2020 Alumni Accomplishment Showcase

Welcome to the inaugural Alumni Accomplishment Showcase. This online showcase provides a visual career update from more than 100 alumni in 12 disciplines, spanning across six decades in a wide range of media. Whether a piece was in progress or finished, created for a gallery or made to be digital – all work was welcome. This showcase is an opportunity for KCAI alumni to share their skills, talents and work with the KCAI community. The level of creativity and skill demonstrated in personal and professional endeavors is further proof that KCAI alumni are transforming the world creatively through art and design. 

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Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Art History

Devon Schiller (’13 Painting & Art History)
Current Profession: Cultural Semiotician and Media Historian

Submission Description: These images show the first pages from a selection of Devon’s scholarly publications since graduating from KCAI, including papers from journals in the U.S., Slovenia, and Poland, which have built towards his dissertation project on “Face Time: Semiotic Temporalities in Biometric Art.”

Biography: The recipient of a DOC Fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Devon Schiller is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Vienna. Devon’s scholarship centers on biometric art that uses facial recognition and the semiotic temporalities of facial behavior. In addition to his arts education, Devon has gained scientific expertise in the Facial Action Coding System at UC Berkeley and the Neuropsychological Gesture Coding System at the German Sports University Cologne.

Website: univie.academia.edu/DevonSchiller
Facebook: Devon Schiller


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Ceramics

Paul Jay (’67 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Retired Art Professor

Submission Description: These are Raku pots of various sizes all wheel thrown. It’s my main technique these days.

Biography: After a stint in the Navy and an MFA at Ohio university I taught Ceramics and Art History at the Community College of Allegheny County 42 years and still do a summer Raku class. I had a Fulbright teacher exchange with a potter in England where I taught Ceramics at a Tertiary College for a year. I spent many years doing salt glazed porcelain and stoneware, but I have focused mainly on Raku firing for the last 25 years width some painting thrown in here and there.

Website: web.acd.ccac.edu/~pjay
Facebook: @paul.jay.370

Richard Notkin (’70 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Studio Artist – “Self unemployed”

Submission Description: My work has always been political. The “Trumpolini Series” — now thankfully coming to an end — was inspired by the spinning portrait of Mussolini from 1933 by the Italian sculptor Renato Giuseppe Bertelli. I find curious parallels in the two “leaders”, Mussolini and Trump, and use various juxtapositions of imagery to create narratives for our time, our culture.

Biography: Notkin’s ceramic works have been exhibited internationally and are in more than 70 public collections, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. Among his awards are three fellowships from the NEA, and grants from John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and United States Artists Foundation.

Website: Ceramic Artist Richard Notkin – Landscape Episode

Lauren Kearns (’74 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Artist, Teacher, Director, Creator

Submission Description: I created an Artists Residency Program, called the IaRex l’Atelier: International Artists Residency Exchange, in Saint Raphael France. The programs were 3 fold: 1. Long term residency program, up to 3 months, for artists to work and create. 2. A program, where teachers, administrators etc. could rent the space to create and hold any program they wish to teach, 3. schedule of workshops throughout the year. Artists were to find their own accommodations allowing for individual needs and budgets.

Biography: An MFA from the University of Oregon, a Residency at the Archie Bray Foundation. I opened studios in San Francisco, Tacoma, Carbondale and Loveland CO, teaching ceramics and drawing at community Art Centers, Colleges, and Universities. I was the Executive Director of the Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale. I created the IaRex l’Atelier, a studio where peopled from all over the world could work together. I have exhibited my work throughout my career at juried and invitational exhibitions.

Website: internationalartistsresidencyexchange.com
Facebook: @IARE18

Leslie Brownstein (’75 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Painter

Submission Description: Self portrait pondering ideas for next painting

Biography: I started out as a clay artist with emphasis on thrown porcelain functional ceramics and other hand built vessel forms. Later in my life I switched to oil painting. I’ve been painting for approximately 15 years.

Facebook: @lesbrownstein

Rebecca Koop (’79 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Potter, Artist and Events Director

Submission Description: I was roughly halfway through the Mosaic project when this video interview was aired on KCUR Radio. It seemed appropriate to use clay tile “mosaic” for a pottery studio façade. I set up shop here in 1986 where I had been making functional stoneware, stoneware and teaching pottery to present. The idea for the “Earth” mural came to me in 2005. By 2018 I had enough tile and created the mosaic indoors from June 2018 to May 2020. Installation on the building was completed in Oct. 2020.

Biography: Soon after graduating from KCAI I took a part-time ceramics teaching position at William Jewell College from 1980 -1999. I have done countless Art & Craft shows and the KC Renaissance Festival selling my functional pottery. I continue to teach beginning and intermediate recreational potters two nights a week at my studio. In the spring and fall I offer Wood Fired RAKU workshops. I am not limited to clay but also interested in papermaking, felting, spinning, natural dyes and mosaic tile.

Website: backdoorpottery.com
Facebook: @rebecca.koop.9

Catharine Magel (’79 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Public and gallery Artist / Scenic painter / Business owner

Submission Description: Made for Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District of St Louis Missouri. I have chosen the rabbit because of its universal appeal and cultural significance. By examining the wealth of world mythology and folklore involving rabbits and hares we find many wonderful universal tales that can relate to our own lives. It speaks of the human/ animal bond.

Biography: Awards: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant and a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Grant. Catharine received her MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. She received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri. Her work is in many permanent International collections including The Het Kruithuis Museum, S’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, and The American Ceramic Museum in Fuping China.

Website: Catharinemagelpa.com
Facebook: @Catharine.Magel

Don Nakamura (’84 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Flight Attendant

Submission Description: Ceramic sculptures, wheel thrown parts, assembled and altered. Drawing, pencil, pen, acrylic.

Biography: Continue to work in clay. Flight attendant to pay the bills.

Instagram: @donnakamura1978

Becky Large Brinkley (’85 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Dental Ceramist

Submission Description: These images are direct contact prints with Cyanotype chemistry utilizing poppies and wildflowers with various additions, such as acids and salt to alter color.

Biography: Upon graduation my entire years work in ceramics was stolen. Starting over led me to try new things creatively! I began making porcelain teeth in a dental lab and trying making handmade paper, fiber arts and sculpture. Currently I am making teeth and experimenting with alternative photographic processes, which include altered digital negatives to use for cyanotypes, Vandyke and lumen prints.

Instagram: @becky.brinkley

Catherine Merrill (’91 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Artist & Teacher

Submission Description: Catherine Merrill curated multiple international shows including ceramics by a group of prominent Cuban & American Artists, who, in spite of the US Embargo have continued to collaborate & exhibit together in Cuba & the US. Laconia Gallery, Boston Making Connections: Contemporary Cuban Printmakers Oct-Nov 2009 Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA Beyond the Embargo, Cuban & American Ceramics Jun-Oct 2009 Massachusetts College of Art, MassART in Cuba Sept-Oct 2009 ACAA Gallery- Matanzas CUBA 2008.

Biography: Art of Fire Project 2001-2016 Catherine Merrill, US & Antonio Lewis, Cuba: International Cultural Exchange Project offering Exhibitions, Residencies, Workshops & Lectures in Cuba, US, Canada & Argentina. Mission: Promote Peace & Friendship through the Language of Art. When Artists come together from different nationalities, after they have made art together, shared ideas, food, drink & laughter, they will never support War between their nations, as that would endanger the lives of their friends.

Website: catherinemerrill.net

Bernadette Esperanza Torres (’91 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Art Teacher and Carter Art Center Gallery Director at the Metropolitan Community College

Submission Description: My artwork along with being a full-time Art Teacher and Gallery Director.

Biography: Bernadette is an Art Teacher and Gallery Director at MCC- Penn Valley. She has been published in 500 Figures in Clay Vol.#2, 2014, Lark book, Ceramic Sculpture, Making Faces, 2014 Ceramics Monthly, September issue 2015, and online Glasstire http://glasstire.com/2015/08/13/top-five-august-13-2015/. Bernadette’s artwork is in the permanent Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (NMOCA) collection. Bernadette’s ceramics are in many private collections in New York, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Italy.

Website: bernadettetorres.com
Twitter: @BurnCeramics

Elaina B. Michalski (’00 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Program Coordinator and Lecturer in Fine Art, Park University

Submission Description: Images include two temporary public artworks, both of which explore issues facing unaccompanied youth. Historically, figurative sculpture and portraiture were used to honor powerful and esteemed members of society. My focus is to combine traditional portraiture with subjects that are mostly invisible or marginalized in modern society. By recognizing them in sculpture, the work takes on new meaning that both honors the neglected and challenges traditional ideals of importance and value.

Biography: Elaina Michalski creates sculptures of women, children, and youth, exploring ideas about spirituality, family relationships, and vulnerable people. Her work is featured in Lark Books’ 500 Figures in Clay Vol. 2 and The Figure in Clay, and awards include a Charlotte Street Foundation studio residency and an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant. She has taught art for Metropolitan Community College, Rockhurst University, KCAI, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, MyARTS Program, and Park University.

Website: respiritstudios.com
LinkedIn: Elaina B. Michalski

Ariel Bowman (’11 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Adjunct Professor

Submission Description: These ceramic sculptures are part of a series called the Timekeepers, which presents extinct creatures as decorative objects inspired by 18th century French mantle clocks. This period in history represents the age before the discovery of fossils that changed our perception of time and our relationship to nature. The clocks tick backwards presenting a challenge to the viewer’s expectations and understanding of time. These works are now a traveling solo exhibition.

Biography: Since graduating at KCAI, Ariel has been an artist in residence at the Armory Art Center and recently earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Florida in 2018. She was awarded both the Regina K. Brown NCECA undergraduate and graduate fellowships and was published as an emerging artist in Ceramics Monthly in 2019. She exhibits her work nationally, and it has been collected by the Belger Arts Center, the Florida Museum of Natural History, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.

Website: arielbowman.com
Instagram: ariel.bowman

Chase Travaille (’15 Ceramics)
Current Profession: Long Term Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation

Submission Description: A slingshot is suspended in a state of tension upon the wall with a thimble acting as its ammunition. I enjoy creating ceramic objects that push the limitations of clay and provide a moment for an audience to fall into a state of disbelief.

Biography: Originally from Arkansas, Chase Travaille received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2015. The following year he attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville as a Post-Baccalaureate and received his MFA in Ceramics from Alfred University in 2019. He is currently working as a Long Term Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana.

Website: chase-travaille.squarespace.com
Instagram: chasetravaille


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Creative Writing

Ayah Abdul-Rauf (’17 Filmmaking & Creative Writing)
Current Profession: Writer and MFA student at USC

Submission Description: My goal is to make thoughtful and entertaining videos about topics of interest for creative people. With COVID being so restrictive and compromising my graduate education, it’s been a relief to having something I can make that helps me stay in touch with what I studied and gives me a sense of control.

Biography: Since graduating, I’ve worked as a tutor, freelance editor and production assistant. Along the way, I wanted more opportunities to explore ideas I was curious about–and make something thought provoking and fun along the way. Aside from books, youtube essays are my go to when I need to refill the well or want to get lost in new ideas, so I decided to make some of my own.

Website: shethewriter.com
Instagram: @shethewriter


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Design

Gerard Eisterhold (’73 Design)
Current Profession: Museum planning & design

Submission Description: Opening ceremonies for the museum on 11/11/2020.

Biography: Transferred to KCAI from the Ag program at the University of Missouri/Columbia. Had a brief career in animation/film-making after graduation, then discovered museum exhibit design, first at the Kansas City Museum, and then with my own firm. The rest is history, so to speak.

Websites: eisterhold.com & voxvineyards.com
LinkedIn: @jerry-eisterhold-96920ab

Gary Cooper (’74 Design)
Current Profession: Sculptor & Graphic Designer

Submission Description: Gary Cooper in his home studio, Belfast, Maine, October 2018. 2019 Apollo 11 $5 Gold Commemorative Coin obverse (GC monogram at left of “L ” in “LIBERTY”

Biography: After graduating KCAI in 1974 I was fortunate enough to land a job as a graphic designer and art director in packaging and consumer product design. In 1995 began using CADCAM software for 3D sculpting. From 2001 to 2011 received commissions from State of Maine to create 4 large bronze memorial plaques for the Maine State capital building. Starting in 1997, submitted coin design proposals to U.S. Mint. Successful in 2017 with my obverse design for the U.S. 2019 Apollo 11 commemorative program.

Website: downeast.com/making-his-mark
Facebook: @gary.cooper.31521301

Frank Daharsh (’87 Design)
Current Profession: Glassblower (retired graphic designer)

Submission Description: Examples of blown glass by Frank Daharsh at the Hot Shops Art Center, Omaha, NE. Though I have had a successful career in Product & Graphic Design, this experience has helped hone my abilities as an artist and as a glassblower.

Biography: Frank Daharsh is an accomplished glassblower creating glass that is collected worldwide. A BFA in industrial and graphic design from the KCAI has helped Frank in his glassblowing techniques and concepts. His career as a designer includes designing jet interiors, industrial and construction equipment, computers, medical products, and signage as well as designing food labels, illustrations, corporate logos and 3D renderings. For more info go to https://www.hotshopsartcenter.com/

Website: daharshdesign.webs.com
Facebook: Frank Daharsh


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Fiber

Laura Foster Nicholson (’76 Fiber)
Current Profession: Full time studio artist

Submission Description: These images are from a current body of work exploring the enormity of the annual flooding in Venice. All are handwoven of wool, cotton, and metallic threads. I have made a career of producing one of a kind fine art tapestries. This series relates, in a personal way, to my 1984-85 series about Villa Farsetti, which won a prize in the 1985 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Biography: Ever since graduating from KCAI, I have been a full time studio artist, exhibiting in galleries & museums around the USA, Canada & Italy. My art is in several major Museum collections, such as the Art Institute of Chicago & the Smithsonian National Design Museum. I have designed textiles, rugs, ribbons, and dinnerware for Crate & Barrel and other companies. I am proud to have made my living directly from my studio work, and attribute my focus to the examples of my professors at KCAI.

Website: lfntextiles.com
Instagram: @laurafosternicholson

Brenda Bunten-Schloesser (’79 Fiber)
Current Profession: Studio Artist

Submission Description: Textile Mosaic Panels: Building layers of painted cotton, batting, raw cotton and yarn. Using MX Dye & Discharge Techniques. Pushing other complex techniques into each piece of art. Assembled with Acrylic Mediums on a Panel. Fiber Wall Sculptures: Traditional quilting techniques handed down from generations, into these lager wall sculptures. Each piece is created with painted cotton. Using MX Reactive Dye & Discharge Techniques, which is then cut and pieced together in organic large shapes.

Biography: Brenda is a full-time studio artist working in the Houston TX area. A graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute (Kansas City, Missouri) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Brenda has been working with fiber as a studio artist for over 35 years. Originally from Indiana, Brenda has lived and worked in numerous locations throughout the United States including New Jersey, Kansas, Alabama, and Washington. You can see her diverse background in many of the pieces she has created.

Website: bjbsart.com
Facebook: @bjbsart

Meghan Kelly (’02 Fiber)
Current Profession: Assistant Professor of Textile Design

Submission Description: This is a selection of knitwear pieces that I’ve designed and written in the past few years. The styling for the models was done by myself, as well as the painted backdrops for both the tank and the mittens. All of these knitted pieces are available as downloadable patterns that have been published by Kelbourne Woolens. Photo credit for each photo belongs to Linette Kielinski.

Biography: After graduating from KCAI in 2002, I tried my hand at a wide range of practices ranging from art framing to bronze casting, and of course, waiting tables to support myself. In 2011, I enrolled at Philadelphia University to attain my master’s degree in knitting design. There I learned the science and technology of knitting, which complemented my art background. After many years at a hand-knitting yarn company, I’m now a full-time professor teaching knitting to both undergrad and grad students.

Website: meghanlkelly.com
Instagram: @Meghanlkelly

Paige Beltowski (’15 Fiber)
Current Profession: Tailor & Fashion Designer

Submission Description: Designs for the 2019 collection presented by my brand PG at the West 18th Street Fashion Show. This collection was created with my co-designer Gabriella Corya and photographed by Kylah Clark. Featuring models Winnie Duku, Iesha Akalinefine, and Ali Lollas.

Biography: After graduating from KCAI in 2015 I continued to expanded upon the knowledge I learned in the Fibers department. I worked as a costume designer for productions at the Unicorn Theater, The Repertory Theater, and Quixotic Show Productions. In 2017 I launch my independent fashion brand PG, which is now in the process of designing our third collection release. I currently live in Los Angeles and work as a tailor and independent designer working with everything from bridal to film production.

Website: patreon.com/paigeb
Instagram: @pigpattypaige

Anna Van Gheem (’17 Fiber)
Current Profession: Graphic and Textile Designer

Submission Description: 2019 MFA Fashion Design Thesis Collection submitted to the Savannah College of Art and Design that utilized conceptual, written, print and garment design skill sets. The collection was awarded a $1,000 student grant from Spoonflower to produce custom printed fabric.

Biography: Anna Van Gheem is a multi disciplinary artist and designer based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received a BFA in Fibers from KCAI in 2017 and an MFA in Fashion Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Van Gheem participated as a Knitwear and Footwear Innovation and Concept and Color Design Intern for Under Armour before most recently founding a lifestyle business, Myth and Myrrh with her mother Michelle. She currently works as a Graphic and Textile Designer for Fabletics.

Website: annavangheem.com
Instagram: @annavangheem

Michelle Chan (’19 Fiber & Art History)
Current Profession: Studio Artist

Submission Description: During the beginning of Covid there was a major shortage of many necessities. As a Fiber artist it was good to put my skills to use by making masks for others. However masks that were supposed to be an act of care often became disposable hazards when left carelessly behind. This mask series addresses the dangers of production dependence on China, my feelings of anxiety being Chinese in a Western society and waiting for the inevitable conflict stemming from those issues.

Biography: Hello my name is Michelle Chan, I’m an interdisciplinary artist based in Kansas City, Missouri. My work addresses being an American-born Chinese through the lens of pop culture and consumerism. I am currently at the Charlotte Street Foundation as a 2019-2020 Studio Resident.

Website: michellechanartist.com
Instagram: @mishapsofmishi

Ziyun Wang (’19 Fiber)
Current Profession: Masters of Architecture student

Submission Description: The project is to design a community hub and food hub for the site situated in San Francisco, an area undergoing gentrification. This design explores the binaries of vague vs. defined spaces, eliminating thresholds between exterior and interior, blurring public spaces to allow visitors to walk around freely; using transparent or translucent glazing to enclose spaces that require privacy. The overall formal qualities evoke landscape, inviting and encouraging visitors to explore.

Biography: Lulu Wang is an interdisciplinary artist who mainly focused on design and photography during her last years in KCAI’s Fiber program, and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Architecture at California College of the Arts.

Website: luluwang.org
Instagram: @qiyoon

Hannah Lee Sun Morrison (’20 Fiber)
Current Profession: Studio Assistant and Jr. 3D Designer

Submission Description: These are some knitted tops that I have started making as a way to maintain my studio practice post graduation. I do commissions for custom designs for tops and beanies. My work involves interaction with the body, and using fiber processes to reference skin-like qualities. Making unique wearables to share with people, connects us in a similar way to my sculptural work.

Biography: I graduated from Fiber, and. focused a lot on large scale installation work. I currently teach art classes at Creative Culture KC, plan to pursue another degree in a more digitally heavy field. I keep myself disciplined through my knitting commissions. I plan to keep developing my knit craft to improve my work and way of thinking as a whole.

Website: hannahleesun.com


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Graphic Design

Gordon Tanner (’80 Graphic Design)
Current Profession: Media Consultant

Submission Description: I’ve drifted toward Photography more as my Design Career has progressed…

Biography: As a Graphic Designer, I’ve always had a camera on my person.

Website: gordontannerphotography.com
Facebook: @gordon.tanner.73

Jason Pearson (’92 Graphic Design)
Current Profession: Graphic Designer and Painter

Submission Description: Husband. Father of 5. Artist. Writer. Connoisseur of Green River Soda. Cut his teeth in the music industry creating album campaigns for David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Gil Scott-Heron and a bunch of artists you’ve never hear of. Co-founder of Blender Magazine which was sold to Dennis Publishing. Blender was the first digital publication to be included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian and the Victoria & Albert Museums. Co-founded the Dennis Interactive Agency developing creative for clients including: Nike, Mercedes, Disney, Levi’s, Coke and Apple.

Biography: Blender and its sister publication Maxim, were sold to Quadrangle Capital Partners. Founded Online Giving, an innovative technology platform for nonprofits which was acquired by Starwire. In 2001, started Pearpod, a creative media company offering a wide range of services. Creates and exhibits large oil painting portraits. Included in “New York Magazine’s 60 Digital Visionaries” and named to the “Samsung Braintrust.” Won numerous creative awards including the Gold One Club Award. Hopes to one day own a pet blobfish.

Website: pearpodchocolatefactory.com/jason
Instagram: @pearpod

William Neukomm (’94 Graphic Design)
Current Profession: Artist/Instructor

Submission Description: The official portrait of former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and its unveiling at the Capitol.

Biography: William began his professional studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, earning a BFA in graphic design in 1994. After 15 years as an award-winning designer, William decided to pursue his interest in painting. He spent three years studying at the Florence Academy of Art before earning a MFA in painting at Laguna College of Art + Design. As an artist and instructor, William looks forward to a lifetime of development, painting, and teaching representational art.

Website: whneukomm.com
Instagram: @wneukomm


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Illustration

Rita Doyle Roberts (’87 Illustration)
Current Profession: Artist and Commercial Painting Contractor

Submission Description: This is a portrait commission of a young man who passed away earlier this year. Commissioned by friends of the family. Charcoal on paper, 12″ x 12″. As with all portraits of deceased subjects, it came with a message from the other side to his loved ones, written and presented with the portrait. Both are to offer solace and a sense of his presence and the feeling of honor that comes to me with doing such portraits.

Biography: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, MFA from the Academy of Art University. Southwest Art Magazine, American Art Collector, Focus Santa Fe, and The Artists’ Magazine. Signature member of Oil Painters of America. Her work has been juried into several Salon International exhibits, as well as Arts for the Parks and Paint America traveling exhibits, and invited to show in the Colorado Governor’s Show.

Website: ritaroberts.com
Facebook: @RitaRoberts.Artist

John Ferry (’92 Illustration)
Current Profession: Associate Professor at KCAI

Submission Description: 2 Paintings that are in the show – One photo of me with 2 paintings at the THE ANNIVERSARY SHOW Celebrating 35 years of Art with Friends at Sherry Leedy.

Biography: John Ferry is an Associate Professor serving in the Illustration Department at Kansas City Art Institute. The current show is of Modern paintings he has done in his pursuit to document Mid-Century Modern Architecture. John is represented by Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery in Kansas City, MO. John Ferry lives and paints in Prairie Village, KS with his wife Amy and two daughters Katherine and Paige.

Website: johnferry.net
Instagram: @ferryjohnr

Ashley Bilke (’16 Illustration)
Current Profession: Freelance Artist and Ranch hand

Submission Description: Fae Stag is a multimedia sculpture using branches, found material, and faux fur. Spirit of the West is a piece of digital art on photography. Horse Guardian Ornaments are resin cast and painted, then attached to woven horsehair loops for display. They are inspired by imagery found on Neolithic Tattoos.

Biography: Bilke has worked as mural artist for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival & provided custom puppets for stage shows. She has done freelance work at Mesner Puppet Theatre as well as at the Johnson County Public Library. Bilke has received multiple awards for her art including the Silicon Web Costumers Guild Dreamcatcher Award for Puppetry Innovation (2016,) World Science Fiction Convention Masquerade Award for Puppetry, MidAmeriCon Hall Award & Maker of Merit at KC Maker Faire (2016, 2017).

Website: ashbilke.wixsite.com/ashley-bilke
Instagram: @blackfeathrart

MacKenzie Fulmer (’19 Illustration)
Current Profession: Advancement and Communications Digital Media Specialist

Submission Description: These illustrations are from a series about quarantining. Turning daily life into comical images challenges me to view life optimistically, and make others smile. Creating whimsy from mundanity is crucial to creating interesting and relatable illustrations.

Biography: MacKenzie Fulmer, is an illustrator, designer, and painter based in Kansas City, MO. She’s an inventive leader, enjoys collaboration, and takes road trips for creative restoration. She’s often inspired by horror, humor, and fashion.

Website: mackenzieillustration.com
Instagram: @mackenzieillustration

Asha Reeder (’20 Illustration)
Current Profession: Community Navigator

Submission Description: This work was more of a cathartic exercise, as being trapped at home all day can make you crazy :^) Sometimes we have to burn down the house.

Biography: I currently serve at a non for profit greenhouse and kitchen! Many people in my community are struggling so I want to be able to give back, and help others any way I can!

Website: moroseclouds.com
Instagram: @morose_cloud


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Interactive Arts

Matthew Bower (’06 Interdisciplinary Arts)
Current Profession: Museum Fabricator / Exhibits Technician

Submission Description: This maple slat wall with mirrors laminated to the face creates a space for toddlers to play at the Anchorage Museum. This project is currently in process, and is set to open whenever the pandemic has subsided. The design calls for a gym mat on the opposite side of the mirrors, and the cubbies will be filled with toys. I built this with my team at our offsite wood-shop and transported it to the museum as a single unit.

Biography: I studied at KCAI from 2002-2006. In 2008 I moved to Alaska to work construction. After 2 years at a high end cabinet shop I found my current job at the Anchorage Museum where I build everything from climate controlled display cases to interactive exhibits and custom fine art installations. I have also had the opportunity to work on traveling installations at museums around the country. The landscape in Alaska is a key inspiration in my personal art endeavors.

Instagram: @bowerselement

Brandon Barr (’09 Interdisciplinary Arts)
Current Profession: Artist/Teacher

Submission Description: The work from my “Flash Paintings” series is my most recent body of work that I have been exhibiting and it needs to exist in two places. There is the physical structure of the painting, but you have to use the camera flash from your phone to view the reflective paint. This reveals the text, which consists of fragmented social media captions I have found online. The piece then lives on as a physical painting and a flattened digital file, both needing each other in order to complete the artwork.

Biography: After graduating from KCAI in 2009 I stayed in Kansas City while learning to live and make art during one of the worst economic recessions. It was not easy, but the surrounding art community aided in that process and that experience has stayed with me since. After 2yrs, I went to graduate school at Alfred University in New York where I received my MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts. From there I went to Jackson, MS where I taught full-time. Then to Los Angeles, CA where I now live today.

Website: brandonhbarr.com
Instagram: @brandonhbarrdotcom


Alumni Accomplishment Showcase - Painting

Jan Wiederhold Sitts (’63 Painting)
Current Profession: Professional Artist

Submission Description: Mixed Media paintings utilizing a special technique Jan developed years ago, which she continues to teach throughout the United States to her students who are eager to learn her unique mode of self expression.

Biography: Internationally recognized artist, instructor and former Gunnison resident, Jan Sitts, demonstrates unique techniques in mixed mediums. With more than forty years’ experience in the arts, Jan’s accomplishments are many and her original paintings are sought after by art collectors and enthusiasts from around the world. Keep traditional rules of painting out of the picture and discover more creative and spontaneous ways of expression! Workshops are open to all levels of artists.

Website: jansitts.com
Facebook: @JanSittsStudio

Pat Klaus Owens (’66 Painting)
Current Profession: Artist

Submission Description: This work is a series of pigmented paper pulp castings made from molds of my design. It is a work in progress.

Biography: I have worked in hot glass for many years and have recently started to work in papermaking, particularly castings. The work is narrative and experimental.

Website: patowensglass.com

Jan Joler Jay (’67 Painting)
Current Profession: Painter

Submission Description: These small paintings are a result of a health condition that does not allow me to stand at my easel or sit at my table for any length of time. I can sit on the sofa and work on these.

Biography: I’ve worked primarily in oils and multi-media showing both locally, nationally, and internationally. Recently do to health reasons I have been working with small formats, and have always expressed my ideas using both intuition and experience.

Website: web.acd.ccac.edu/~pjay
Facebook: @jan.jay.988

Janice Weissman (’67 Painting)
Current Profession: Oil Painter

Submission Description: Historically, tattooing was socially acceptable for men. Today, women have made a strong statement by creating heavily designed tattoos on their bodies. I am the re-teller of their stories. The pain and the exhilaration of their statement compound the freedom of expression. This process has led me down paths of exploration on the significance of why these women decorate themselves with beautiful designs and stories that unfold their life as an illustrated woman.

Biography: Janice Urnstein Weissman was directed toward the achievement of a BFA degree from KCAI and an MFA degree from the University of Cincinnati. Janice has taught at the college and high school levels. Currently her teaching has been centered on helping high school students strengthen their portfolios to get accepted by art schools and universities. Janice has dedicated over 40 years of her life to perfecting her craft as well as being a beacon for future generations of young artists.

Website: janiceurnsteinweissman.com
Facebook: @janiceurnsteinweissman

Sydney Smith (’69 Painting)
Current Profession: Freelance artist – painting/woodblocks

Submission Description: These images are a part of a collaboration between photographer Mary Lou Oslund (‘69) and myself called “Birds of a Feather”. As we were fellow sTudents and have remained Close friends over the years, the idea of combining her nature photography and my work together to pay tribute to the beauty of nature around us. I have worked with my woodblock carving to incorporate photographs images in a mixed media exploration. Using acrylic and sometimes other elements into a composition.

Biography: Attending KCAI 1965-1969 I moved to New York City where I had a studio and later obtained a Master of Arts in Printmaking from the University of Iowa. From New York I settled in California where I taught art at a Magnet School in Los Angeles. After retiring I illustrated a series of books about Eldon – Santa’s Unusual Elf. Recently I reside on the East Coast and free lance from my studio there.

Website: sydsmith.net
Instagram: @sydsmithart

Phillip Roberts (’72 Painting)
Current Profession: Self-employed artist

Submission Description: 1972 Alumni, Phillip Roberts slideshow showing images of Phillip’s studio and his plein air work, painting on location US, Mexico, Europe.

Biography: Phillip received a BFA degree in Painting in 1972. Using visual information from nature in the still life, figure and landscape, the artist is presented with limitless subject matter. Since Phillip’s graduation, he has lived and painted in both the Midwest and Northwest US. His desire to paint the subject matter of the impressionists painters inspired two painting trips to Mexico and ten trips to Europe.

Website: philliprobertsfineart.com
Facebook: @phillip.roberts.7127

Andrew Gatewood (’73 Painting)
Current Profession: artist/drummer/retired

Submission Description: I designed the “new” Ford dealership sign for North America while working in the graphics department at Zimmerman Sign Co. -1999—(would like to get royalties for this one)…. The second image is a visualization for a proposed 42 acre waterpark in Katy (Houston) Texas ….My job was to show the investors what the park would look like when finished. This rendering is from an accurate model I built from Autocad drawings.

Biography: Born artist/drummer. Worked as artist/drummer since about age 12 until last year when everything stopped.. I’ve worked as a billboard painter, lettering artist, sign designer, illustrator…3d modeler, animator for forensic / scientific reconstruction, 3d printing, etc.. Learned, taught and helped develop various esoteric digital technologies.

Facebook: @gatewood3d

Nancy Purington (’73 Painting)
Current Profession: Self-Employed Artist/Art Consultant

Submission Description: OCEANIA, 2020, 5′ sq., oil, gold leaf, palladium, on canvas, silk and linen was commissioned for this site when the collector saw a 12″ sq. of an experimental composition. This is the first time I have copied one of my works into a larger scale. Some adjustments had to be made. I would like to have stopped many times along the way, but the owner knew exactly what she saw and that was what she wanted. It took one year to complete from designing the stretcher to the last laid leaf of palladium.

Biography: My early life was dramatically influenced by growing up along the Mississippi River in rural Iowa. The magnitude of the current, array of infinite wave patterns and reflections of sun and moonlight inspired a lifelong series of works about the way of water. My reservoir of childhood observations was refreshed in 2002 when I acquired my first digital camera. In 2015 MOONLIGHT ON THE MISSISSIPPI, a visual survey of those works, was published. (see Fb page of same name).

Website: nancypurington.com
Facebook: @nancy.purington.7

Sherry Bowerman Leedy (’74 Painting)
Current Profession: Gallery Owner and Director

Submission Description: The images submitted are recent works continuing my studio practice of drawing from life.

Biography: My primary career has been as Director of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art. My job has been to curate and exhibit the work of other artists of outstanding talent. My gallery is celebrating our 35th Anniversary this year. The gallery has been instrumental to the development of Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City. During this time, I have always maintained my studio practice. Most recently, the Daum Museum in Sedalia, Missouri presented a one person show of my pastel drawings.

Website: sherryleedy.com/main/artists/sherry-leedy
Facebook: @sherry.leedy.7

Allen Kriegshauser (’74 Painting & Printmaking)
Current Profession: Competitive Landscape Painter – Au Plein Air

Submission Description: A painting demo and oil paintings

Biography: I’m a competitive landscape (plein air) painter have competed across the US. I’ve been a featured artist in painting magazines such as Plein Air Magazine. When no competing I teach and do commission painting. I live and work in suburban St. Louis.

Website: AllenKriegshauser.com
Facebook: @allen.kriegshauser

David Rich (’74 Painting)
Current Profession: Painter and Educator

Submission Description: 1) Call and Response, oil/canvas 56×68″, recent work in the studio. 2) Orion’s Friend, oil/canvas 56×60″, from solo exhibition at Skoto Gallery, NYC, titled Conversations and Situations. 3) Interval, Evening, oil/canvas 48×44″, from OnlineViewingRoom, Skoto Gallery, titled Local Implications.

Biography: Ever since studying at KCAI, staying focused on the development of my paintings has driven my activities and priorities. Shows include Skoto Gallery, NYC; Satori Fine Art, Chicago; and Grayson Gallery, Chicago. Museum collections include Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Weisman Museum. Teaching includes Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 1985-2010, and Visiting Artist Lectures at Hartford Art School, Maryland Institute College of Art, and University of Washington.

Website: davidrich.net
Instagram: @davidrich2

James Claussen (’75 Painting)
Current Profession: Teacher, Artist

Submission Description: Images on my web are current works from my portfolio.

Biography: Education: BFA KCAI. MFA Univ. Washington. Teaching Experience: Univ. Washington, 1977.KCAI, 1977-1983. SFAI,1988-89, 2013-Present CCAC,1991. Sonoma State Univ.1989-1991- Academy of Art Univ.1994-Present.

Website: jamesclaussen.com

J.F. Ellman (’75 Painting)
Current Profession: Fine Artist