May 27, 2020

Faculty Win Accolades

Artwork by Associate Professor David Terrill

Our gifted faculty are celebrating announcements of big awards and accomplishments including the fantastic news that Associate Professor of Creative Writing Anne Boyer has won the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction for her memoir The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care. She’s been honored with a long list of awards including the prestigious 2020 Windham Campbell Prize in Non-Fiction and the inaugural Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

“Winning the Pulitzer Prize was a complete surprise. It’s among the highest honors an American writer can receive, and that the news came in while I was teaching online, so I could share it with my students, made it all the more special. My hope is that the prize will call attention to the issues addressed in the book, particularly in the time of COVID when the brutalities and inequalities of for-profit healthcare have even more obviously put the well-being of our entire society at risk,” said Boyer.

Cyan Meeks
The National Endowment for the Arts recently granted an Our Town Award to Chamber Music at the Barn in collaboration with emerging organization Prairie Muses for Flint Hills Counterpoint, an arts and ecosphere immersion experience to engage, investigate and celebrate the tallgrass prairie. Associate Professor of Filmmaking Cyan Meeks is one of two key artists working on the project.

Flint Hills Counterpoint, an innovative arts programming project that is in partnership with the rural Marion County, Kansas communities of Peabody, Marion, and Hillsboro, features two years of prairie bus, walking, and bike tours of natural springs, farms, wildflowers, and edibles—interspersed with surprise art interventions/experiences including installations, collaborative music, dance and other performances by the community with world-class guest artists. The celebrations culminate in 2022 with a site-specific multi-media exhibition by the project’s key artists Cyan Meeks and Susan Mayo who are both social practitioners that are deeply focused on the connection between geological reality and human experience. Mayo experiences reality through soundscapes, Meeks through the eyes of a documentary filmmaker. Their audiovisual collaboration will be adapted into a documentary film that captures the unique aural and visual ballad of biological communities transforming from a post-natural landscape into a native ecosystem through the land reclamation process

David Terrill and John Ferry
Illustration faculty at KCAI are often in the news for their nationally recognized work, community involvement, and passionate teaching methods. This spring they are at the forefront again with the incredible announcement that Associate Professors of Illustration John Ferry and David Terrill will both have work in one of the industry’s most highly respected annuals, American Illustration 39.

The book, which will be published in November, is representative of the best of the best working in illustration today and Terrill feels honored to be included in the select group. “It’s rewarding at this point in my career to know that my work is relevant. I’m always highly motivated, but I feel rejuvenated to know I’m on the right track creating images folks are relating to,” he said. 

Terrill’s illustration came from a lunch-time drawing session at C3, the brand activation agency where he works part-time. His unique style is influenced by his sketchbook and reportage, the recording of what you see in the moment. Over the years, he has stopped drawing with pencils, he makes a mark with a fountain pen and lives with it. “I draw as I see it, and just let it happen on the page. It gives it an immediate feel, then I follow up with watercolor or digital media,” he said. 

This is Ferry’s third time in the annual— he was included last year and about 20 years ago — but he still doesn’t take it for granted. “All artists need exposure to have an opportunity for work and this book puts you in front of some of the top creative directors in the country,”  he said. 

A former mid-century Phillips 66 gas station located on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kan. is the subject of Ferry’s painting in the annual. Mid-century modern architecture is a life-long passion and the subject of much of his work. The painting is now at home in the permanent collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. 

When asked what was the best part of being included in American Illustration 39, they both answered in the same way. It was a big deal to be chosen, but the most meaningful experience is that they teach together and are both in the same edition.  

Cyrus Console-Şoican
When his poem Lana Del Rey was published in the May issue of Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, Associate Professor of Creative Writing Cyrus Console-Şoican, Ph.D. joined the ranks of notable writers like Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gaitskill, and Tom Wolfe, who all had work in the literary journal.

While it might seem unexpected for a writer who is fascinated with deeper issues about the meaning of life to write an ode to the sultry pop singer, it’s not because he’s a super fan. He really admires the way she uses clichés without being cliché. 

In his classes, he often uses Del Rey as an example of someone who understands how to use clichés in a love song. “Lana Del Rey’s songs are beautiful examples of how to write the cliche without being the cliche. This poem tries to do the same thing. said Console-Şoican

The poem, his third to be published in Harper’s, will be included in a manuscript he is currently working on. He is also the author of Brief Under Water (Burning Deck, 2008), for which he received a Fund for Poetry award, The Odicy (Omnidawn, 2011), and Romanian Notebook (FSG, 2017). Recent poetry has appeared in BrickCritical Quarterly, and Paris Review.  


July 9, 2020

Lead Bank’s Lead Emerging Artist Prize Celebrates Diverse Talents 

Artwork Corn, OK by Stella Bonafazi (Junior, Photography) Lead Bank recently awarded the 2020-2021 Lead Emerging Artist Prize (LEAP) to the following four KCAI art students: Ryan Haney (Senior, Sculpture) of Miami, FL; Stella Bonafazi (Junior, Photography) of Tulsa, OK; London Williams (Senior, Painting) of Milwaukee, WI; and Hung Le (Junior, Fiber) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Longtime supporters of KCAI and its Sponsored Studio Program, Lead Bank created the Lead Bank Emerging Artist Prize in 2018 as a benefit to the community. Recognizing the diverse talents each student holds, from imaginative sculpting and captivating photography to the exploration of mainstream topics through fabric, each student has shown his or her expertise through hands-on expression. Their work can be viewed on the following webpage:  Each year, Lead Bank features the recipient’s artwork on the Bank’s Community Art Panels located in their Crossroads branch parking lot. These panels were constructed specifically for the community to enjoy the artists’ works throughout the year. The four Emerging Artists’ artwork will be featured as a 2D mural on the Community Art Wall located at the Crossroads bank location (1801 Main Street) with the original artwork displayed inside the bank lobby.  “We are thrilled to welcome read more…

June 1, 2020

KCAI: We Stand Against Racism

KCAI utterly condemns the ongoing racist treatment of Black Americans that has resulted in the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and in the continued murders, harassment, and prejudice that our Black community members face on a daily basis.