ARTNotes March, 2016

From the President's desk...

It is an honor that the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) has chosen Kansas City as the host city for its 50th annual conference beginning next week! The Kansas City Art Institute will be a central venue for artist exhibitions and our own Paul Donnelly, ceramics professor, served on the planning committee to help make it all happen. We have a celebrated ceramics program here at KCAI, starting with the brilliant teachings and work of Ken Ferguson and Victor Babu, that was carried on by George Timock and now Cary Esser and Paul Donnelly. Each one of these accomplished artists and mentors attracted young talent to our school and provided pivotal training for many ceramicists working in the field today.

From March 16-19 our campus studios and galleries will be filled with some of the best ceramic art in the country. I encourage each of you to visit these exhibits. You will see outstanding, influential work and have the opportunity to view exhibits that offer new perspectives on current and traditional ceramic art practices.

Cary Esser

Image: Cary Esser (’78 ceramics), professor and chair of ceramics, Chromaphilia Veils, 2015-2016

On Friday, March 18, Victor Babu, former KCAI professor, will receive the Excellence in Teaching Award and alumna Linda Lighton will receive the Oustanding Achievement Award, and our friends, Evelyn Craft and Dick Belger will be honored with the Excellence in Visual Arts and Education award — it promises to be a wonderful night!

This conference is not one to be missed. I hope you enjoy all of the events throughout the week and we’ll see you in the galleries.

Tony Jones E-Signature - only 1 signature-1
Tony Jones CBE
The Nerman Family President


The Royal Society of Edinburgh Elects Tony Jones as a New Fellow


We are delighted to congratulate Tony Jones CBE, The Nerman Family President, on his prestigious selection to be welcomed as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), the National Academy of Scotland.

The RSE, established by Royal Charter in 1783, includes 1,600 Fellows from a wide range of disciplines; which includes the sciences, business, medicine, technology, the arts and academia. RSE candidates can only be nominated by existing Fellows, and each candidature undergoes an extraordinarily rigorous five-stage selection process, which culminates in a ballot of the whole Fellowship. The Society is Chaired by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Tony Jones was one of 56 new Fellows elected this year, and one of only 6 new international Fellows.

President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, commented, “It is fantastic to welcome such a range of outstanding individuals to the Fellowship. Each newly elected Fellow has been nominated on their notable and extensive achievements. In joining the Fellowship, they will strengthen the RSE’s capacity to advance excellence across all areas of public life; both in Scotland and further afield.”

The work of the RSE includes awarding research funding, leading on major inquiries, informing public policy and delivering events across Scotland and the UK to inspire knowledge and learning. Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President said, “I am truly honored and humbled to be elected into this legendary Society, and to be invited to join such an outstanding group of individuals, whose achievements comprehensively outrank my own”.

Student + Faculty News

Three KCAI Students Take Home Medals at Japanese Language Contest

On March 5, 2016 three KCAI students participated in the 18th Annual Greater Kansas City Japanese Language Contest. Emily Thorn (animation), took a first place medal in the Karuta Contest, which challenged one’s ability to speed read Japanese against an opponent.

2016 winners

Photo: (Left to right) Jazmyne Roddy (animation), Tracie Whiting Kipper (Kcai Japanese language and culture lecturer), Eriko Dehaan (Japanese consulate general diplomat), Chase Ford (fiber), Emily Thorn (animation). Event Photo by Brooke Juda (photography), red event T shirt designed by Willow McKee (illustration)

In the Japan Quiz Bowl, the KCAI team of Chase Ford (fiber) and Jazmyne Roddy (animation) received a first place medal in the College division. They were tested on Japanese history, geography, culture and language. Following their win, the students were personally congratulated by Eriko Dehaan from the Japanese Consulate General at Chicago and the honorary Consul General Fran Lemery.

For the second year in a row, KCAI also provided artistic support. Illustration major and Japanese II student, Willow McKee created the t-shirt design based on a Japanese chochin lantern.

Sculpture Faculty Announces Winners of the 2016 McKeown Special Project Awards

Congratulations to the four student recipients of this year’s McKeown Special Project Awards:

Jennifer Green (senior) will use her winnings to create a sculpture her B.F.A. exhibition.
Damien Randolph Spader (junior) will conduct research travel to New York City.
Lila Ferber (junior) will conduct research travel to Philadelphia.
Rowen Foster (sophomore) will use her winnings to create functional funerary objects.

“We are excited about the impact that the McKeown Special Projects Award will have on the students’ development and creative practice. Our sincere thanks to alumni Byron and Deanne McKeown for their generosity and sustained investment in our students,” said Jill Downen, assistant professor.

Vote for Your Favorite KCAI T-shirt Today!

Now is your chance to vote in the KCAI T-shirt Contest by purchasing your favorite shirt. All t-shirts were designed by students and alumni. Sales received by March 31 will support the Annual Fund.


KCAI Gallery is hosting an alumni gathering on March 17 from 5-7 p.m. in the Crossroads. If you can’t make it out to the reception that evening, the gallery will be open to the public on April 1, First Friday. We hope to see you there. Read more about this event.


NCECA’s 50th anniversary conference is here. Makers, Mentors and Milestones starts on March 16. Take a look at all of the exhibits we have scheduled both on and off campus for the week.