Category Archives: Access Alumni Events

Alumni on View: Robert Howsare (Printmaking ’09) at UMKC Gallery

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Robert “Bobby” Howsare (printmaking ’09) has returned to Kansas City after attending graduate school at Ohio University. The debut of his MFA thesis work in Kansas City is on view at the University of Missouri Kansas City Gallery of Art through February 15. Bobby’s printmaking background has evolved into an interdisciplinary practice that explores anomalies in systems through a variety of media.

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Bobby presents some very innovative projects and ideas about drawing and printing in his solo show.  The piece Drawing Apparatus manufactures lines that are reminiscent of the toy Spirograph, but here the artist uses turntables to push the pen along the paper. Drawing Apparatus has been recognized by publications like WIRED MagazineAbitare International Design Magazine, Juxtapose Magazine and HOW. Students can also see the Drawing Apparatus at work in the exhibition Line, Pattern, Repeat curated and featuring alumni in the fiber department’s new Warehouse building.

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Bobby was allured to come to Kansas City by the opportunity to work at  Hammerpress. He admired the company’s aesthetic and commercial approach printmaking. Bobby was able to intern at Hammerpress while he was a student at KCAI, and says much of growth and development as an artist came from his internship experience. Bobby was immediately drawn to the failures created from the hand-made production process, especially the incorrect registration lines accidentally created while screen printing.  The ripple effect of the overlapping images that occur on miss-prints are known as Moire Patterns. This inspired Bobby’s early work in graduate school.

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Although Bobby and I graduated from KCAI the same year, we hadn’t been introduced until he volunteered to be an alumni juror and mentor for this year’s Access Alumni Events. Bobby selected student work for an exhibition at Cara Y Cabezas that opened on February First Friday, and visited the studios of the selected students. Bobby provided insight about his recent experience in graduate school to several seniors who considered applying. I’ve been impressed by Bobby’s work, explorations and good nature.


Bobby will be speaking about his work at the closing reception of the Access Alumni Exhibition on March 2, from 3-5pm, at Cara Y Cabezas Contemporary (1714 Holmes) along with several exhibiting students.

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Bobby is a 2012-2013 Urban Culture Project resident at the Town Pavilion studios. Bobby will collaborate with other UCP residents, Kasico and Hunter Long, for a one night installation and performance that will take place at the Paragraph Gallery on February 23. To learn more about Bobby, visit

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Access Alumni Events West Bottoms Tour

The first Access Alumni Events West Bottoms Tour took place this weekend. Calder Kamin, Academic and Career Advisor, and Madeline Gallucci, campus activities coordinator, took twenty-seven students from all grade levels and majors participated in the opportunity to network with Kansas City Art Institute alumni gallery directors, studio and exhibiting artists in the West Bottoms. The West Bottoms is one of the oldest in the city, and its industrial buildings and wide open spaces attract many artists to establish studios and galleries.

The first stop was 1522 St Louis gallery and studios. 1522 is the live and work space belonging to Mike Erickson (’99 printmaking). He shares the space with Archie Scott Gobber (’88 painting), Elliott Oliver (’99 painting) and Liz Smith (’99 painting). 1522 recently added a gallery that run by Erika Hanson (’06 fiber) and Justin Gainan (’04 fiber). Erika met students to talk about their latest exhibition Recent Contracts, featuring Lacey Wozny (’05 illustration)
Elliott Oliver and Liz Smith met while attending KCAI. They recently returned from Los Angeles were Liz was completing her masters. They both keep a studio at 1522 St Louis. Elliot was recently featured in the SprayBooth Gallery exhibit Neutral Space.

A majority of the conversations with alumni led to the importance of networking. An artists time is not only spent in the studio making work, but also going out to see the work of others and meeting new audiences.  Elliot talked about finding a studio space in the West Bottoms and how meeting people made that possible.

The next stop was the Hobbs Building, just a few yards away from 1522 St Louis.

In the basement of the Hobbs is the Kansas City Center for Ink and Paper Arts, where Teal Wilson (’12 printmaking) interns.

Teal is given a studio space in the Hobbs building for one year in exchange for her assistance. She is also able to take classes there for free. Teal is learning new processes she hopes to teach soon at the Center. Teal was asked to share how she obtained a solo show for her senior thesis at the Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS through networking. Teal does keep another job in the service industry , but is happy that her days can be devoted to an active studio practice. She hopes to make new work for a show in the near future. Teal told students she is pleased with what she has accomplished in the few months since graduating from KCAI.

The following stop was The Dolphin Gallery where Mike Erickson, Archie Scott Gobber, and Emily Eddins (’80′s KCAI) work. The Dolphin exhibits locals and national artists, many of whom are KCAI alumni and faculty.

Students heard from Scottie Gobber about the history of the Dolphin Gallery and the reason behind their move to the West Bottoms from the crossroads, four years ago. Mike and Scottie mentioned that the community the Dolphin has in the West Bottoms is really important.  The print studios on the second floor offer discounts and competitive pricing for KCAI students.

Our final stop was at Bill Brady KC. Bill Brady spent a summer at the Skowhegan residency before graduating from KCAI in 1993. It was there he networked with young artists from the east coast. He received his masters from the School of Visual Arts, and through his Skowhegan connections, he began working at the Guggenheim and the Chase Collection. Bill changed his motivation from painter to gallery director in 2001 when he opened the ATM Gallery. The ATM Gallery had an interesting business model with both an ATM and art inside to draw visitors. After operating the ATM gallery for 10 years, Bill felt it was time to move on. He was concerned that opportunities to show younger artists were shrinking because of the larger galleries. He decided that he wouldn’t join the other small Chelsea galleries in their move to the Lower East Side and instead considered the option to return to Kansas City. He afford a space larger than anything he could have had in New York City, and promote to his east coast connections, thanks to the Internet.

Bill also encouraged networking as an important part of an artist’s life. He encouraged everyone to return for the gallery’s opening on November 9th. Both exhibiting artists will attend,  including the artists’ most important collectors. Bill said he often discovers that famous artists become his biggest patrons. When Bill arrived in Kansas City to open Bill Brady KC in February 2012, he felt like there were plenty of places for local artists to exhibit. His focus is to bring outside artists to Kansas City. At Bill Brady KC, young artists and collectors will now be exposed to artists Bill made connections to in LA and New York; potentially elevating the awareness of our art scene on the coasts. His words left a very positive. Bill said many of his classmates are either artists or working for themselves. He believes “artists are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” We couldn’t agree more!

Thanks to our alumni, students and Madeline Gallucci, campus activities coordinator, for making our first Access Alumni Events Tour a success!

Additional images from the tour:

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Announcing the 2012-2013 Access Alumni Events Exhibition Alumni Juror Panel

Access Alumni Events exhibition at Cara Y Cabezas deadline is one month away!

Application guidelines:

  • Submit your name, studio major, grade level and phone number
  • A brief bio and an artist statement
  • Up to five images of available work to be juried for the exhibition (images must be sized 1000 pixels wide -high res required if accepted)
  • Image list including the title, date, materials, dimensions and photo credit.
  • Email application to CKAMIN@KCAI.EDU by 5pm October 12, 2012.

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What is a Low-Residency MFA Program? New Contributor Davin Watne (painting ’94) Shares His Experience at MICA’s MFAST Program

In the summer of 2010 I started my first year of the MFAST program at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  the MFAST program can best be described as a summer low-residency program that spans four summers.  A little background first, the program was first developed by Dean Karen Carroll in 1990/91. It was the first program of its kind (low residency MFA in Fine Arts) in the US developed specifically for K-12 teachers. Even though it was an MFA degree it had a lot more Art Ed emphasis in its curriculum then. Timothy App was one of the original faculty members and has been mentoring in the program since its inception. John Penny and Zlata Baum joined the program, both teaching the Critical Studies seminars in 2000 and later mentoring as well. After 2002, the program opened up to all applicants interested in low residency options, not just K-12 teachers. The curriculum was revised significantly and the program became much more rigorous, especially the critical studies seminars. The curriculum has become much more selective over the years.

My experience there has been pivotal.  It is the perfect MFA program for anyone who is teaching at the K-12 level or teaching adjunct at a university.  If you are like me, you may have hit the ceiling at your place of employment and getting your MFA is crucial to any career improvement.  The fact that it takes place in the summer and is a low-residency program is what makes it so convenient to individuals in the teaching profession. I like that it takes place over six weeks.  During that time you are urged to take advantage of the intense curriculum and individual attention from the mentors Once the summer is over you have the fall and spring to work at your own pace in your own community and digest the experiences you had.

Davin’s studio at MICA

While in the program you have ample studio space, sometimes occupying several studios at once. You also have access to all of MICA’s state of the art facilities, including the career development center, library, woodshop, metal shop, media lab, 3D printing lab, and full editing suites to name just a few.  All of this is made available for the MFAST program and because it takes place in the summer these facilities are never very crowded.  Each grad student is assigned a mentor that you keep in contact with the entire year.  The mentors are the best asset to the MFAST program as well as the program director Zlata Baum.  My mentor has been very supportive as well as very rigorous.  You are also encouraged to meet with the other mentors at anytime to gain different perspectives on your work.  Each mentor has their strengths in various mediums and subjects; all of them are truly unique and engaging in their own regard.

Davin working on his guerrilla retail sculptures

While there, you are expected to take advantage of the time by working in the studio as much as possible.  You also have to attend critical studies courses and professional practice workshops.  The critical studies course is designed to help give a theoretical background to support your ideas and expose you to the best of contemporary critical discourse.  I have personally found this class most fascinating over the past three summers and always gain new ideas for my own artwork and research.  MICA always brings in great artist to lecture and to do studio visits with the grad students.  During the last three summers I have attended lectures by Marc Dion, Richard Tuttle, and Peter Rostovsky just to name a few. The chance to meet with these artists, one on one in your studio and hear their insights is really remarkable.

The MFAST program attracts really unique individuals from all over the country and internationally.  They range in age and experience like most grad programs. I have become fast friends with everyone in the program and also keep in touch with many that have graduated.  The friendships made, becomes another network of professional contacts scattered all over the country to take advantage of.  MFAST people tend to look out for each other. They also know how to blow off steam, as hard as everyone works, there are times when a spontaneous dance party may erupt. We often joke about it and call it “Artcamp”.

The low-residency aspect can be a challenge for people with families, some bring them along which can be distracting or leave them behind which can be difficult. The six weeks goes by fast for us, but slow for the families waiting at home.  I know this, because I have a seven-year-old daughter I leave behind every summer and she hates it when I go to Baltimore.

The city of Baltimore is great.  At first I was apprehensive about the city because of my fascination with the HBO series “The Wire” but once I got settled I found it to be a lot like Kansas City.  There is a healthy art scene that is very DYI as well as having big established museums and institutions, several area college galleries and a major art college. Baltimore has a unique vibe, the citizens know it is kind of a mess but they are very proud of its eccentricities.  It is a mid-market city like Kansas City and it is one-to-three hour driving distance from Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York.  Baltimore is a town with a lot of history, you can feel it in the air and see it in the architecture and gothic churches when you walk around.  It is the home of Eager Allen Poe and John Waters, both artist have been very influenced by it’s gothic strangeness and gritty aesthetics.

I would recommend the MFAST program at MICA to anyone who is looking to develop their career, challenge their practice and get their degree. I think it was one of the smartest decisions I made.  I do regret that I waited this long.  If you have any questions or would like to know more about the MFAST program, click on the link below.

Talk, recent painting by Davin

Davin Watne is one of the Access Alumni Events Exhibition jurors for the student exhibition at Cara Y Cabezas opening in February. You can learn more about him by visiting our About Page. Davin will be speaking at the Rivercity Church at 40th and Wyoming this Friday, September 7 at 6:30. During the lecture Davin will discuss the progression of his work over the last decade and his interest in experimenting with products of enhancement, gender ambiguity, Glam Rock aesthetics, Northwest Coast Native American Art, commodity fetish, Santa Muerte and how all these subjects have had substantial influence on his work. This lecture is free and open to the public! See the Facebook event:

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