July 1, 2019

Mid-Century Architecture Inspires John Ferry’s Art & Life

When you grow up in Decatur, Ill. with several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the neighborhood, you’re destined to be a fan of mid-century architecture. Associate Professor of Illustration John Ferry (’92 Illustration) takes his life-long passion for modern houses built between 1933 and 1965 to the next level. Not only does he live in a mid-century home in Prairie Village, he also uses them as inspiration for his latest exhibition Mid-Century Modern, open through July 27 at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art.

“I fell in love with mid-century houses at a really young age and they are a huge influence on my art. My Dad was crazy about them, too. I’d tag along when he gave tours of the neighborhood,” said John.

John’s ongoing fascination with urban structures has been the foundation of his studio practice. He’s had 18 solo exhibitions and has work in the permanent collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Negro League Baseball Museum, and has been featured in 3 X 3 Illustration Annual, American Illustrator and The International Painting Annual. In addition, he collaborates on other projects like a collection of concrete molds he’s been working on with “Dr. Concrete” John Kevern from UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.

Because of his interest in buildings, John toyed with the idea of becoming an architect but realized early on he wanted to be an artist. His high school art teacher suggested he visit KCAI and on his 18th birthday, he stepped onto the campus for the first time. “I get goose bumps when I think about it. I visited every building and every project I saw, I thought ‘I could do that!’ I never thought about applying to any other school except KCAI. My time here as a student was a really great experience for me,” he said

He went on pursue an M.F.A. in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, taught at KCAI for a few years, worked at Hallmark and came full-circle in 2010 to teach fulltime at the place that meant so much to him – KCAI.

“I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to teach Illustration at KCAI.  Everyone in our department has worked in the field and we know what it’s like to be a professional artist.  Every student in our department becomes a better artist.,” John said.

To learn more about John’s work, visit johnferry.net.

September 11, 2019

Jill Downen’s Open Spaces Work Donated to the City

Associate Professor and Chair of Sculpture Jill Downen’s (’89 Painting) Open Spaces artwork has been gifted to the people of Kansas City by the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust. An Architectural Folly from a Future Place, aconcrete and stone low wall with a fissure, is designed to be a social space —a bench for visitors to sit on and enjoy the serene green space of Swope Park. Jill’s work is one of three Open Spaces artworks donated to the city and two are connected to KCAI. Any Word But Wait by Flavio Cerqueira was sculpted at KCAI Crossroads Gallery last year when he was an artist-in-residence. Flavio’s work is located on the UMKC Volker campus. Join us in congratulating Jill for this amazing accomplishment and read the complete press release from the city here.

August 19, 2019

KCAI Announces Lineup for Fall Current Perspectives Lecture Series

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) will welcome two notable Visiting Artists this fall to present at the Current Perspectives lecture series. These presentations by a diverse group of artists will inform, engage and celebrate relevant topics and practices in contemporary art and culture. The artists will also directly engage with students through a series of classroom conversations and critiques. Current Perspectives Lectures Each lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium on the KCAI campus at 4415 Warwick.  Tickets are not required and all events are free and open to the public. For detailed information visit https://kcai.edu/campus-life/publicprograms/. Lisa Congdon Finding Your Voice: Uncovering the Holy Grail Thursday, October 17 To Illustrator and Author Lisa Congdon, the process of finding your creative voice is akin to uncovering your own superpower. Join Congdon, author of Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic, as she unravels the mysteries and delights of the process of finding your voice, including what it means to have an artistic voice and why having one matters, how to navigate influence, and practices that can accelerate the process of finding and refining your voice. Liz Collins The Best of Both Worlds Thursday, November 21 Embracing abstraction, optics, read more…