Renowned Chinese Artists Travel Around the World to Work at Kansas City Art Institute

3 August 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 3, 2015) — The Kansas City Art Institute is gaining international attention with a six-week international sculpture collective and residency program known as Studio Nong.

The program is a partnership that pairs four Chinese artists and educators from the GuangXi Arts Institute in China with four American counterparts, three of them from KCAI. Together, they will be creating life-size human sculptures, made out of 8,000 pounds of donated clay. 

Studio Nong 2015 builds upon an inaugural residency hosted in QinZhou, China, in the summer of 2013. The program was founded by Bangmin Nong, one of the visiting artists. Nong met his American counterparts, including KCAI faculty members Misty Gamble and Jessie Fisher, at a residency in Maine in 2010 and, after forming a connection, invited them to China. The residency develops an ongoing
cross-cultural exchange between educational institutions.

“To have these artists here practicing and exhibiting their craft is invaluable for students. It brings concepts to life instead of viewing slides in the classroom setting,” said Fisher. 

The Chinese artists’ residency at KCAI through Aug. 30, 2015 supports the college’s presence as a global leader in ceramics and allows student artists to learn from eastern practitioners. Six student assistants and a graduate studio manager participated in a competitive application process to secure their positions during Studio Nong.

“It’s an honor to host Studio Nong at the Kansas City Art Institute,” said Tony Jones, interim president. “We are proud to have best-in-class faculty who bring unique partnerships — like this one with the GuangXi Arts Institute — to our students.”

The Studio Nong artists are the first to utilize the newly renovated Richard J. Stern Ceramics Building at KCAI. The space boasts an upgraded main floor with a high-performing plaster lab and expanded glaze room; new soundproofing and ventilation equipment to reduce machine noise and improve air quality; and a loft-like mezzanine that houses a resource library and digital studio with 3-D printers.

The artists will do much more than practice their craft during their time together in the United States. The group will visit cultural, artistic and educational institutions in the region. After sculpting during the day, they’ll practice calligraphy in the evenings. There also will be a series of public events and workshops as part of the collective, including Master Classes Aug. 8 and 15 at Belger Crane Yard Studios, where their art works will be on display from Aug. 28 to Sept. 18. The works will be showcased in March 2016 before a national audience during The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) 50th anniversary conference, which will be held in Kansas City. The items will then be sold or donated to KCAI for fundraising at auction.

About the Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute, located in Kansas City, Mo., is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, fiber, filmmaking, graphic design, illustration, interactive arts, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. KCAI also offers a post-baccalaureate program in art education, as well as certificate programs in social practice and in Asian studies for students enrolled in the B.F.A. program. KCAI hosts “Current Perspectives,” a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at its H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes in art, design, multimedia studies and desktop publishing for children, youth and adults. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. For more information, visit KCAI on the Web at www.kcai.edu.