September 26, 2017

Sexybeast Project Wall Unveiled at Closing of 100 Proof at H&R Block Artspace

The H&R Block Artspace is pleased to present “Sexybeast” by Leeah Joo on the Project Wall, a public art billboard located on the west side of the Artspace building facing Main Street. The unveiling of this new Project Wall will coincide with the closing reception of our current exhibition 100 Proof on Friday, September 29 from 6 – 8 pm.

Project Wall
Leeah Joo is a Korean-American artist who explores cross-cultural experiences by combining Eastern and Western painting traditions to examine the act of looking through depictions of what is being uncovered and/or what remains hidden. Presenting a vista of silk wrapped mountains and valleys, Sexybeast sets the stage for Korean folklore and history to unravel before a contemporary American experience. The drapery in this work is inspired by one of Kansas City’s most treasured American masterpieces: Venus Rising from the Sea—A Deception by Raphaelle Peale, which hangs in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Peeking over the v-fold in Joo’s violet swathed hilltops is a traditional Korean goblin or dokkaebi in place of the Venus. The dokkaebi is a fearsome supernatural beast known for pranks that ultimately prove to be harmless. In this composition, the leering goblin stands in for Kim Jung Un, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). This conflation of a contemporary figure and mythological creature can be read as a painterly incantation or binding spell, wherein the artist marks the megalomaniacal leader as impotent to inflict any lasting harm.

Born in 1971 in Seoul, Leeah Joo immigrated to U.S. with her family to settle in Indianapolis. Joo spent six years in Kansas City (1998-2004) when she taught at KCAI and was awarded a Charlotte Street Fellowship in 2001, before settling in Connecticut with her husband, children, parents, and a flock of chickens. This Project Wall was commissioned by the Artspace to celebrate Every Street is Charlotte Street.

100 Proof
100 Proof presents a diverse selection of prints created by 23 artists working in collaboration with Landfall Press. Preeminent among a handful of atelier/publishers throughout the world, Landfall Press was founded in 1970 by Jack Lemon, a 1963 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. Surveying nearly 2 decades of innovative artistic collaborations, the exhibition features a broad range of media and techniques that reflect the unique vision and adventurous approach of Landfall Press and its founder and master printer, Jack Lemon.

October 12, 2017

KCAI Brings Creativity to the Workplace

Just weeks ago, for 48-hours the Kansas City Art Institute’s David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology were full of contestants dreaming up great ideas, crafting prototypes and products at the national Make 48 product competition. Our students were there every step of the way providing their expertise in fabrication, graphic design, photography, filmmaking and tech support. It’s part of KCAI’s ongoing commitment to give our students real-world, hands-on experience to prepare them for successful careers. In fact, we often work with businesses to provide unique opportunities for students who bring a creative, fresh approach to your organization’s challenges.  KCAI students have worked on a range of projects from product design for Weld Wheels, rebranding for Powell Gardens and medical illustrations for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Learn how our talented students can work with your business through internships and our Sponsored Studio program. Contact me at or 816-302-3527. KCAI has hosted Make48 twice. Last year’s competition is the focus of an eight-part documentary running in more than 200 public television markets across the country. You can see it Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on KCPT Channel 19.

September 27, 2017


For nine years KCAI Graphic Design students have been collaborating with the Folly to create posters for their jazz series. A panel of judges put together by the Folly was on campus this morning to choose the six winners from the 16 poster series design.  Matt Stewart from Fox4 News was on hand to cover the project. This project is a win-win for everyone involved. The Folly receives beautiful posters to promote their series, and the students get valuable experience working with clients. “Up to this point in their education, most of the students have only done work that has been assigned and critiqued by instructors. This is their initial experience in communicating someone else’s message out into the public. Serving clients is a great training ground for internships, interviewing and ultimately their professional practice,” said Tyler Galloway. The professional and educational value of the Folly collaboration is far-reaching, but according to Galloway, the project has even bigger meaning.“It’s so important for students to interact with other arts organizations like the Folly. Part of what we are teaching our students is the power of giving back and the importance of being civically engaged,” he said.