School’s out for the summer; KCAI and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to host a 10,000-square-foot picnic

23 May 2012

Pictured: Two KCAI students hang stamped fabric blanket tiles at a trial Picnic Project workshop in April, during the Eighth Annual Troost Festival in Kansas City.

Kansas City, Mo. (May 23, 2012) – Summer means long days, lots of sun and outdoor family fun, including the ever-popular picnic. On July 15 the community can enjoy this classic summertime activity on the south lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art when a 10,000-square-foot picnic blanket made up of individually decorated, 5- by 5-foot fabric tiles will be assembled as part of The Picnic Project, co-hosted by the Kansas City Art Institute.

The Picnic Project, led by Alison Heryer, special instructor of fiber at KCAI, is an ongoing, community-based project that includes a series of workshops throughout Kansas City during the month of June in which community members are invited to help decorate 5-by 5-foot fabric pieces. The worskshops, being held on Saturdays at public spaces such as farmers markets and city parks, are open to community members. Participants are encouraged to use found objects to print and stencil red and white patterns on their individual fabric tiles. The resulting 400 printed fabric tiles created during the workshops will then be collected and used to assemble the massive picnic blanket on the Nelson-Atkins lawn. 

“These workshops will emphasize the act of mark-making as a form of individual expression, as well as a way of conveying community narratives,” Heryer said.  “Our hope is that the blanket tiles will reflect the perspective of the individuals and communities who created them.” 

The assembly of the 10,000-square-foot picnic blanket will take place from noon to 2 p.m. July 15 as a part of the museum’s Sculpture Park Celebration. The first 400 participants will be invited to stake in one of the individual printed fabric tiles that will become a part of a large-scale gingham pattern on the lawn. Upon completion the public will be invited to picnic atop the blanket and enjoy the day’s events, including a show from Stone Lion Puppet Company. 

“The goal is to connect people to each other and their public environments through art,” Heryer remarked. “The installation at the museum is a one-day event and we hope connections and friendships are made.” 

For more information about The Picnic Project or the community workshops in June, visit 

About Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute 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, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. The college also offers certificate programs in Community Arts and Service Learning 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 the 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, contact Cat Szalkowski at 816-802-3458, or