ARTNotes for May 5

May 5, 2014


To submit information for upcoming issues or to subscribe, contact Brian Spano, communications manager, at or 816-802-3532.

Upcoming events

May 9-11: KCAI’s “End-of-semester student exhibition and sale,” showcasing contemporary student artwork, will take place May 9-11. The exhibition and sale features two- and three-dimensional work by students in the KCAI departments of ceramics, digital filmmaking, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Exhibition and sale hours are 5 to 7 p.m. May 9; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 10; and noon to 5 p.m. May 11. Students will display their pieces in their studio departments located throughout the campus. For a map of KCAI, visit For more information, call 816-802-3423.
Through May 17: The “2014 Annual B.F.A. Exhibition” is showing at the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI, 16 E. 43rd St. The exhibition features works by more than 130 B.F.A. candidates from KCAI majoring in animation, art history, ceramics, creative writing, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. A closing reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. May 16. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, call 816-561-5563.

Two KCAI students receive $15,000 Windgate Fellowships

Two KCAI students, Shenequa Brooks (senior, fiber) and Melanie Sherman (senior, ceramics), have won 2014 Windgate Fellowships. The $15,000 fellowships are awarded annually to 10 senior students, nationwide, working in the field of craft. The fellowship program is supported and administered by the Center for Creativity, Craft and Design, based in Asheville, N.C.
Brooks will use her fellowship to travel to the Volta region in Ghana to study with master weaver Sebastian Dayi in Afiadenyigba and to learn about traditional Ghanaian textiles. She also will travel to Atlanta to attend the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show and the Madam C.J. Walker Museum to research contemporary hairstyles for African American women.
Sherman will use her fellowship to travel to Asia, where she will explore the origins of porcelain, evaluating the qualities of Asian wares and studying the commonly used materials, designs and production techniques of craftsmen in Japan and China. She also will participate in a five-week residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen.
This is the second time a KCAI ceramics major has won the Windgate Fellowship and the third such fellowship for a student from the KCAI fiber department. Sasha Alexandra (’13 ceramics) received the fellowship last year, and previous recipients from the fiber department include Yulie Urano (’11 fiber) and Bryn Hughes (’06 fiber). Pictured: (top) “Hairdress,” Shenequa Brooks, 2013 and “Resteesen,” Melanie Sherman, 2013, porcelain with mixed materials.

KCAI celebrates Annual FUNd campaign with week of fun activities

During the week of April 28, KCAI’s faculty and staff enjoyed a several fun activities in support of the schools annual FUNd campaign. Activities included:
  • Orange Day: KCAI staff wore orange to support the school.
  • Lunch on the Lawn Day: Everyone was invited to brown bag it on the campus green.
  • May Day Celebration: The committee sold daisies throughout May 1 for $1 each and delivered them to friends and campus colleagues on May Day.
  • KCAI Quest, a scavenger hunt: This was an opportunity to visit and photograph parts of campus that may not be normally visited. Prizes were awarded.
  • Silent Auction of gift baskets and art: Several items went up for bid during a silent auction at the end of the week.
The KCAI annual fund is a general operating fund the school uses to address the funding gap between what students pay for tuition and actual costs. This year, this gap amounts to $5,500 per student. The annual fund offsets expenses that include general scholarships, equipment needs, technology and facility upgrades, faculty and staff salary and benefit expenses and much more. This year the advancement department is charged with raising $1.4 million for the annual fund. The goal for faculty and staff portion of the campaign is $8,000. The remainder will come from trustees, foundation grants, corporate partnerships, private support and alumni. Pictured: (top photo, upper left, clockwise), Evonne Briones, Paige, Glenn, Caitlin Knoll, Jerry Valet, John Fleshman, Kendell Harbin, Ben Harle, Katy McRoberts, Tiffany Gravis, Lori Baer, Darci Webster; (bottom photo) Jessica Weast, Jan Fehr, Bert Bowles and Denise Haymaker.

Illustration students to test-drive cardboard vehicles May 7

Illustration students will participate in an annual “rail day” event from 8 to 11 a.m. May 7, in which they will ride cardboard vehicles down an 80-foot rail in the center of the campus green. In previous years, the vehicles have taken the shape of an ice cream cone, an alligator, a rocket ship and a grasshopper, among other zany concepts. The rail consists of 2-inch-by-4-inch boards elevated about 18 inches off the ground. The vehicle must withstand their weight and move forward with help from a team of two other students for balance. The route slopes downhill from Vanderslice Hall toward the Student Living Center. The students are in Professor Steve Mayse’s “Image and Form Exploration” class, which Mayse says engages students in “discovery, invention, exploration and problem solving.” The students are charged with making a vehicle that will roll down the rail with them in it or on it, and they can only use cardboard and glue to make it. Mayse predicts the students will test more than two dozen vehicles this year. Pictured: A snapshot from a previous year’s rail project.

KCAI ranked #6 among top 20 animation programs in Midwest has ranked KCAI sixth among the top 20 animation and game design schools throughout the Midwest. The Midwest region was defined as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Hundreds of schools in the U.S. that offer programs geared toward animation were considered. Selection criteria included:
  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program and faculty
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness
  • Geographic location

CPS instructor receives Excellence in Education award

Joel Jenkins, an instructor for KCAI’s Continuing and Professional Studies, received an Excellence in Education award from the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce for his work in the CPS Multimedia Certificate Program. “Joel brings a wealth of professional experience to our program,” said Tabitha Schmidt, director of CPS. “In class, he successfully emphasizes technical knowledge and storytelling. Students value Joel’s patience, expertise and individualized teaching style.” Jenkins teaches Fundamentals & Applied Video Editing, Fundamentals of 2-D & 3-D Animation and Fundamentals of Video Motion Graphics. Enrollment for Jenkins’ summer classes is currently open. For more information, visit Pictured: Joel Jenkins.

Printmakers to discuss variety of issues in May 10 public forum

What is it like to be a printmaking student at KCAI? What are the struggles and issues facing students and emerging artists? Can you describe the creative process? Laura Berman, associate professor of printmaking, will moderate a panel of KCAI printmaking students and recent alumni discussing these and other questions from 2 to 4 p.m. May 10 in the Lens 2 Presentation Room at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The event is sponsored by the Print Society of the museum. In addition to Berman, participants will include Sara Haug (sophomore, printmaking), Emmett Merrill (junior, printmaking), Daiana Oneto (junior, printmaking), Kelsey Van Horn (senior, printmaking), Robert Howsare (’09 printmaking) and Adriana Luna (‘11 printmaking). The event is free to members of the Print Society and KCAI (and other) students; admission is $10 for non-members. To RSVP to the event, contact Beth Lurey, print curator, at 816-751-1281 or at

Student updates

Lauren McGill (senior, printmaking) designed the Emmanuel Community Center Book Project. She provided weekly art and creative writing sessions with students at the center. These sessions allowed her to work as a facilitator and anthropologist to collect information about the participants’ lives, loves, fears and joys. Each week the group participated in a creative activity geared toward a tangible expression of their personal stories. The visual and written information collected from these activities was curated into a published book, given to each of the children involved. The Community Center and book will be featured on the Chameleon Arts and Youth Development website as a process for duplication by other artists and youth development agencies. McGill was awarded a Warwick Scholars grant from KCAI to help publish the book. Chameleon will continue to work closely with supporters to fund McGill’s work with the community center, as well as the publication and other creative aspects of the overall project. Pictured: Lauren McGill.

Alumni updates

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts has awarded a grant to Alex Elmestad (’07 interdisciplinary arts) and Sean Starowtiz (’10 interdisciplinary arts) for “Bread for Work,” an ongoing project developed by Elmestad and Starowitz. The programming infrastructure in “Bread for Work” evolves around bread being used as barter tokens in the creative economy. The alternative human resources department works with a to-be-determined space to act as a hub for its activities. At the space, bread tokens (wheat pennies) are offered to the public in exchange for goods or services–similar to a time bank–but with “Bread for Work,” the project also provides the public with substantial nourishment for their work.
Work by Wayne Wilkes (’95 illustration) will be shown in “Literature, Libations & Landmarks.” Presented by the Prairie Village Arts Council, the exhibition will be on display through May 30 at R.G. Endres Gallery, 7700 Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kan. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A wine and cheese reception for Wilkes will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the Prairie Village Municipal Offices at the same address. Pictured: “Vanderslice Hall,” Wayne Wilkes, oil on canvas, 36 inches by 36 inches.

Faculty updates

Jill Downen, assistant professor of sculpture, exhibited a new site-specific installation titled “Alignment” at American University Museum in Washington D.C. The installation was part of a group exhibition entitled “Sightlines,” curated by Tim Doud. In conjunction with the exhibition, Downen was a visiting artist for the spring 2014 semester, presented a public lecture about her art and worked with graduate students in a seminar and studio visit format. Pictured: “Alignment,” Jill Dowen, 2014, plaster, polystyrene, gold, plumb bob, dimensions vary.
Jessie Fisher, associate professor of painting, is taking part in the group exhibition “Party Lines,” running May 11-26 at Smart Clothes Gallery in New York. She is a guest of the current graduating M.F.A. class from the University of Iowa. The class invited distinguished alumni to celebrate the breadth of the program.
Misty Gamble, assistant professor of foundation, will teach a figurative sculpture workshop June 8-21 in Rome. Entitled “Reverie, Rome and the Self-Referential Bust,” the workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to work in a shared studio and create a once-fired clay sculpture that explores different hand-building techniques and surface treatments. The workshop also will focus on academic proportions versus expressive and ideal representation. For details or to enroll, visit!summer-fall-2014-workshops/c9gs. Pictured: Misty Gamble.

Senior exhibitions

Johanna Brooks (senior, digital filmmaking) is exhibiting her senior show “Speculum,” from 6 to 9 p.m. May 9 and noon to 4 p.m. May 10 at Vacant Farm, 3333 Roanoke Road. Pictured: Still from Johanna Brooks show “Speculum.”

Calls for artists

Charlotte Street Foundation is seeking applications from visual artists, performing artists and writers interested in being considered for its Urban Culture Project Studio Residency Program. Applications are due May 12 for yearlong studio residency terms September 2014-2015. Applications will be accepted exclusively through The Studio Residency Program provides free studio and rehearsal spaces to young, emerging and/or already accomplished artists in need of space in which to create and develop their creative processes, professional practices and peer networks.
The city of Mission, Kan., is seeking artists to participate in Artwalk June 13, July 11 and Aug. 8. There is a $20 registration fee with no commission on sales. The Artwalk is a family event involving local artists and is hosted in conjunction with small businesses in downtown Mission. Registration deadlines are June 6, July 4 and Aug. 1. For details, visit
The Penn Valley Park Plein Air Fest, May 7-10, is attracting artists from across the region to partake in a four-day paint-off and capture the park in plein air while competing for $4,000 in prize money. The competition will conclude with a ticketed reception and auction to award prizes and offer the art for sale. Registration fee of $60 includes Paint Off and all Quick Paints. In addition, artists can sign up for a three-day workshop led by renowned plein air artist Phil Starke. For more information about the event, visit

Local KCAI-related exhibitions

Belger Crane Yard Studios – “By and Large,” an exhibition of work by John Balistreri (’86 ceramics), runs through Aug. 16 at Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy Ave. It includes Balistreri’s newest large-scale ceramic sculptures, which were created during a two-and-one-half-year period at the Jun Kaneko studio in Omaha, Neb. Pictured: “Signal,” John Balistreri, 2014, stoneware with slip and glaze, 79 inches by 48 inches by 22 inches.
Haw Contemporary – Solo exhibitions by two KCAI faculty members — James Brinsfield and Laura Berman — are on display at Haw Contemporary, 1600 Liberty St. “Self-Titled” by Brinsfield, a lecturer in the KCAI painting program, investigates the emotional, gestural work of painters such as Jackson Pollock. Stars were the inspiration for “Pulsar,” an exhibition by Berman, associate professor of printmaking. Both exhibitions continue through May 24. Pictured: “Starburst 5,” Laura Berman, 2013, monoprint, 22 inches by 22 inches.
Kemper at the Crossroads – Ricky Allman (attended); Corey Antis, assistant professor of painting; Miki Baird, former adjunct professor of sculpture; Cary Esser, professor and chair of ceramics; Rashawn Griffin, assistant professor sculpture; Diana Heise, assistant professor of digital filmmaking; and Linda Lighton (’89 sculpture) are participating in “The Center is a Moving Target,” an exhibition highlighting artists whose evolving practice and works speak to the impact of and meaningful shifts in the term “regionalism” in contemporary art. Work can be viewed through Aug. 1 at Kemper at the Crossroads, 33 W. 19th St.
La Esquina – Marie Bannerot McInerney, assistant professor of fiber, and Peregrine Honig (attended) are presenting work in the exhibition “The Stench of Rotting Flowers,” through June 6 at La Esquina, 1000 W. 25 St. The exhibition features 13 contemporary artists from throughout the nation whose artworks address feelings of sorrow, grief and heartbreak. McInerney and Honig will participate in a gallery talk from 2 to 4 p.m. May 17. Danny Orendorff, who serves as a visiting lecturer in KCAI’s liberal arts department, curated the exhibition. Pictured: Poster for “The Stench of Rotting Flowers.”
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center – Jessie Fisher, associate professor of painting, and Scott Seebart, lecturer in painting and ceramics, are part of a 16-member collective, working under the name Dialoghi dell’Arte, or A Discourse on Art. The Collective will exhibit recent work in an international tour that will take these artists through the United States, China and Italy. The group also includes Martha Armstrong who once taught at KCAI as a rising artist. Their work can be viewed in an exhibition June 6-28 at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore St.; the show is entitled “Dialoghi dell'Arte: Perception and Motif.” An opening reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. June 6. Pictured: (top) “Nude with Red Flower – Night Painting,” Jessie Fisher, 2013, oil on linen, 36 inches by 30 inches and “DaVinci,” Scott Seebart, 2014, oil on linen mounted on panel, 20 inches by 16 inches.
Red Star Studios – “Taming Nature,” a group exhibition at Red Star Studios at Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut St., is organized by KCAI assistant professor Paul Donnelly and includes work by more than 20 national artists. The exhibition, running through June 28, includes works by: Guy Michael Davis (’03 ceramics), Ryan Fletcher (’10 ceramics), Meredith Host (’01 ceramics), Brad Johnson (’94 ceramics), Matthew Jorgenson (’10 ceramics), Katie Parker (’03 ceramics), Daniel Teran (’07 ceramics) and Donnelly, who teaches in the KCAI ceramics program. Pictured: “Gangster Paradise,” Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, porcelain, paper, wood, 48 inches by 24 inches by 7 inches.
Subterranean Gallery – Ryan Shrum (senior, fiber) has an exhibition running through May 30 at Subterranean Gallery, 4124 Warwick Blvd. The show is entitled “HOME // SPACE.” For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Melaney Mitchell at Pictured: Postcard for Ryan Shrum’s exhibition “HOME // SPACE.”
Truman Medical Center – KCAI trustee Herb Kohn is showing a collection of his photographs, featuring images taken when he visitedBhutan and France. Artwork will be displayed on the Healing Arts Bridge at Truman Medical Center, 2310 Holmes Road. The show runs through June 30. Parking is available in the Pavilion lot located on 23rd Street between Charlotte and Campbell streets. Pictured: “Clocktower,” Herb Kohn.

Opportunities list

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


Upcoming events at KCAI

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