December 12, 2019
Murals Created by KCAI Students Brighten Shuttered School
Shuttered JJ Pershing elementary school was an eyesore in the Blue Hills neighborhood until Assistant Professor of Illustration Hector Casanova’s US: Collaboration class brought the building back to life by creating brightly colored murals for the school.
The students worked with neighborhood reps to come up with the ideas for imagery to tell the tale of this historic area that dates back to the early 1900s. Though the panels are all different – some tell the stories of influential civil rights leaders and others celebrate positive parenting – they share a common color palette of blue, pink and gold, which was also chosen with input from the neighbors.
According to Casanova, projects like this are meaningful for the neighborhood and our students. “For many students this one of the most satisfying projects they have ever done. It’s really rewarding for them to see their work shaping the cityscape. It’s a wonderful way to introduce students to community service and show them that their art can make a difference in the world,” he said.
Earlier this week the students who created the imagery presented the project to the community at the offices of the Kansas City Board of Education. See KCTV5’s coverage here and keep tuned for updates as new murals for the school are created next semester.
A 20-foot sculpture that used to sit on Park Avenue in New York City was installed Tuesday morning on campus. Double Stack by Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US), is 20 ft. high and made from stainless steel. Double Stack is the second work that has been generously loaned to the college by the artist and Zahner Metal Conservation. Dancers was on campus in 2017-18 and now is part of Leawood’s Public Art Collection. This installation is part of KCAI’s plan to place large-scale works on the campus, on a constantly-changing basis. They connect the large public artworks already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the works in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Previous sculptures on campus include This is NOT a Refuge by Anila Quayyum Agha and The Consistency of Change by Caleb Bowman, (’99 Sculpture). See how Hilgemann implodes these giant sculptures here.
Watching elephants frolic in the new waterfall pool is delighting visitors at the recently renovated Elephant Expedition at the Kansas City Zoo. The pachyderm’s passion for H2O is also the theme of another one of the exhibition’s new features, a vibrant mural by Anh Le, a 2020 graduate of KCAI’s Illustration program. The large-scale panorama on the Learning Cottage at the exhibit entrance shows animal families coming together at a waterhole in the wilds of Africa. “I wanted the whole scene to have a warm, inviting vibe for visitors. It gives them a little peek into the world they are entering,” said Le. The project was created when Le was a senior in KCAI’s MICRO Agency, which connects Kansas City businesses with the creative talent of KCAI students. Several students presented designs to the Zoo team and Le’s interpretation made the final cut. This is the second time KCAI students have designed murals for the Zoo. Vaughn Parrish (’19 Illustration) created the underwater themed wall in Stingray Bay. Le’s motivation for the mural is simple — to bring happiness. “With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we need a spark of positivity and joy. I hope people read more…
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