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.  


September 23, 2020

One Month In

We’re one month into the semester and we’re still here on campus and in the studios. Due to the diligence of the community, we are able to report that at this time we have limited confirmed COVID cases and no campus spread. An incredible accomplishment that we hope to carry through the rest of the school year. We continue to balance the health and safety of our campus community with the need to offer in-person studio instruction. We know how important it is for our maker community to be on-campus, using the equipment, tools and technology in studios. Our hybrid model of online and in-person teaching is working. We’ll continue to wear our masks, social distance, and follow protocols to keep our campus community safe. My sincere thanks to everyone – students, faculty, and staff—who are making this work. Enrollment is steady at almost 700 new and returning students. We have full occupancy in the spectacular Barbara Marshall Residence Hall, and we have additional students making their home at the nearby Marriott hotel. Thanks to the generosity of our Board of Trustees and many donors, students arrived on campus this fall to fantastic new studios and classrooms. The Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration provides much-needed space for our two largest progammes in read more…

September 22, 2020

Current Perspectives Lecture Series Goes Virtual

An Oscar winning screenwriter and an iconic graphic designer are among the four notable artists Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) will welcome this fall to present at the Current Perspectives virtual lecture series. These presentations by a diverse group of artists and scholars will inform, engage and celebrate relevant topics and practices in contemporary art and culture. They will also engage with students through a series of virtual roundtable discussions and critiques. Each lecture will take place at 7 p.m. online. Tickets are required and all events are free and open to the public. Click here for more detailed information Aram Han Sifuentes: Art in Action September 24 Aram Han Sifuentes uses art to disrupt, unsettle, and rupture dominant narrative to assert, demand, and claim spaces for those who are commonly othered, particularly for immigrants of color. She will talk about her projects U.S. Citizenship Test Sampler, Protest Banner Lending Library, and Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for All Who Legally Can’t, and how she uses art to confront social and racial injustices against the disenfranchised and riff off of official institutions and bureaucratic processes to reimagine new, inclusive, and humanized systems of civic engagement and belonging. Amir Zaki: Building & Becoming October 22 Amir Zaki has an ongoing interest in the read more…