Exhibition of work by KCAI students to open March 7 at Vulpes Bastille in Kansas City

12 February 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 12, 2014) — “Progress and Prosperity,” a juried exhibition of work by Kansas City Art Institute students, opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. March 7 at Vulpes Bastille, 1737 Locust St. The show continues through March 29, when a closing reception and artist talks will take place from 3 to 5 p.m.

The exhibition is one in a series sponsored by KCAI’s office of Academic Advising and Career Services. AACS hosts “Access Alumni Events,” whose purpose is to connect students with KCAI alumni. In preparation for the March exhibition, AACS convened a panel of alumni curators to select artwork. Jurors included Anthony Baab (’04 painting), Theresa Bembnister (’01 illustration and creative writing), Connie Griffith (’07 ceramics), Holly Hayden (’03 graphic design) and Dean Johnson (’08 graphic design). The alumni’s selections were based on artwork submitted by KCAI students, as well as decisions the jurors made about students they wished to meet personally in a series of studio visits.
Exhibiting students include Aneesa Shami (junior, fiber); Becca Clews (senior, photography); Ben Gould (junior, sculpture); Derek Dobbins (senior, printmaking); Emily Blaser (senior, fiber); Hannah Carr (senior, fiber); Hennessey Luther (junior, sculpture); Julian Stropes (senior, painting); Kahlil Irving (junior, ceramics); Lauren Sobchak (senior, fiber); Mariah Gillespie (senior, fiber); Mariah Randall (junior, sculpture); Max Newman (senior, sculpture); Molly Garret (senior, animation); Patrick Wolf (senior, printmaking); Shenequa Brooks (senior, fiber); and Tuesday West (senior, ceramics).
Vulpes Bastille is open from 6 to 10 p.m. on First Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 913-461-7377.
About Vulpes Bastille
Vulpes Bastille, which houses studios for nine practicing visual artists, was established in 2012 by Caranne Camarena (’12 painting). She has successfully transformed the once empty building with the help of numerous friends and family. The building itself sits at 1737 Locust St. and is easily identified by its orange facade. What began as a project to provide affordable work spaces for young artists has evolved into a fully furnished art studio and a spacious gallery, all geared toward providing young artists and students with a place to grow their artistic practices. Vulpes Bastille consists of a spacious art gallery and a collection of studio spaces in a 6,300-square-foot warehouse located in the Kansas City Crossroads district. The studio spaces are available for rent to artists of all disciplines and career levels.
Camarena’s own artistic practice focuses primarily on using her fascination with science and anatomy to explore the various relationships between animals and humans and how these relationships reflect aspects of the human condition. She works in a variety of mediums, including drawing and taxidermy.
About the alumni curators
Holly Hayden (’03 design)
After starting a design company, Visual Domination Studios, with fellow KCAI graduates, Holly Hayden continued a freelance design career, working with clients from local artisans to fashion designers to international touring bands. She has designed products ranging from glittery greeting cards to custom apparel for televised Mixed Martial Arts fights. Hayden says the diversity of freelance projects and clientele keeps her “interested and motivated as a designer and artist.”
Anthony Baab (’04 painting)
Anthony Baab is a Kansas City-based artist and KCAI adjunct instructor who studied painting and printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute before obtaining an M.F.A degree in interdisciplinary art from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Representing a wide range of media, his recent work consists of photographs, sculptures and large-scale models that explore notions of self-reflexivity. He was a Charlotte Street Award Recipient in 2006 and has participated in solo and groups shows through various organizations including Grand Arts, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and Tompkins Projects. His work is included in several permanent collections, including those of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and The Microsoft Collection, and referenced in newspaper articles and other publications, including “10: Ten Years Fifty Six Artists,” by Stacy Switzer, “No Static Models For This Artist,” by Alice Thorson (The Kansas City Star), and “Nonbeing There,” a cover story by Tracy Abeln (The Pitch).
Theresa Bembnister (’01 illustration and creative writing)
Theresa Bembnister is associate curator at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University in Manhattan. In addition to her B.F.A. degree from KCAI, she earned a master’s degree in art history and museum studies in 2009 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her writing has appeared locally in The Pitch and The Kansas City Star.
Dean Johnson (’08 graphic design)
Creator of “Vander-Sliced,” an image of KCAI’s Vanderslice Hall that has been widely reproduced on notecards and other materials, Dean Johnson is a senior graphic designer for Garmin International, a global industry-leading GPS company based in Greater Kansas City, where he authors many of the designs for the company’s mobile applications and GPS products. He divides his time between visualizing graphic user interfaces and creating compelling motion graphics pieces and other special projects. With a foundation originally as a sculptor, he spent his time in the KCAI graphic design department learning to balance his love for fine art with his desire to bring a more thoughtful and aesthetic approach to the world of commercial art.
Connie Griffith (’07 ceramics)
After a 35-year career as a flight attendant with Trans World Airlines, Connie Griffith reconnected with art. Before entering KCAI, she attended Johnson County Community College, focusing on art. At both JCCC and KCAI, Griffith was consistently on the Dean's List. She has participated in more than 15 group exhibitions, juried shows and three solo shows. Her works have been exhibited at The Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts; the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI; and Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, Kan.  She and her work have been mentioned in The Kansas City Star, Kansas Collegiate Aesthetics, Kansas City Artists Coalition publications and The League for Innovation in The Community College.  While her current artistic focus is ceramic sculpture, she has interest and skill in drawing, painting, digital imaging, metal work, silversmith and bronze casting. Griffith grew up in Des Moines, Iowa; has been a long-time resident of the Kansas City area and currently lives in Prairie Village, Kan.
About the 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, visit KCAI on the Web at www.kcai.edu.
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For more information, contact Calder Kamin, ckamin@kcai.edu, or Caranne Camarena, vulpesbastille@gmail.com