April 23, 2020

Beals Studios Team Print PPE for Healthcare Workers

Since it opened in 2016, the David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology has been a high-tech hub for all the departments across campus, and 3-D printers are constantly whirring in the background. When the campus closed, they sat idle. Now the printers have been put back to work in home studios producing personal protection equipment (PPE) for local healthcare workers.

When the news hit about the dire need for PPE to protect medical personnel from COVID-19, Director of Creative Technology Aldo Bacchetta, Beals Studios Coordinator Nathan Neufeld (’15 Ceramics) and Instruction Assistant Hannah Fine (’17 Sculpture) started exploring ways they could help. They discovered a consortium of makers, PPE for KC, that have come together to print and assemble protective face shields. With a total of five 3-D printers at home, the KCAI team is printing close to 45 face shield frames a day.

“We knew we had the talent and resources to help and it was important for us to find a way to contribute, but we wanted to make sure whatever we made met the safety needs of the workers. PPE for KC provided us with a government-approved digital file for the design,” said Bacchetta.

The project is truly a collaborative effort. The KCAI team together with many others throughout the region are printing up to 950 one-piece plastic headpiece frames daily. They are picked up and taken to a location where volunteers add the plastic shield, sanitize them and package for delivery to local hospitals.

“We all want to do what we can for our community. Even though we’re not involved in every step of the process, it’s nice to know that our part goes to a larger cause,” said Fine.

According to Niki Donawa, Chief Community Relations Officer at Truman Medical Center and the mother of KCAI student Claire Donawa (Sophomore, Printmaking), projects that protect front line medical staff are invaluable. “People don’t often think about the connection between art and medicine but now makers from the 3-D printing world are helping to protect our physicians. As bad as COVID-19 is, it has brought us together with so many entities who want to contribute,” she said.

Neufeld noted that the project is a practical solution to a problem and agreed it’s a symbol of what can happen when people come together. “It demonstrates the collaborative nature of the maker community,” said Neufeld.

Bacchetta hopes this experience will help in future pandemics. “If there is a resurgence of COVID-19 or a different pandemic occurs, we can take what we’ve learned through this process and be more prepared. The maker community can go into production immediately,” he said.

The KCAI PPE project was recently cited at Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s press conference.

November 23, 2020

Graphic Design Alumna creates Biden campaign branding

Aimee Brodbeck (’08 Graphic Design)  Social impact work has always been important to Graphic Design Alumna Aimee Brodbeck, so when she got the chance to lead the design for the Biden campaign, she jumped on it. She volunteered her time and designed the iconic, patriotic red, white, and blue logo. And, she didn’t stop there. She created a complete marketing suite of SWAG, GIFs, yard signs, emails, and other materials that helped to position Biden for the win. The brand was used by the campaign from April 2019 until Kamala Harris joined the ticket in September. How did you get involved with the Biden campaign? I was working for the ad agency Mekanism, and I received a text from Tom Lyons during a meeting asking me, “how do you feel about politics?” The opportunity came through the agency’s relationship with Creative Alliance, a foundation that donates creative efforts to social impact work. They previously worked on the It’s On Us campaign, an Obama-Biden initiative that raised awareness and fought against sexual assault on college campuses for both men and women.  Tell me a little about the design strategy behind this project. The strategy for the brand was simple – how read more…

November 23, 2020

Faculty, students and staff work together on important initiatives

The newly-formed KCAI IDEAS Council, made up of a broad cross-section of faculty, staff, and students, is set to address the critical issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Sustainability across all facets of the Institution. Last Winter, the faculty Diversity Working Group (DWG) created a wide-ranging set of recommendations for the Institute which included the formation of an IDEAS Council as a way to formalize engagement and collaboration across all campus constituencies. Shortly thereafter, and in the wake of nationwide unrest over police killings and systemic racism, the KCAI Student Solidarity Network and Black Student Union issued a list of demands on KCAI, calling for systemic change and reform of policies and practices that perpetuate racism, anti-black, and colonial systems within our Institution.  From this series of events, the IDEAS Council began to take shape in the fall of 2020, adding members, clarifying its duties and processes, and beginning to meet regularly. In the spirit of transparency and campus-wide communication, the Council would like to share its collective vision and mission. In striving for a better KCAI for all, the Council warmly welcomes any feedback and ideas related to inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and sustainability: ideas@kcai.edu IDEAS Council Vision read more…