February 21, 2020

Visiting Artists Engage Students and Community

On a chilly February morning in the Graphic Design department, Renda Morton, Design Manager at Dropbox and the Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Design, worked with a team of students to talk about an app they’re developing to help people find a therapist. She listened to their ideas, gave them input and presented them with new deadlines — have the prototype built in thirty days. 

This was Morton’s third of four visits to Graphic Design this academic year. When she’s not on campus, she stays in touch with students from her offices in San Francisco where she manages a group of designers working on digital product design. She gets to know the students, shares her professional opinions and exposes them to a different perspective than they receive in the classroom.

“Having professional designers visit our department is crucial to widening the students’ scope of understanding and influence. They bring their industry expertise and experience, their critical eye, and their specific viewpoint on design practice in a way that greatly complements what the full-time faculty bring,” said Tyler Galloway, Chair of Graphic Design.

Morton is one of the notable visiting artists, designers and writers who will be on campus this spring to present public lectures and engage with students. These presentations by a diverse group of creatives inform and celebrate relevant topics and practices in contemporary art and culture. They also directly connect with students through a series of classroom conversations and critiques.

 Bringing artists to campus provides opportunities for students and the community to be exposed to fresh perspectives and new ideas. Below is a sneak peek at two of the artists speaking this spring. 

Sonya Clark  – Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know 
Thursday, March 5 at H&R Block Artspace
What if a dishcloth, the Flag of Truce, used by the Confederate Army to surrender, became the symbol of the Civil War instead of the divisive Confederate flag? Textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark explores the symbolic power of this humble piece of cloth and a historical role reversal at the Hoffman Visiting Artist lecture on March 5. 

Daniel Eatock – Talking in Circles
Thursday, March 12
Spend an hour with witty artist and disrupter Daniel Eatock at Talking in Circles where he’ll narrate insights to 360 images arranged around the circumference of a circle starting and ending at the top. Eatock’s fascination with the circle is evident in much of his work. His practice not only rounds the circle but reinvents and questions the very premise of what a circle might be.

Each lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium on the KCAI campus at 4415 Warwick unless otherwise noted. Tickets are not required and all events are free and open to the public. For detailed information on each of the artists presenting this spring at KCAI, visit https://kcai.edu/campus-life/publicprograms/.

July 28, 2020

Large Scale Hilgemann Implosion Sculpture Installed on Campus

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.

July 27, 2020

Recent Grad Designs Mural at Zoo’s Elephant Exhibit

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…