ARTNotes for April 6

April 6, 2015

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

Upcoming events

April 14: The ArtSounds performance series presents “Splines Reticulated,” featuring pianist Kari Johnson with composer Andrew Cole and video artist David Steele Overholt. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium, which is located in Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus. The performance is part of the ArtSounds series, a collaboration between KCAI and the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The event is free and open to the public.
April 16: Artist Amanda Lechner 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. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit
April 17: An opening preview for the 2015 Annual B.F.A. Exhibition will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI, 16 E. 43rd St. The exhibition features works by more than 120 B.F.A. candidates from KCAI. It runs from April 18 through May 16. A closing reception is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. May 15. The event is free and open to the public.
April 23: Artist Casey Whittier 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. For more information, visit

Steve Metzler, KCAI board of trustees president, passes away

Steve Metzler, a devoted supporter of KCAI and chair of its board of trustees, suddenly passed away March 24 from a massive stroke.
Metzler loved KCAI, and the KCAI community loved him back. Chairman of the KCAI board of trustees since 2012, he was passionate about the arts in all their myriad forms and appreciated the visual arts in particular.
Since joining the KCAI board of trustees in May 2008, he had given tirelessly of his time and talents, never more so than in the last several months. He served as interim president of the college when the college’s previous president retired in August and continued in that role until Tony Jones stepped in as interim president in December.
When asked why he came to KCAI as interim president, Jones said, “Because Steve Metzler called and asked me. Hardly a day has gone by, since I joined the college, when Steve hasn’t been physically on our campus. He was a thoughtful, kindly presence among us, and he is quite simply irreplaceable.
“All of us will miss him, but as we think of him and honor the example of his life, I believe all of us will strive to give our very best, with joy and enthusiasm, to the organizations and causes closest to our hearts.” Pictured: Steve Metzler. Photo by Kathy Disney.

IIDA 5K Design Dash to benefit Karen W. Gould Fiber Award Fund

The International Interior Design Association is hosting the Design Dash 5K/Tie Die Run and Walk 9 a.m. April 25 at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road. The event benefits KCAI’s Karen W. Gould Fiber Award Fund.
The Gould family created this award fund as a way to honor Karen’s contributions and influence on the design community in Kansas City and beyond. Karen’s affinity for fiber arts began when she was in her teens and continued as she developed her capabilities in batik, weaving and clothing design. Karen migrated her art career to interior design and produced many award winning projects featured in national publications.
Medals will be awarded to the fastest and best-dressed individuals and teams, so participants are encouraged to come dressed in tie-dye attire.
There will be free event t-shirt, post-race pancake breakfast and prizes for race participants. In addition, there will be a100-meter Kids Dash following the 5K for children under 10 years of age and a tie dying station for kids to dye their free race shirts.
To register, visit, or for more information, visit Pictured: Design Dash logo.

Seven sculpture students receive McKeown Special Projects Awards

The KCAI sculpture faculty has selected winners of the 2015 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 underwrites awards in sculpture and ceramics.
This year’s sculpture department recipients:
  • Ben Davis, senior; Emily Elhoffer, senior; and Brandon Kintzer, senior, each received funds for materials to create their B.F.A. Exhibition projects.
  • Aydan Harlow and Abby Langley are working on a collaborative project that addresses ideas of the body and flesh.
  • Elizabeth Kay Landes traveled to Chicago for research and museum visits.
  • Albert Owens, senior, purchased steel to construct a large-scale sculpture. 

Annual FUNd campaign begins April 27

Get ready for a fun week of activities beginning April 27, to build awareness and raise funds for the KCAI Annual FUNd campaign. A full set of activities is planned throughout the week. This year’s campaign chair, Amy Gross, says all employees will have the opportunity to support the Annual FUNd through payroll deduction or by participating in several activities. All activities are listed below:
  • Buy Your Birthday Off: Full-time staff members can gain an additional day off for a $25 donation.
  • Purchase May Day daisies for delivery on April 30
  • Tuesday, April 28 – Dress as your favorite faculty member
  • Wednesday, April 29 – Silent Auction in Vanderslice Reception Rooms
  • Friday, May 1 – Lunch on the Lawn: Weather permitting, we will brown bag it on the campus green. Bring your picnic blankets and a Frisbee. Additionally, there will be a kickball tournament, pin the ear on Van Gogh and a pie in the face game. 
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. 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 $1.6 million for the annual fund. The goal for the faculty and staff portion of the campaign is $7,000. The remainder will come from trustees, foundation grants, corporate partnerships, private support and alumni. Faculty and staff are advised to watch their email for additional information or contact Amy Gross, special events assistant in advancement at 816-802-3463 or

Longtime VP of communications Anne Canfield retires 

After 13 years, Anne Canfield, vice president of communications for KCAI, retired at the end of March. Friends, family and co-workers gathered for a reception to bid her farewell. Her favorite artist, Laura Berman, professor of printmaking, presented Canfield with a print as a going away gift. Pictured: (left) Anne Canfield and Laura Berman.

KCAI representatives to host workshops at ARTicipation Pop-Up Studio 

Nicole Emanuel (’95 painting); Adriane Herman, visiting lecturer in sculpture; Beniah Leuschke ('98 photo/new media); Lauren McGill (’14 printmaking), Hugh Merrill, professor of printmaking,and his Community Arts Class at KCAI; Michael Schonhoff, assistant curator, community outreach and exhibition management for the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI; Casey Whittier (’08 ceramics); and Joseph Williams (senior, sculpture) will be hosting a series of collaborative workshops during ARTicipation Pop-Up Studio 2015 at the Epsten Gallery, 5500 W. 123rd St., Overland Park, Kan. ARTicipation is an integrative exhibition program in which children and adults of all ages and abilities can participate in creative, fun and enlightening projects that bring people and ideas together. For more information, visit A few of the workshops included are:
Opening Day Palm Petal Workshop
1-4 p.m. April 12
Casey Whittier and art therapist Kaley Wajcman
Earth Day Workshop
2-4 p.m. April 22
Michael Schonhoff and art therapist Sherri Jacobs
Portrait-of-Self Workshop
1-3 p.m. April 23
Hugh Merrill with the KCAI Community Arts Class, Village Shalom Residents and art therapist Kaley Wajcman
Finding Your Spirit Creature
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 20
Nicole Emanuel, founder of InterUrban ArtHouse, Lauren McGill and art therapists Kaley Wajcman and Sherri Jacobs
Goods Riddance Workshop
1-3 p.m. May 31
Adriane Herman and art therapist Kaley Wajcman Intergenerational workshop for children, families and Village Shalom Residents, limited space: RSVP to reserve a spot.
Veterans Intergenerational Exchange
Time TBD June 7
Joe Williams and art therapist Sherri Jacobs

Seniors, send in those end-of-semester exhibitions

Seniors, if you have an end-of-the-semester exhibition you would like publicized in ARTNotes, send your information to Brian Spano at Be sure to include the dates and location of your exhibition. Mention if there’s an opening reception, and be sure to give a brief description of the exhibition. If you send an image of your work, include the name of the piece, year it was made, medium(s) and size. ARTNotes is published every other Monday during the academic year. The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday before publication. The next issue of ARTNotes will be published on April 20, and the deadline is April 15.

Student profile – Max Belanger

KCAI’s communications department is featuring student profiles in ARTNotes as a way for the KCAI community to get to know some of the students who attend the college. Both versions will appear on KCAI’s tumblr page at and in ARTNotes. If you would like to recommend a student for a profile, contact Brian Spano at or visit to fill out an online questionnaire.
Name: Max Belanger
Year/major: Senior/fiber and creative writing
Where are you from? Kansas City, Mo.
How did you pick KCAI? I picked KCAI for a variety of reasons. Aside from the scholarships I was offered, I appreciated the size of the school and the intimate environment that I picked up on when I first toured KCAI. I also loved the campus from the get go because of how beautiful it is and how close all of the departments are to each other. Some other schools that I toured were more scattered around their cities, and there wasn’t a place like our beautiful lawns to study outdoors. I also chose KCAI because I knew that I wanted a program where I could focus on writing in addition to my studio work.
What do you like about studying at KCAI? I like the structure of our B.F.A. program here. Everyone starts from the beginning in foundation and learns the fundamentals of all art and design while being pushed to just think creatively and constantly be working. Then we narrow in on a department and spend the sophomore year primarily learning the techniques involved in that discipline. Junior year is about applying those techniques to individual interests, and senior year is about really refining an artistic voice and beginning to get out in the world as an emerging artist. Other programs I looked at focused so much on being very conceptual right off the bat, and I wanted a program where I could just work a ton and then have enough evidence to go back and figure out what it is that I’m saying through my work.
What do you like best about your major? I love how interdisciplinary fiber is. I originally switched into fiber from animation my sophomore year planning on doing stop-motion fabrication, but the more I experienced all of the different interests within our department, the more I began to realize what I really wanted to do. In fiber, our collective interests range from video work, photography, performance art, fashion design, costume, to sculpture, but it all begins with a study of traditional fiber practices like weaving, sewing and dyeing in the sophomore year. With creative writing, I love the great variety of classes to take with so many incredible professors. All of them are published writers themselves and have so much to teach. I’ve taken lots of different classes including memoir writing with Anne Boyer, a fiction workshop with Cyrus Console and the short story with Phyllis Moore. I've never been challenged as much with my writing, and I’ve learned so much during the past couple years about how to really capture and show a story.
Who or what inspires you? My friends and professors here at KCAI. Theatrical costume and set design, David Lynch films, Wes Anderson films, really bad horror films, Royal de Luxe, American Horror Story, Hudson River School paintings, sunsets, large bodies of water, road trips, big cities, meeting new people from different backgrounds and hearing their stories and Beyonce.
What do you like best about Kansas City? I love the attitude of Kansas City. We’re a small city and a very proud city, but we don’t feel like we have anything to prove because we already have such a rich history and a vibrant community. Kansas City doesn’t want to be and never will be L.A. or New York, and everyone here is pretty chill about it. People are nicer here. People are more relaxed.
Favorite animal? Large dogs
Favorite food? Pizza
Favorite app? Spotify
Favorite artist? Tied between Mike Kelley, Carrie Mae Weems, Nick Cave and Matthew Barney
Something you always carry: A book
What book are you reading? Frankenstein
Best advice you ever got? To just keep working. Sometimes I’ll reach a point when I really don’t know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, and focusing on those negatives is so detrimental. The best advice I’ve received from artists I respect quite a bit is to power through those moments and focus on the work itself, because we are saying things even if we don’t know what they are right away. The recognition of art as a form of language itself rather than an illustration of it was a big turning point for me.
Describe a recent triumph: I spent the past semester at the New York Studio Residency Program (which is an incredible program and I cannot encourage any student enough to pursue that opportunity) where we were given a studio space in Brooklyn and essentially told to go. Make work. Be an artist in one of the main centers of the art world and one of the most expensive cities in the country at that. And that was very overwhelming at first, and I struggled with the “staring at a blank wall” complex for a while. But I powered through, and made a lot of new, experimental work for me, and by the end of the semester I found that I was communicating almost exactly what I was going for.
Pictured: (top) Max Belanger; (bottom) Untitled playset, Max Belanger.

Student updates 

Annabell Penelope Lee (senior, painting), Lauren Ventura (senior, fiber and art history) of A Lunar Venture Handmade and Jen Wilkinson (’14 ceramics) are opening a pop-up shop called “Pom Pom” from noon to 4 p.m. April 11 and April 18 at Front/Space, 217 W. 18th St. Pictured: Promotional card for the pop-up shop “Pom Pom.”

Alumni updates

Ariel Bowman (’11 ceramics) has a solo exhibition entitled “A Magnificent Migration” running through May 1 in University Gallery Porter Hall at Pittsburg State University.
Paul Shortt (’09 painting) is showing work in two separate exhibitions, “Large Child: Old School” and “Professional Amateurs.” “Large Child: Old School,” open through April 28 at Project Plase in Baltimore, is an offering of new photos and videos at a former elementary school that will become apartments for the homeless. The exhibition explores home and homelessness through various perspectives. “Professional Amateurs” is open April 18 through June 27 at Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Va. It presents photos, videos and interactive workstations where participants learn how to move from amateur to professional in any career field, regardless of whether that profession exists. Pictured: Installation image from Paul Shortt’s “Large Child:” Old School” exhibition.
Dennis Smith (’73 ceramics) was honored with the naming of the Dennis Smith Studio, a 2,200 sq. ft. addition to the existing Edith McAllister Ceramic Building at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio this past February. Smith, who studied under Ken Ferguson, Victor Babu and Jacqueline Rice from 1969 to 1973, will be retiring in August and will also be honored with a retrospective exhibition, “Dennis Smith and Friends,” in November at the Russell Hill Rogers Gallery on the campus of SSA. The retrospective will include 14 invited artists that Smith has known and respected during his 39 years at the school. For more information about Smith, visit Pictured: Exterior of the Dennis Smith Studio at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio.

Faculty updates

Two KCAI faculty members have received honors from the Charlotte Street Foundation. Jill Downen, assistant professor of sculpture was awarded a Visual Artist Award Fellow. She will receive an unrestricted cash award of $10,000. Cory Imig, lecturer in KCAI’s fiber department, has been selected as the Charlotte Street resident of the Art Omi International Artists Residency program in summer 2015. Imig will attend this four-week residency in upstate New York as one of 30 artists from around the world. Raechell Smith, director of the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI, served on the Visual Artist Awards panel. She will curate the work by the Visual Artist Awards Fellows for the 2015 Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards Exhibition opening Oct. 23 at the Artspace. Pictured: “Beauty Mark,” Jill Downen, 2015.
Misty Gamble, assistant professor of foundation, showed work in the 2015 NCECA Biennial exhibition March 25-28 in Providence, R.I. She gave a demo titled “The Human Figure: Proportion and the Maquette.” During the demo, she demonstrated the making of a proportionally ideal figure study based on an eight-head system.
CROSSOVER, a collaborative international printmaking project created by Miguel Rivera, associate professor and chair of printmaking at KCAI, and Cara Jaye, runs through May 16 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. For more information, visit

Local KCAI-related exhibitions

Belger Crane Yard Gallery – Lauren Mabry (’07 ceramics) is showing work in “Passages” through April 11 at Belger Crane Yard Gallery, 2011 Tracy Ave. The exhibition of painterly sculptures highlights passages in surface, color and composition. Pictured: “Spilling Pipe,” Lauren Mabry, 2014, earthenware, 15 inches by 15 inches by 8 inches.
Paragraph and Project Space Galleries – “1 Infinite Loop” is open through May 2 at the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Paragraph and Project Space Galleries 21 and 23 E. 12th St. The exhibition, curated by Jeff Eaton (’07 photography and art history) lecturer of photography, features several KCAI alums, including Shenequa Brooks (’14 fiber), Hannah Carr (’14 fiber), Mariah Gillespie (’14 fiber), Joey Watson (’14 ceramics), Jennifer Wilkinson (’14 ceramics) and Annie Woodfill (’11 painting). Exhibiting artists will be available for a walkthrough and artist commentary at 2 p.m. April 25 as part of the Open Studios weekend. Pictured: “Tribe Grouping,” Joe Watson, Zig-Zag Straw, Stirrup Vessel, Ultra Cup.
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art – Jane Booth (attended); Anne Austin Pearce (attended); Mary Ann Strandell, former KCAI faculty member from 1997-1999; and Caleb Taylor (special instructor in foundation) are among the artists showing work in the exhibition entitled “In Good Company” running through May 23 at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004, Baltimore Ave. Pictured: “Constructively Place I (After FVB),” Caleb Taylor, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 66 inches by 60 inches.
Todd Weiner Gallery – Jim Sajovic, professor of foundation, is showing work in “Besame…” through April 25 at 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.

Calls for artists

Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., is seeking visual artists for P.E.O. Foundation Art Gallery exhibitions for the 2015-2016 academic year. A small honorarium is provided for artists whose work is selected. The college provides insurance on the works and does not charge a commission on sales. Interested artists should email a link to an online portfolio or up to 10 images to Kris Korb, gallery curator, at, along with a resume, by April 20. For information about the college, visit
The Penn Valley Park Plein Air Fest is looking for artists to compete in a four-day painting competition May 13-16. For more information about the event, visit or contact Beth McCarthy at

Opportunities list 

KCAI’s Academic Advising and Career Services office 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 job and career opportunities list here.


Upcoming events at KCAI

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