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: https://lead.bank/lead-emerging-artist-prize 

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 another group of talented artists to Lead Bank. Each artist’s exhibit has been very well received by the community. It is a privilege for the Bank to be able to display and enjoy such a fantastic treat each quarter,” said Josh Rowland, CEO, and vice-chairman of Lead Bank. Each award winner received a $500 scholarship and the nominating KCAI department will receive $200. The community is invited to view the works of art beginning later this summer with sculptures from Ryan Haney’s Towards an End on exhibit. 

Students were nominated by KCAI faculty and chosen based on academic achievement. They have current works on display and those who demonstrate a focused commitment to their contemporary art practice. The Lead Bank Emerging Artist Selection Committee includes Kim Weinberger, Linda Lighton (’89 Sculpture), Peregrine Honig (’98 Printmaking), Susan Lordi-Marker, and Joshua Rowland. The selection committee chose four works out of 27 finalists based on faculty recommendations. 

“We have continued to support the Kansas City Art Institute and its programs because it’s just one more way that we can engage with our community. Working with young artists who have diverse backgrounds and a different perspective of the world around us, especially our community, is refreshing. They give us hope for the future and we’re very excited to support their creative talents,” says Joshua Rowland, CEO of Lead Bank. For the past four years, the Bank has hosted several artists for First Fridays, displayed artwork in their Crossroads branch, and hosted the annual Road Roller printmaking event each year put on by the KCAI Printmaking Studio’s students. 

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…