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.

January 24, 2020


Due to hazardous road conditions, KCAI’s campus and administrative offices will open at 10 a.m today, Friday, January 24. New student orientation will begin with lunch at 11:30 a.m. Morning activities in the central shop will be rescheduled. Please be safe when traveling to campus.

January 16, 2020

Sculpture Faculty Win Major Accolades

Two Sculpture faculty members are kicking off the new year with incredible accomplishments. Chair Jill Downen (’89 Painting) has been selected to exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s new contemporary art space the Momentary and Jarrett Mellenbruch has received a prestigious Creative Capital Award. Downen is one of 60 artists chosen for State of the Art 2020, which celebrates the opening of the new contemporary art space, the Momentary. The exhibition will be on view at the Momentary and Crystal Bridges from February 22 through May 24 and is free for all visitors. Downen’s art envisions a symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, destruction and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities. The work that will be exhibited, Three Dimensional Sketchbook, is a cabinet of drawers that viewers may open to view a range of material sketches. Each drawer features a label and keyword which poetically corresponds to its contents. With the opening of each drawer, the artwork reveals a visual-spatial language in miniature scale. “The opportunity to exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is meaningful in that I can share my voice within a national conversation about contemporary art today,” said Downen. Mellenbruch’s The Redwood Preserve was one read more…