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 of 35 projects selected for a 2020 Creative Capital Award, which seeks out bold, groundbreaking projects and provides the artists behind them with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers. He’ll receive up to $50,000 in project funding and an additional $50,000 in career development services.

The Redwood Preserve is a land art and social enterprise project to restore the ancient Californian redwood forest obliterated by logging in the 19 th and 20 th century. The nature preserve would revive biodiversity in the region, while its trees combat climate change by pulling large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

“Like all of us, I’m gripped by the prospect of impending climate catastrophe. If we are to save our earth, we cannot do enough, quickly enough. And it must happen now. So, I’m immensely grateful and honored to be chosen for this prestigious award. The seed funding and developmental assistance Creative Capital offers will make it possible to dramatically accelerate progress on the Redwood Preserve. My hope is to use this award to recruit the public support it will take to make a real difference,” said Mellenbruch.

One of the hallmarks of KCAI is our accomplished and gifted faculty, all practicing artists, designers and scholars. Congratulations to Jill Downen and Jarrett Mellenbruch for setting a precedent with these major recognitions.

April 7, 2020

Art School in the time of COVID-19: Support + Resilience + Community

April 7, 2020 How quickly life changed in a matter of weeks. We went from mid-term critiques to addressing a global pandemic by taking our curriculum virtual. Thanks to our dedicated faculty, KCAI is fostering a new way of learning, researching and making. As a school of art and design, we are a community full of innovators and creative problem solvers. That is how we intend to approach the exceptional situation that we find ourselves in.  Beginning last week, students and faculty are meeting through video conferencing, discussion boards, and conference calls – one-on-one and in groups. As this new way of living and learning unfolds, we will share the inspiring stories of creativity and resilience within our community. How has our faculty adapted studio-based classes to on-line teaching? What kinds of studio practices have students built at home? What does it mean to be an art student in the time of COVID-19? In the coming weeks, we will share with you stories of adaptation and perseverance. And someday (hopefully soon) we will recall how KCAI– its students, faculty and staff– was resilient in a time of turmoil.  Be well, Tony Jones ᴄʙᴇ The Nerman Family President

April 2, 2020

New KCAI Cares Fund Provides Student Relief

A Message From The Nerman Family President Tony Jones In the past month, we have adapted daily life to an entirely new version of “normal” and done things we never thought possible. We are in this together, yet each of us has experienced this pandemic in very personal ways. Several KCAI students have lost their employment during this time and many families are experiencing hardship. In this time of uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that KCAI is part of a supportive and generous community. For those who have reached out and asked how you can help, the college has created two ways to support our students and campus: KCAI Cares Fund. This newly created fund is in direct response to the growing and immediate needs of our students. KCAI Cares will provide financial assistance grants up to $300 for students who are unable to meet essential expenses, such as groceries, utilities or rent. KCAI Annual Fund. An existing fund that supports our commitment to every person at the college. During this time, KCAI is compensating faculty, staff, technicians, work study students, models in studios and those who provide services that our community relies upon like security, facilities and dining for residents who read more…