ARTNotes July 2016


William T. Kemper Foundation makes major grant to KCAI for the restoration of magnificent 1895 “Vanderslice Hall“

If the walls of historic Vanderslice Hall could talk, they would tell stories of the famous students and faculty who created, designed and inspired here at KCAI. They would tell of the lavish Beaux Arts Ball in the 1930s featured in Life magazine; and elephant rides on the lawn for Morgan Day in 1970!

Thanks to a major grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank Trustee, Vanderslice Hall ­– our very own “Downton Abbey”– will continue to serve as the epicenter for festive social, enrollment and administrative activities of the college.

Kirk Gastinger of GastingerWalker, an award-winning historical preservation and architectural firm, has overseen the exterior restoration of Vanderslice. Careful research and its application have ensured the historical integrity of the building:Memo-Header_Gastinger

  • Master craftsman tuck-pointed the building, by hand. An extensive review of the mortar was completed to ensure it matched the original.
  • All of the stonework was carefully power-washed or gently hand-scrubbed.
  • The historic art-glass windows have been removed, cleaned and replaced.
  • Nearly all of the windows have been replaced with new thermal-pane casements, matching the original.
  • Roof repairs and intricate metal repairs are nearly complete, as is the courtyard and landscaping

We are extremely grateful to William T. Kemper Jr. who joined the board in 1933 and served until his passing in 1989. Throughout his lifetime, William Kemper demonstrated his passion for KCAI through his tremendous generosity and commitment to the well-being of the college. Today, his legacy continues through the great care and restoration of one of Kansas City’s oldest and grandest mansions – Vanderslice Hall.

Tony Jones E-Signature - only 1 signature-1

Tony Jones CBE
The Nerman Family President


Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Endows Kathleen Collins Chair of Ceramics Cary Esser


The Stanley H. Durwood Foundation, at the direction of Charles Egan, trustee, has endowed and named The Kathleen Collins Chair of Ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. Cary Esser, the leader of KCAI’s ceramics program since 1996, and an artist of international distinction, is the first recipient.

This contribution is part of the 2:1 matching challenge grant, representing a portion of the $25 million gift given to the college by an anonymous donor, via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation last August. It is the third named, endowed position announced this year at KCAI. Read more.


JS_portrait (1)Alumnus Jason Siebenmorgen Wins the Prestigious Garden Club of America Rome Prize for Landscape Architecture

A KCAI alumnus has recently been awarded a Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture. Jason Siebenmorgen graduated from KCAI with a B.F.A. in Sculpture in 1993, and was accepted into Harvard’s internationally recognized Master’s program in Landscape Architecture.  He is currently a senior associate at the highly regarded Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects, P.C. in New York. Read more. 

Illustration Graduate Builds Giant Griffen Puppet

Ashley Bilke (’16 illustration) wowed the crowds at Maker Faire in Kansas City with her giant Griffen puppet. Part puppet, part costume, she created it all with traditional puppet making techniques.  She considers it a portfolio of her abilities as a puppet maker. Read more.


MICRO Student Madison Crabtree’s KC Streetcar Poster Commemorates Streetcar Launch

Streetcar posterIf you traveled down Main Street in downtown Kansas City last spring, you saw a colorful streetcar poster hanging at every stop along the new streetcar’s two-mile route.  The commemorative poster was a partnership between the Streetcar Authority, KCAI’s Sponsored Studio and MICRO Agency, a KCAI class that functions as a design studio/advertising agency.  Junior Madison Crabtree’s design, which features iconic KC landmarks like the Western Auto sign and Union Station, was chosen from six entries. The Kansas City native is thrilled with the exposure this project is giving her.

“It’s my first real break as a student.  I’ve never really had my work out there. It’s kind of surreal actually,” said Crabtree on KSHBTV.

The posters are for sale at the Streetcar Authority and her limited edition letterpress version is available at HMK on the Plaza and Made in Kansas City.


Illustration Professor John Ferry’s Six Word Memoir Project featured in Smith MagazineKCAI-IanTurpin

When Smith Magazine launched their Six Words Memoir, it was designed to spark the creativity of aspiring writers. Fast forward 10 years, one million short stories and six books later, this phenomenon has been used as a teaching tool and exercise for writers around the world.  Assistant Professor of Illustration John Ferry put his spin on the project when he had his sophomore illustration class “Image and Form” use Six Word Memoir as a launching point for illustrating text. The result was incredible art that was featured in Smith Magazine. Read more. 


Senior Albert Owens Recognized by the International Sculpture CenterISC Albert R. Owens - 2 of 6

Congratulations to Albert Owens (senior, sculpture) who has been named a 2016 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Honorable Mention by the International Sculpture Center Student Award program. He was chosen from 376 students from 148 colleges and universities world-wide.




Kailash Kora Tibet 2007 kent.monkman.4.cmyk-2KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice Opens Summer Exhibition The Position We’re In”

The Position We’re In, featuring the work of Hamish Fulton, Kent Monkman and Guido van der Werve, opened July 1 at Crossroads Gallery, 1819 Grand Blvd. This exhibition explores place and body through a variety of media and contexts. Each artists work invites viewers to consider political ramifications, empathize with a similar experience and examine anomalous contexts. Read more. 


Nick Cave “Property” opens July 23 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


KCAI Alumnus Nick Cave (’82 fiber) transforms 100 found objects into a personal and symbolic sculpture that will be on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art July 23 through the end of the year. Read more. 

 Alumnus Anthony Baab Exhibit “Cover the Earth III” now showing at Haw Contemporary

Anthony Baab (’04 painting and printmaking ) experiments with objects and materials associated with consumerism in his exhibit “Cover the Earth III” at Haw Contemporary, 1600 Liberty St. open now through July 30. The work is compelled by a sense of misbehavior, evoking the spirit and ethos of adolescence, inspired by doodling on a shoe, covering a room with posters, and building a fort.  This traveling project is an ever expanding and mutating form that undergoes a complete transformation from one location to the next. Read more.