April 30, 2018
Mayor Sly James Delivers Commencement Keynote Address
Board of Trustee Chair Pat McCown and Alumni Nick Cave are also honored at the ceremony
On May 5, Kansas City Mayor Sly James will deliver the commencement address at the 2018 KCAI graduation ceremony. The Mayor is a passionate and committed supporter of the arts and education, and a good friend to our college.
Mayor James has worked extensively to raise Kansas City’s statewide and national profile by highlighting the myriad of cultural and human capital resources in our great city. We owe him a debt of thanks for his dedication to environmental concerns, the creation of the incredibly successful KC Streetcar, and the planning for a new airport terminal by the internationally-renowned firm of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) – a gateway building that will become the architectural ambassador for our city. The arts in KC have thrived under his leadership – and he’s not only a fan, he’s an artist himself – no other American city has a mayor who was the lead singer of a terrific band, and who loves jazz with a daily devotion.
The Distinguished Friend Award will be bestowed upon another shining star, Pat McCown. Pat has been a highly-effective member of the Board of Trustees for nine years, consistently helping students, faculty and the college as a whole. In 2015, he was asked to become Board Chair with virtually a day’s notice, following the unexpected death of Chairman Steve Metzler. Pat’s dedication to the college has been exemplary, leading us through complex new projects like building the Beals Studios and the regeneration of the campus. We have no finer friend than Pat, and we want to thank him as he steps down this year.
At the commencement ceremony, we’ll also give an honorary doctorate to one of our very own, artist and educator Nick Cave (’82 Fiber). Nick is celebrated for his Soundsuits, which are elaborately designed assemblages of unexpected materials that emit sound as they move. They’ve been displayed in museums around the world including the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He’ll be back in Kansas City this fall, taking part in Open Spaces – Kansas City Art Experience, and will have a major exhibition next year at Crystal Bridges Museum for American Art in Bentonville, Ark.
Former Fiber Chair Jason Pollen’s exhibition INSIDE/OUT is at the Box Gallery, 1000 Walnut St. in downtown Kansas City through October 26. Fifty percent of proceeds benefit student scholarships at KCAI. Comprised of Portals, Outliers, Descendants, Oracles, and Nomads, these series of works were inspired by a fascination with how surfaces can both conceal and reveal. Our skin acts as an envelope, hiding its precious contents; the earth we live on hides the fathomless depths of its molten core. Pollen strives to make works whose surfaces intimate the deeper animating force that is the creative process. During a lifetime of dedicated practice, Jason has focused on the phenomena of color, light and shadow, movement and stillness. The works are successful if they prove to be thought- and feeling-provoking, and communicate fascination and delight.
An installation at the recently-opened Monticello Library in Shawnee, Kan., Mediated Set (Cart Forms and Glass Inclusions), is a collaboration of Painting Professor James Woodfill and New York-based artist Stephen Lichty for a site-specific commission through the Johnson County Public Art Commission. “Our contribution to the Library consists of seven modified book cart sculptures and a set of adjustments to the glass separating the building’s private meeting rooms from an otherwise open plan. As a consequence of our collaborative approach these works represent a full stack of conceptual and material negotiations. Two people looking at the same thing will see something different. Learning to affirm difference has been the virtue and strength of our collaboration, and a virtue that is echoed both by the County’s willingness to commission our experimental project and by the infinite possibilities – the sanctuary – given by any library and the agency of its patrons,” said Woodfill and Lichty in their artist’s statement. Mediated Set (Cart Forms and Glass Inclusions) is a two-part installation carried out after extensive collaboration with the library designers and staff. The Glass Inclusions were meant as a mediator between the idea of public and private meeting areas, and involved added layers of read more…
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