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.

January 15, 2020

KCAI Dedicates Barbara Marshall Residence Hall

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) recently announced the naming of their new Student Residence Hall after Kansas City Philanthropist and Emeritus Board of Trustees member Barbara Hall Marshall. Marshall, who joined the KCAI board in 1967, has played an important role in the growth and success of KCAI. “For the 40 years Barbara served on our board, she was an ardent advocate for arts education and first and foremost, deeply cared about our students. It’s fitting that her legacy is associated with our new building that provides a home away from home — a place where students can relax and recharge. We are honored that the residence hall is named after a woman who will forever be part of KCAI,” said Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President. In addition to serving on the board, Marshall was a volunteer for KCAI’s Fireside, Sketch Box and Vanderslice committees. In 2017, KCAI awarded her with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.  During the dedication, KCAI also announced the naming of the Sherman Family Student Union. Located on the first floor of the residence hall, KCAI’s first-ever student union is named in honor of the John and Marny Sherman family and will create a read more…

December 19, 2019

New Student Residence Hall Open House January 18

Join us on Saturday, January 18 for coffee and brunch bites plus open tours of the new Wylie Dining, Cafe Nerman, Sherman family Student Union and suite-style residences. See the latest in student living and the newest jewel on KCAI’s campus. All are welcome from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to the open house celebration. Email adesimio@kcai.edu to R.S.V.P. to this free event.