister (’01 illustration and creative writing), Connie Griffith (’07 ceramics), Holly Hayden (’03 graphic design) and Dean Johnson (’08 graphic design). Exhibiting students include Emily Blaser (senior, fiber), Shenequa Brooks (senior, fiber), Hannah Carr (senior, fiber), Becca Clews (senior, photography), Derek Dobbins (senior, printmaking), Molly Garret (senior, animation), Mariah Gillespie (senior, fiber), Ben Gould (junior, sculpture), Kahlil Irving (junior ceramics), Hennessey Luther (junior, sculpture), Max Newman (senior, sculpture), Mariah Randall (junior, sculpture), Aneesa Shami (junior, fiber) Lauren Sobchak (senior, fiber), Julian Stropes (senior, painting), Tuesday West (senior, ceramics) and Patrick Wolf (senior, printmaking). The exhibition runs through March 29 when a closing reception and artist talks are scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Pictured: Anthony Baab talks with Patrick Wolf about his work during a studio visit at KCAI. Photo by Baily Glass (sophomore, painting).

Students sketch dancers preparing for ‘Dracula’

A group of sophomore illustration students in Professor Steve Mayse’s “Mechanical Perceptions” drawing class spent time last month sketching Kansas City Ballet dancers in rehearsals for “Dracula.” Those students and others then had an opportunity to attend a Feb. 27 performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Participating students included Cassandra Allen, Jessica Becker, Kate Dittmann, Chandler Dudley, Christina Fabert, Taylor Fourt, Derek Hutchens, Johanna Miller, Jayme Murgas, Carrie Riehl, Jasmine Ruch, Brantly Sheffield, Taylor Toone and Emily Woodson. Pictured: Chandler Dudley, Cassie Allen, Jessica Becker, Brantly Sheffield, Taylor Fourt, Johanna Miller, Carrie Reihl, Tobi Rose, Jayme Murgas, Tina Fabert, Steve Mayse, Taylor Toone, Emily Woodson, Kate Dittmann, Derek Hutchens and an unidentified friend of Hutchens.

CPS classes scheduled to begin in March

Several Continuing and Professional Studies classes begin in March, and now is the time to sign up at Here a few of the more popular choices:
·      Print It!, instructors are Ari Fish and Kelsey Pike, for children six to 11 years, 2 to 4 p.m., March 30, $15;
·      Animation Fundamentals, instructor is Evan Tedlock, for youth 12 to 14 years, 1:30 to 4 p.m., March 16 through April 6, $119 + $5 material fee;
·      Guided Figure Drawing Studio, instructor is Amy Rizzo, for youth 14 to 18 years, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 18, $69 + $15 material fee;
·      Oil Painting Workshop, instructor is Wesley Benson, for youth 14 to 18 years, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 19-20, $129 + $50 material fee;
·      Black & White Darkroom, instructor is Brittany Ficken, for youth 14 to 18 years, 1 to 4 p.m., March 30 through April 27, $129 + $72 material fee;
·      Painting: Light and Impressionism, instructor is David De Rousseau, for adults 18 and up, 9 a.m. to noon, March 29 through May 3, $179;
·      Photoshop, instructor is Barry Hincks, for adults 18 and up, 9 a.m. to noon, March 23 through May 18, $179 + $20 lab fee;
·      Printmaking Without A Press-Stencils, Pochoir and Screen Printing, instructor is Nick Naughton, for Art Educators, March 28-30, $250 + $50 material fee.

Student updates

Christen Baker (senior, ceramics) has been selected by the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts to present a lecture during the 2014 NCECA conference in Milwaukee. A part of the Student Perspectives lecture series, Baker’s presentation is titled “Clay: The Everlasting Memento.” In it, she will explore how the significance of clay objects in daily life is deeply rooted beyond the physical object, with an ability to depict, mimic and evoke memory through narrative, form, function and image, encouraging its use as a memento.
Briana Bosworth (senior, photography), Casey Holden (senior, photography) and Victoria Meyers (senior, photography and creative writing) will open an exhibition April 4 as part of their thesis entitled “Continent: three bodies of environment and experience.” The show will be in a newly renovated gallery space to be called The Red Lady at 1229 1/2 Union Ave. They will open with a reception that evening from 5 to 11 p.m., and the work will remain on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 5 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6. Pictured: A promotional image for the exhibition “Continent: three bodies of environment and experience.”

Alumni updates

Imagine That! Kansas City, a nonprofit art studio for adults with developmental disabilities, will celebrate its second anniversary in April. Several KCAI alumni are involved in the organization, which is located at 20th and Central streets.“We work to provide participants with tools and materials to create art and the supports to define themselves as artists,” said Brandon Forrest Frederick (’11 photography), outreach coordinator at IT!KC. “Our supported individuals are helped by a team of trained artists who strive to integrate IT!KC into the larger art community. Each artist is encouraged to express himself or herself through a variety of mediums and is given the opportunity to show and sell their art every First Friday. The studio takes 20 percent of each sale to help with the cost of materials, and the artists take 80 percent.” Alumni involved in the organization, in addition to Frederick, include Dustin Downey (’11 painting), exhibition and gallery coordinator; Heather Bell (’07 painting), program manager; Jason Comotto (’11 photography), media specialist; Carl Stafford (’06 new media), direct support staff; Alison Down (attended), direct support staff; and Jillian Youngblood (attended), direct support staff.Frederick said IT!KC is funded through Resources for Human Development (, a nonprofit organization that operates social programs in 14 states. IT!KC is on Facebook at and on Blogspot at
Ed Gallucci (’13 photography) is one of five photographers to have his work displayed in the Grammy Awards Traveling Show, “Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey.” The show is scheduled to open April 29 at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla. Gallucci’s photographs are the oldest of Springsteen, shot before his first album debuted, “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.,” in 1972. The photographs were shot for a Crawdaddy Magazine article that helped launch Springsteen's career.
On March 21, Richard Notkin (‘71 ceramics) will receive the honorary membership award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. The presentation will take place during NCECA’s annual conference in Milwaukee. “Honorary members are individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the professional development of the ceramic arts in accordance with criteria established by the board of directors,” the NCECA website states. “This honor carries with it all rights and privileges to the Council for life and obviates all future payments of dues and fees.” For details, visit Pictured: Richard Notkin.
Sandy Scott (attended 1961-1962) will receive the Briscoe Museum of Western Art’s Legacy Award this spring for lifetime achievement. The award will be presented March 28 in San Antonio, Texas, where the museum is located. In 2013, she was selected by Southwest Art magazine as one of the 10 most prominent people in western art. After leaving KCAI in the early ’60s, she worked as an animation background artist for the motion picture industry. She turned her attention to etching and printmaking in the 1970s and to sculpture in the 1980s. She has won awards for sculpture and etching, and her monumental “Presidential Eagle” is installed at the entrance to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark. For more information, visit

Faculty updates

Jessie Fisher, associate professor of painting, has curated an exhibition for the 16-member painting collective Dialoghi del'Arte, of which she is a member. This group will begin its 2014-2015 international tour this summer at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in downtown Kansas City and travel to the Guilin Museum in Guilin, China, before arriving at the SACI Gallery at Palazzo dei Cartelloni for an exhibition that runs May 22 through June 25, 2015. The collective will then end its tour in nearby Montecastello di Vibio, Italy. Fisher additionally will have a two-person exhibition with Scott Seebart, lecturer in painting and ceramics, at SACI's second gallery space at the Jules Maidoff Center for the Visual Arts. This exhibition will run from May 26 through June 25, 2015. For more information about the Dailoghi dell'Arte tour and exhibition dates, visit Fisher’s website at
Diana Heise, assistant professor of photography and digital filmmaking, participated in the Indian Ocean Conference March 6-7 at Stanford University in California. The conference emphasized the strengths of multidisciplinary research, bringing together environmental and historical archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and artists. Heise discussed part of the film “Lame La Kone (the Hand That Knows),” on which she is currently working. For more information about the film, visit In addition, Heise’s work has been featured recently in Drain magazine ( Pictured: Diana Heise on location, photo courtesy of the artist.
During Doug Hudson’s fall 2012 sabbatical, he began production on a film, released Feb. 1, “Driven by Winds.” It’s a nine-minute, digitally-animated portrait of a year. “Conceptually, the idea was to create an animated portrait of how I experience the passing of a year, with the emphasis being on my lifelong spiritual connection to autumn,” Hudson said. The film was conceived and designed to be projected on large-scale surfaces such as drive-in movie screens or the sides of large architectural facades. Hudson, associate professor of animation, began the process of submitting it to film festivals and is currently scouting locations for screenings. To view the film, visit Pictured: A still from Doug Hudson’s animated film “Driven by Winds.”
Brett Reif, associate professor and director of foundation, is participating as a panelist in the Kansas Foundation in Art Theory and Education Organization (FATE) Regional Conference April 4 at Fort Hays State University. His presentation is entitled “Technology Fusion.” For more information about the conference, visit
In recognition of her contributions to the design profession and her continuous efforts to promote the value of design to business and society, Ann Willoughby, founder and chief creative officer of brand communications at design firm Willoughby Design, will receive the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal, the design industry’s highest honor. She is a former Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Design at KCAI. Willoughby is the first medalist member from AIGA Kansas City, a chapter she helped found in 1989. The award will be presented April 25 in New York at the AIGA Centennial Gala, a special celebration to honor medal recipients and reflect on the accomplishments of the design profession and the influential role design and designers have played in society over the past 100 years. Pictured: Ann Willoughby.

Local KCAI-related exhibitions

Epsten Gallery – “Perception & Reflection,” a pop-up studio, continues through March 23 as part of “ARTicipation” at the Epsten Gallery at Village Shalom, 5500 W. 123rd St., Overland Park, Kan. From 1 to 3 p.m. March 9, Calder Kamin (’09 ceramics and art history), academic and career advisor at KCAI, will lead a workshop with help from a registered art therapist. The activity, open to the public as well as to Village Shalom residents, entails creating paper bird decals traced from stencils. The decals can be placed on windows to prevent bird strikes. The workshop is designed for both children and adults. Kamin noted that several other alumni are involved in ARTicipation, including Casey Whittier (’08 ceramics).
Greenlease Gallery – Michael Schonhoff, assistant curator of community outreach and exhibition management for the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI, will be guest curator for “Sunday Painter: Kansas City Plein Air Coterie” at Greenlease Gallery, 1100 Rockhurst Road, on the Rockhurst University campus. The exhibition, running through March 15, is presented by the Kansas City Plein Air Coterie and will feature work by Corey Antis, assistant professor of painting; Christopher Bell (’04 painting and art history); Wes Benson, instructor in CPS; Matt Bollinger (’03 painting and creative writing); Kelly John Clark, lecturer in printmaking; Jonah Criswell (’05 painting), special instructor of painting; Molly Kaderka (’10 painting); Krystal Kuhn (’11 printmaking); Tom Matt, instructor in CPS; Lee Piechocki; and Rachel Rolon (’11 fiber and painting).
Haw Contemporary – Wilbur Niewald’s exhibition of “Still Life-Figure-Landscape” will be showing through April 5 at Haw Contemporary, 1600 Liberty St. Niewald is professor emeritus at KCAI where he studied, taught and, for 28 years, served as chair of the painting and printmaking departments. Pictured: “Pine Trees in Loose Park XIV,” Wilbur Niewald, 2012, oil on canvas, 26 inches by 32 inches.
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art – “Breath,” by Chris Gustin (’75 ceramics); “The Space Between,” work from Warren Rosser, chair of KCAI’s painting department; and “Slabs, Tubes & Holes” by Arnie Zimmerman (’77 ceramics) are showing concurrently through March 22 at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004 Baltimore Ave. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. Pictured: (top to bottom) #1111, Chris Gustin, 22 inches by 22 inches by 22 inches; “In Ascending Order,” Warren Rosser, 2012, oil paint on linen, 84 inches by 60 inches; Arnie Zimmerman, 2011, 31 inches by 16 inches by 16 inches.
Subterranean Gallery – Rachel Gregor (’12 painting) will showcase “Barred Meadows” through April 15 by appointment at Subterranean Gallery, 4124 Warwick Blvd., Apt. B. This is an exhibition of new oil paintings, exploring ideas of nostalgia and feminine identity. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Melaney Mitchell at Pictured: Untitled Self-Portrait No. 20, Rachel Gregor, 2013 oil on linen, 13 inches by 12 inches.
Todd Weiner Gallery – Hugh Merrill, professor of printmaking, and Jim Sajovic, professor of foundation are showing work in “The Gallery Show,” which runs through March 31 at the Todd Weiner Gallery, 115 W. 18th St.. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit

Calls for artists

The producers of the West 18th Street Fashion Show have announced the theme and date for their 14th annual event, scheduled for June 14: Ceremonial Summer. Anyone interested in participating can visit for more information. The application deadline is March 17.
The Whole Person is seeking artists for the Fourth Annual Expressions art show, featuring the artwork of people with disabilities.Their goal is to present diverse, high quality artwork that celebrates the strengths, talents and abilities of people with disabilities.Honorariums totaling $3,000 will be divided between all participating artists. Artists must be present during the art show from 5 to 9 p.m. May 2 at EventPort, 208 W. 19th St. Artists with disabilities who are interested in participating should apply by March 26. For more information, contact
Organizers of a First Friday exhibition and sale scheduled for April 4 in the Crossroads Arts District are looking for artists who would be willing to donate 5 to 10 percent of their proceeds to the Justice Project. The event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at 1801 McGee St. The Justice Project is a nonprofit human rights organization whose mission is to provide criminal justice and social service advocacy for women and transgender individuals identifying as female in poverty. For more information, contact Kristi Holsinger at or 913-980-4749.

Opportunities list

KCAI’s Academic Advising and Career Services office regularly publishes a creative opportunities and career listing with employment, freelance, volunteer and RFQ listings for students and alumni. Download the current creative opportunities list here. Download the current career list here.


Upcoming events at KCAI

Check out a listing of all upcoming events at the Kansas City Art Institute.