2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards

11/15/2003 - 12/19/2003
2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards

The 2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Awards features a range of dynamic, new work by the 2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Award recipients, including Leo Esquivel, Jennifer Field, Gear, Art Miller, Dean Mitchell, Donald Ross “Scribe”, and Jim Leedy, honored with a lifetime achievement award. Contemporary societal issues are voiced through the diverse works of these artists, including themes of social-realism, contemporary political critique, personal experience, psychology, and formal studies of nature and the cosmos.

The exhibition was curated by Heather Lustfeldt, Assistant Curator at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Leo Esquivel utilizes materials such as plaster, Styrofoam and latex paint to simulate materials such as marble or glass in forms evoking pillows and beds. Upon the surfaces, Esquivel paints narratives alluding to dreams, desire, violence, and technology. Esquivel is a 1995 graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute, and was co-curator of the Dirt Gallery from 1996 until its closing in 2003.

Since 1995, Jennifer Field has created evocative landscape collages composed with cut metal and tin.  An avid reader, collector and “treasure hunter” in the world of rummage and thrift stores, Field mines discarded materials and transforms them into serene landscapes reflecting the artist’s interest in human experience, industry and world religion.  Her work has been included in local group exhibitions since 1999.

For over 18 years, Gear has practiced various forms of graffiti writing in Kansas City and beyond, with numerous commissioned murals locally over the past 10 years.  At the Artspace, Gear executed a site-specific wall painting, highlighting his complex, graphic writing-style, through a brash critique of American politics.  For the last several years, Gear has participated in numerous local gallery exhibitions, and recently executed a mural and public project for the Salina Art Center, Kansas.

As an independent art photographer since 1984, Art Miller has documented urban architecture and most recently, aspects of gay culture.  The series featured in this exhibition is an edgy commentary on voyeurism, broaching issues of personal privacy and ethics.  Miller’s photographs have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Kansas City, including Jan Weiner Gallery, Johnson County Community College, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Dean Mitchell’s paintings have been regionally and nationally exhibited for 30 years.  Mitchell’s realist style primarily focuses on African-American contemporary life, urbanity, and psychological depictions of family and anonymous subjects. Mitchell skillfully balances beauty and tension within his various thematic works. Mitchell’s work for the exhibition, “Black Romantic,” in 2002 at the Studio Museum in Harlem, received national critical acclaim.

Donald Ross “Scribe” is locally recognized for his painted public murals in Kansas City, many of which he executed with the artist, Gear, since 1993.  For the “2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Awards” exhibition, Ross created a site-specific installation that includes sculpture, a site-specific wall drawing, and a series of self-reflective character studies.  Ross has participated in and organized numerous local exhibitions.

Jim Leedy, the recipient of the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award, has been a major contributor and initiator in Kansas City’s art scene for more than 35 years.  Leedy joined the faculty of the Kansas City Art Institute in 1966, founded the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in 1985, and was an instrumental force in establishing Kansas City’s Cross-Roads Art District.  Leedy is a multi-media artist, known nationally for his expressionist works in clay.  In 2000, Leedy was the subject of a retrospective at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, and his pivotal installation, “War,” at Grand Arts, culminates his harrowing experience as a photographer during the Korean War.  For this exhibition, Leedy presented new paintings and clay works.

Established in 1997, the Charlotte Street Foundation has honored Kansas City artists, bestowing individual, unrestricted grants.  Information about the 2003 Charlotte Street Foundation exhibition and artist recipients, as well as past exhibitions, essays, visuals and the history and initiatives of the Charlotte Street Foundation can be found on the organization’s website at: www.charlottestreet.org.

The 2003 Charlotte Street Foundation Awards Advisory Committee included Sean Kelley, Bruce Hartman, Melissa Rountree, Raechell Smith, and Mark Spencer. Invited nominators for 2003 included: Larry Meeker, Margaret Silva, David Ford, Mary Lou Jaramillo, and Pat Jacobs McDonald.

For generous support of the 2003-2004 exhibition series at the Artpsace, the Kansas City Art Institute gratefully acknowledges the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the H&R Block Foundation.



After Dark on Charlotte Street
February 1, 2004
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Kansas City Magazine

The Old Charlotte Street Gang
December 1, 2003
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Press Release

Work by Winners of Charlotte Street Foundation Awards
will be on view at H&R Block Artspace at KCAI
October 27, 2003
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