ARTNotes for March 5

March 5, 2012

To submit information for upcoming issues or to subscribe, contact Cat Szalkowski, communications assistant, at or 816-802-3458.

Calendar of events 

Feb. 10-March 31: “On Watch” is on view at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, 16 E. 43rd St. The exhibition explores strategies of surveillance in contemporary art and culture in the works of five international artists and a pioneering open-source project team. Raechell Smith, director of the Artspace, was recently interviewed about the exhibition on KCPT’s The Local Show. To see the interview, visit For more information, visit
March 2-April 21: “Construction in Structure” is on view at City Arts Project, 2015 Campbell St. The exhibition is part of the KCAI Career Services Access Alumni Events. The show features student work that was selected by a panel of alumni curators. For more information, contact Calder Kamin, career services assistant, at
March 10-11: The Greater Kansas City Japanese Film Festival, a two-day event, will take place at the Kansas City Art Institute and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The film festival is presented in partnership by KCAI and Heartland Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association and will include short documentary films about the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan. For more information, contact Jan Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, at

Commentary on teen trend by KCAI student shown on “TODAY” show

“I just wanna know if I’m pretty,” Sophie Roessler (senior, painting) asks in a YouTube video that has gone viral and appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” show recently. In a statement posted with the video, Roessler said she created the piece as a social experiment and as a commentary on the trend of teen girls seeking approval through YouTube videos. Roessler said the piece is “about the struggles a girl transitioning into womanhood must go through” and is intended to “express some of the feelings associated with this uncertain period of life.” A story about the video also aired on her hometown Fox station in Houston, and she was recently interviewed by art critic Alice Thorson at The Kansas City Star. A link to the video is posted along with the Star interview at Pictured: A video still from “Am I Pretty?” Sophia Roessler, 2012.

KCAI alumni and students win big at Addy Awards


The American Advertising Federation’s 2012 Addy Award winners have been announced and more than half a dozen KCAI alumni and a KCAI student have taken home awards. KCAI graphic design alumni who won gold at this year’s Addys include Laura Berglund (’10) for Design Ranch’s KU Kansas Medicine Magazine; Josh Eithun (’10) for VML's Bolle for Bushnell website; Lance Flores (’11), who received four gold awards and Best of Campaign for Barkley’s Holiday Dozen Days of Doughnuts; Garrett Fuselier (’08), who won six gold awards and Best of Show for T2’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts grand opening; Josh Lambert (’10) for Liquid 9’s A7 Awards Show Intro; Frankie Oviedo (’04) for Liquid 9’s Tech N9ne music video; and Matt Urlaub (’10) for VML’s San Diego Zoo kids website. Ivan Alonso (junior, graphic design) received a gold award in the sales promotion/packaging student category for his design for Shea Moisture Beard Scrub. Pictured: Shea Moisture Beard Scrub packaging by Ivan Alonso (junior, graphic design).

McKeown Special Project Award recipients named

Five KCAI ceramics students were recently awarded McKeown Special Project Awards. The program was created and is funded by KCAI alumni Byron McKeown (’60 design) and Deanne McKeown (’60 painting) and is designed to provide funding for students to realize an artistic endeavor or research project. Recipients describe the way they will use their awards in upcoming projects. Shae Bishop (senior) will use the award to have silk-screened decals produced for application to tiled and fabric clothing constructions. Ben Harle (senior) will use his award to purchase equipment for incorporating light and water elements into his mixed media installations. Hank Hafkemeyer (senior) will purchase machine-able foam and wax materials for milling digitally generated forms to create a ceramic castings prototype. Hafkemeyer also will procure hydrographic film and a chemical activator for coating dimensional forms with digital images. Katie Long (senior) will purchase decal sheets that will be used to collage designs on pottery forms. Will Preman (senior) will purchase a vinyl plotter to produce templates to use in developing new surface treatments for ceramic sculptures. Pictured: “♢♢♢♢♢,” Shae Bishop, 2011, ceramic, fiber and nichrome wire.

Trustee and sculpture students collaborate on prop for new play

When KCAI trustee Allan Gray was in the final stages of producing a play that premiered Feb. 24-25 at the Gem Theater, he turned to sculpture chair Michael Wickerson and Rob Frankhouse (junior, sculpture) to create a replica of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The play told the story of the late U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan, who received the medal in 1994. The one-woman show was written and performed by Saundra McClain. 

Entitled “Barbara Jordan: A Rendezvous with Destiny,” the play was the first to be presented by the Kansas City Theater Foundation, which Gray has organized. In addition to serving on the KCAI board of trustees, he is a Lee’s Summit city councilman and chair of the board of directors of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City. The play is expected to tour the country during the next year with the medal created at KCAI.

For more information about the play, visit

Student gallery space opens at The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

A Kansas City Art Institute student gallery, Undergrads Underground, is being launched at the The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in partnership with the educational outreach and exhibition committee at KCAI. Exhibitions will be one month long, opening on First Fridays. The first exhibition in the newly renovated space, “What Will Be,” is now on view through March 31. The exhibition features work by ceramics department seniors Emily Connell, Hank Hafkemeyer, Ben Harle and Will Preman. Works include video, photography and mixed-media installation. For more information about the exhibit, visit For more information about Undergrads Underground, contact Misty Gamble, special instructor in the School of the Foundation Year, at Pictured: “Sweetscape,” Will Preman, 2011, mixed media.

KCAI’s director of safety and security presents at ASIS luncheon

Bob Bayless, director of safety and security at KCAI, was a guest speaker at the Greater Kansas City ASIS International chapter luncheon March 1. Bayless also is on the faculty of Park University and Metropolitan Community Colleges and has served as a POST certified instructor for the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy and St. Louis Police Academy. He served for nine years as the director of public safety for the City of Riverside and for 24 years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

KCAI students and alumni help organize Whoop Dee Doo Fundraiser

“A goo-goo-ga-ga Gala,” Whoop Dee Doo's second annual gala fundraiser, will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. March 30 at Lathrop & Gage, 2345 Grand Blvd. The gala will feature a live show and telethon, games and prizes. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Organizers include Clair Bryant (junior, photography), El Campbell (junior, photography), Madeline Gallucci (senior, printmaking), Megan Mantia (’06 printmaking and art history), Katy McRoberts (senior, fiber), Natalie Myers (’03 painting), Sophie Roessler (senior, printmaking and creative writing), Stuart Smith (’11 painting), Jaimie Warren (’02 printmaking) and Erin Jones Zona (’02 printmaking). For more information, visit or contact Megan Mantia at Pictured: Whoop Dee Doo gala ad, Rachel Helm and Erin Jones.

Faculty updates

Cyrus Console, who teaches creative writing at KCAI, spoke Feb. 22 at Brooklyn College in New York. The Wolfe Institute for the Humanities in cooperation with the English department and the M.F.A. Intergenre Reading Series presented Console and playwright Erin Courtney. Console is the author of “The Odicy” and “Brief Under Water.” The Los Angeles Review of Books recently published an interview between Console and Ben Lerner in which they discuss both books and how his work relates to growing up in Topeka, Kan. To read the interview, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” visit Pictured: “The Odicy,” by Cyrus Console, 2011.

John Ferry, assistant professor and chair of the illustration department, recently had work chosen for “Small Works,” Harper College’s 35th annual national juried art exhibition. Ferry’s work was among 20 pieces that were selected from 888 images submitted by 310 artists.  A reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 12 in the Art Exhibition Space in the New Student Services and Art Center at Harper College in Palatine, Ill. For more information, contact Margaret Buchen, Harper College National Art Exhibition art curator, at Pictured: “ARTSpace #2,” John Ferry, 2011, oil on canvas, 9 inches by 12 inches.

Hugh Merrill, professor of printmaking, spoke March 2 at the annual convention of the National Art Educators Association in New York. His appearance was part of a presentation on “America: Now and Here.” Other speakers included Eric Fischl and Melissa Norman, followed by Dorothy Dunn, Josie Mai and Merrill discussing community art actions and community relations.

Jordan Stempleman’s new collection of poetry, “No, Not Today,” is now available for pre-order through Magic Helicpoter Press Stempleman teaches creative writing at KCAI. Ryan MacDonald (’08 painting and creative writing) created a trailer for the book and can be seen at Pictured: “No, Not Today” by Jordan Stempleman, 2012.

Alumni updates

Installation work by Justin Stewart (’03 ceramics) is featured in four upcoming exhibitions in New York. “Distorting (A Messiah Project, 13c)” opens March 10 at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn, NY. The installation will be on view through May 5. “Distorting (A Messiah Project, 14c)” opens March 23 at the 37th Street Chashama Space in New York. The installation will function as a short-term extension of the larger installation on display at the Invisible Dog Art Center and will be on view through April 1. For more information, including gallery hours, visit “Illuminating Data” will be on view March 14 through April 19 atThe College of New Jersey Art Gallery in Ewing. “(Un)Folding Patterns,”a group exhibition curated by Ombretta Agró Andruff, will be on view May 20 through July 22 atDorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, NY. For more information, visit Pictured: "System of Knowing 07 (fork)," Justin Stewart, 2010, teflon o-rings, zip ties, pencil and ink on paper/wood and paint.

Calls for artists

The H&R Block Artspace at KCAI announces a call for artist applications to participate in the 2012 Visiting Critic and Curator Program. The program invites a nationally recognized critic or curator to select a group of Kansas City artists for individual studio visits and discussions. The 2012 visiting critic and curator is Dean Daderko, curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Studio visits for this spring’s program are scheduled for April 17-19. Complete applications must be received by March 17. Guidelines and online submission information is available at

The producers of the seventh Annual Fashion for a Cause event are looking for 20 student volunteers from the fiber department to assist as model dressers backstage during this year’s runway show. The event will take place at 8 p.m. April 27at The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Each volunteer will be assigned a model and will be responsible for assisting him or her with chosen outfits. Giuliana Rancic, host of E! News and Fashion Police, will emcee this year and T2 productions is involved in creating runway staging. For more information or if interested, email Charlotte Matthews, special events manager at the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation, at

Applications for the 12th annual West 18th Street Fashion Show are now being accepted. This year’s theme is “Triple Crown Summer,” and applicants are invited to show how they will translate the theme to the runway. Applicants must submit a one-page resume; a minimum of three printed photographs of previous, original work; a professional, inspired vision of the proposed collection, including five sketches and a written or visual explanation of how designs will interpret the show’s theme; and a $30 registration fee. All applications are due March 18. Submitted materials must be no larger than 12 inches by 15 inches. Submit applications to: Call for artists, West 18th Street Fashion Show c/o Birdies, 116 W. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108. For more information, visit

The Pollack-Krasner Foundation calls for visual artist grant applications. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s dual criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and demonstrable financial need, professional, personal or both. The Foundation accepts applications throughout the year from painters, sculptors and artists who work on paper, including printmakers. There are no deadlines. For more information, visit

Local KCAI-related exhibitions

Belger Arts Center – “The Mind’s Eye: Landscapes from the Belger Collection” is on view through April 6 at the Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut St. The exhibition features 2-D and 3-D work in painting, photography and ceramic sculpture and pottery. Artists featured in the show include Cary Esser (’78 ceramics), professor and chair of ceramics; Gary Sutton, professor of photography; and Jessica Brandl (’06 ceramics and art history), lecturer in the ceramics department. Visit for more information. Pictured: “Topo 10,” Cary Esser, 2010, glazed earthenware, transfer, poplar, steel.

City Arts Projects – “Construction in Structure,” an exhibition of student work selected by a panel of KCAI alumni, is now on display through April 21. The exhibit is a part of the KCAI Career Services Access Alumni Events. A reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. April 6. The alumni curator panel includes Matt Bollinger (’03 painting), Erika Hanson (’06 fiber), Justin Gainan (’04 fiber), Amelia Ishmael (’04 photo/new media) (’09 art history) and Jason Lips (’02 ceramics). Exhibiting students include Andrew Ordonez (junior, painting), Ashely Ariel Proski (junior, photography), Ben Harle (senior, ceramics and art history), Bradley Kyle Lewis (senior, painting and art history), Caranne Camerena (senior, painting), Emily Connell (senior, ceramics), Fredrick Vorder-Bruegge (junior, painting), Hank Hafkemeyer (senior, ceramics), Julian Chams (senior, painting), Julian Stropes (sophomore, painting), Katy McRoberts (senior, fiber and CASL), Lauren Sobchak (junior, fiber and CASL), Madeline Gallucci (senior, printmaking), Maret Miller (junior, ceramics), Marianne Laury (senior, sculpture and CASL), Ashley Lugo (senior, fiber), Molly Ryan (junior, sculpture) and Zachary Miley (junior, illustration). City Arts Project is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information, visit Pictured: “Hungarian Bible,” Emily Connell, 2011, slip and burnt ashes of a book, 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches by 5 inches. Photo credit E.G. Schempf.

Kansas City Artists Coalition – New work from Brett Reif’s series “Bedlam Bath & Beyond” will be on display through March 31 at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, 201 Wyandotte. Reif is an assistant professor in the KCAI foundation program. For more information, visit Pictured: “Bath Fragment; Flume,” Brett Reif, 2012, tile and wallpaper on house board.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art – “Wilbur Niewald: The Studio Portrait” is now showing at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Primarily known for his plein air landscapes, Kansas City-based painter Wilbur Niewald (B.F.A. ’49 and M.F.A. ’53 painting), professor emeritus of painting, also paints portraits in his studio. This exhibition features 14 portraits by Niewald dating from 1971 to 2011 and will remain on view through June 17. A podcast of KCAI President Jacqueline Chanda, Ph.D., talking with Wilbur Niewald about the exhibition and Niewald’s long association with KCAI is featured on the Kemper’s website. To listen to the podcast, visit

La Esquina – “High Seas, Low Planes” is showing through March 10 at La Esquina, 1000 W. 25th St. The exhibition is a multi-media installation by Ari Fish (’06 ceramics). It is intended to serve as a “temporary temple,” a sacred space for people to congregate. Groups and individuals are invited and encouraged to use the space as they wish, including for activities such as a class, performance, sermon, meditation, spiritual practice, ritual or conversation. The installation will be open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday and by appointment. The installation will be comprised of multiple projections of computer generated color light schemes, projected from the four cardinal directions onto large swaths of poly-filament “clouds” and sewn vinyl forms suspended from the ceiling. For more information, visit Learn more about the installation and how to reserve the installation for an event at

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center – Karen McCoy, professor of sculpture, Jessica Kincaid (’92 fiber) and Rita Blitt, who studied with Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at KCAI, are among women artists whose work will be featured in “Vanguards and Visionaries.” According to a UMKC announcement, the exhibition spotlights “local women artists who helped shape the visual arts of Kansas City over the past four decades.” In addition to McCoy, Kincaid and Blitt, artists with work in the exhibition include Philomene Bennett, Jane Booth, Shea Gordon-Festoff, Janet Kuemmerlein and Cheryl Toh. The exhibition is being curated by Sonie Joi Ruffin. For more information, visit

Spray Booth Gallery – “XOXO Salon” show and benefit is on view at Spray Booth Gallery, 130 W. 18th St. (inside Volker Bicycles) through March 17. More than 115 artists are represented in the show, including Jonah Criswell (’05 painting), assistant professor in the painting department; Lee Piechocki, administrative receptionist; and Ronald Slowinski, former painting faculty member. For more information, visit

The Writer’s Place – P&M Artworks presents its first annual juried exhibition, “HOME,” on view through March 9 at The Writer’s Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave. The exhibition, which is co-juried by Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, professor and chair of fiber, Heather Lustfeldt and Patricia Brown Glenn, showcases new work by emerging artists in Kansas City centered on individual interpretations and reflections of the idea of home. A range of mediums including watercolor, drawing, ceramics, photography, textile, sculpture, video and site-specific installation can be seen. All works are for sale. KCAI artists include Lauren Blumenberg (’10 ceramics and art history); Sara Bogosh (senior, printmaking); Kate Clements (’11 painting); Jonah Criswell (’05 painting); Ashley Lugo (senior, fiber); Roberto Lugo (senior, ceramics); Zac Miley (junior, illustration); Erin Russell (senior, painting and art history); Maegan Stracy (senior, fiber and art history); Yulie Urano (’11 fiber); Ernest Wedoff (’07 painting); Teal Wilson (senior, printmaking); and Jasmine Zelaya (’06 painting). For more information, visit