Category Archives: Art Happenings in KC

Student Opportunity Deadline: Kansas City Film Festival

Kansas City FilmFest 2014 is seeking great features, documentaries, short films, animation, student, experimental and web series for the 18th annual Festival. The Kansas City FilmFest takes place on April 5-13, 2014, and celebrates independent filmmakers and the stories they want to tell.

New this year:  A web series category and a special animation emphasis: Animation Inside Out.

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The Kansas City FilmFest is celebrating its 18th year and unites educational, cultural and film organizations in a celebration of independent filmmaking. Each year the festival builds on its tradition of bringing inspiring, thought-provoking, and entertaining films to Kansas City audiences and offers opportunities for artists and filmmakers to network, and develop their craft and art. KCFF encourages filmmakers to attend the festival so they can have the opportunity to interact and engage with our great Kansas City audiences! The Kansas City FIlmFest will be celebrating its18th year with a special animation emphasis: Animation Inside Out.


The Kansas City FilmFest is the largest film festival in the Kansas City Metro Area.  Kansas City FilmFest is a festival of juried films, seminars, panels, receptions and parties. It’s a collaborative, multi-day, annual cultural event designed to celebrate the creativity and hard work of independent filmmakers from around the world! A mix of local, national and international award winning films are screened over a period of 7 days.

The 18th Annual Kansas City FilmFest is celebrating a special emphasis on animation, Animation Inside Out; with expanded animation programming, competition and prizes, special guests, panels and seminars.

Over the years, our visiting filmmakers let us know how much they’ve enjoyed screening for, and interacting with, our engaged and enthusiastic audiences! Filmmakers planning on attending should notify Kansas City FilmFest as soon as possible so their names may be listed in the scheduled program with their film to be in attendance. Visiting Filmmakers, Jurors and Special Guests will be invited to attend a complimentary KC BBQ Crawl, along with opportunities to tour other KC landmarks including the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Seminars with local and national film professionals are held on various aspects of filmmaking. Visiting filmmakers, industry professionals and Kansas City audience members socialize at special events and parties throughout the festival.

Women Making Movies is a sidebar during the festival that focuses on the unique contributions of women making films. Top women film professionals share their experiences and work through film programs, seminars and panel discussions. The 2014 theme: Challenging Gender Stereotypes On and Off Screen.

CinemaJAZZ, originating in 2006, is a program intended to bridge two artistic communities – jazz and film. The program includes screenings of juried media works inspired by jazz, curated screenings, seminars and live jazz performances. This program was developed as a collaboration of the Jubilee, Mutual Musicians Foundation and the American Jazz Museum.

Final jurors for KC FilmFest 2014 will come from a selection of industry professionals in filmmaking, distribution, film media, and festival programmers from Sundance, AFI Silverdocs, Slamdance, SXSW and more.


Kansas City Women In Film & Television has partnered with KC FilmFest for an annual short screenwriting competition aimed to promote the work of women screenwriters/filmmakers and to support their effort to make their short film with a $1000 prize. The Short Screenplay Contest will provide a female screenwriter/filmmaker the opportunity to bring her vision from the page to the screen. The finalists will get a staged reading of their short screenplays at the festival and one-on-one meetings with screenwriting mentors.


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NYFA Presents Their Resources at KCAI on April 23 at the Warehouse Studios

NYFA 530_630pm

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Life After KCAI: Maegan Stracy (fiber ’12)

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Maegan Stracy is currently preparing for Kansas City Fashion Week, February 28-March 2. Maegan will launch her new line of unconventional clothes and accessories on February 28 at the 28 event space in the crossroads. Tickets are still available online. Although this is her first time at KCFW, this recent graduate of KCAI fiber’s program has plenty of experience getting ready for the runway.

18th Street Fashion Show

Maegan participated in the West 18th Street Fashion Show both her sophomore and junior year at KCAI. Before Maegan considered participating, she was an intern for designer, Peggy Noland. Maegan assisted Peggy with creating costumes for musicians such as Fisherspooner, Peaches and SSION, as well as help with maintaining Peggy’s 18th street retail store on First Fridays. Peggy’s highly encouraging words “you should just do it, it will be fun!” motivated Maegan to give it a go. Both events have an open call for designers.

Maegan says the fashion scene in Kansas City is not concerned with big brands or ready for retail garments like other Fashion Weeks. Kansas City fashionistas are more interested in a spectacle. Avant-guard entertainment is encouraged over commercial pursuits, perfect for a budding artist like Maegan to experiment.

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So what is Maegan’s advice for a KCAI student considering a career in fashion? 


Scheduling is key when assembling a fashion show. You have to coordinate with a lot of people: producers, stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists, models and photographers. You also have to account that the garments will fit the models and that everyone can be available on the big night.

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Is it more than just a line on your resume?

Maegan was offered an amazing opportunity from the Nelson Atkins Museum towards the end of her senior year. Fiber professor, Alison Heryer, suggested that Maegan would be the perfect fit for a commission to design new bags for the museum’s docents. She created sketches and samples, and was able to set her own hourly rate. Maegan suggests that students be clear about how long it will take to complete the project when they accept a commission. Not everyone outside of a four-year college program understands a student’s schedule or their academic commitments. Students should provide a timeline, and also consider if the commission is worth the time and stress. Students should ask themselves before saying yes, ‘will it be a good experience with contacts that could potentially lead to future opportunities after KCAI?’

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Maegan can’t stress networking enough to students.

Maegan participated in the collegiate Artist Inc. 12 following graduation. 12 KCAI and 12 UMKC conservatory students are recruited for a four-week professional development seminar run by several arts organizations in Kansas City. Maegan expressed that the fiber department’s Professional Practice curriculum gave her plenty of preparation, but she enjoyed the refresher, and connecting with the UMKC students and her group leader, Jose Faus.

Shortly after graduation, Maegan accepted a full-time position as technician for KCAI’s fiber department. She says it wasn’t difficult to snag this job opportunity. She had spent several years as the work-study student for the department, so, she already knew everyone and everyone knew her work ethic. Although she is juggling a full-time day job and full-time art life, Maegan is happy to still be around students and especially the facilities.

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Explore and connect with your community.

Maegan and fellow fiber alumna, Skye Livingston, are using the new fiber Warehouse studios to create dynamic programing for students. Maegan’s says that the mentality amongst students is that they need to be working in their studio all the time, but forget how important it is to see what is happening in the community. So, Skye and Maegan brought the work of several alumni into the Warehouse gallery with their first curation Line, Pattern, Repeat. They will also host interdepartmental critiques on Tuesday, March 12th and Tuesday, April 16th from 6-9 pm.  These will be held in the Warehouse studios, but is open to all students. This program was implemented to give students the opportunity to talk about their work and get feedback from students in other departments in a more relaxed critique environment without faculty involvement. Sign up is first come first served. Maegan will send out an email with all the information to students very soon.  To find out more about Maegan and her events, contact her at or visit

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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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Alumni On View: Matt Jacobs and David Rhoads “Playtime” at City Ice Arts

Don’t miss your chance to see Playtime an exhibition of recent works by Matt Jacobs (sculpture & art history ’10) and David Rhoads (painting ’10) on view at City Ice Arts through January 28.

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The KCAI Case Study had a Q&A with Matt Jacobs and David Rhoades to discuss the exhibition and their professional life after KCAI.

Can you tell me about some of the achievements you’ve made since graduating from KCAI? 

Jacobs: Since graduating I’ve spent 3 weeks traveling in Japan, completed a 4 month internship at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, and an 8 week residency at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts in Seydisfjordur, east-Iceland. I’ve curated several shows locally, and raised funds through Kickstarter to support my residency. I’ve also continued and developed my studio practice, showing work nationally and internationally. Some highlights have been solo shows in both Marfa and Seydisfjordur, and group shows at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, Wonderfair Gallery and Shoppe in Lawrence, Kansas, at local spaces here in KC like Spray Booth Gallery, and of course this show with Dave at City Ice Arts. I’ve also got some exciting shows coming up later in the year!

Rhoads: Immediately after graduating I was accepted into the Urban Culture Project Studio Residency. This was a great transition toward art-making out of school. The other residency I’ve done was at the Vermont Studio Center. I had heard about it during school and it was important for me to do something outside of Kansas City.
Spraybooth Gallery’s very first show, 6ix, was really important for a lot of us that had just graduated because we were trying to establish ourselves as part of the art scene as quickly as we could. And we did everything for it ourselves and made it our own. From the curating, to the installing, to completing the press and getting it reviewed. One last highlight would be, Between Thee and Me, a group exhibition at the Greenlease gallery. It was nice to get accepted. Everyone should go there more often.

How are you currently generating an income and is it art related? 

Jacobs: I’m doing a little bit of everything these days. I’ve worked at a restaurant on and off for several years and that’s my steady income. Otherwise I’ve been asked to do some writing and teaching. I also work for the Kemper Museum on a project basis, and as a studio-assistant for several local artists. Some combination of all that usually winds up paying the bills.

Rhoads: I am a full-time Associate Preparator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. So I handle, install and pack all the work for the museum.

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How did this exhibition come together, and how did you approach the gallery? Do you have any advice for students on how to put together a professional exhibition and be responsible when working with a gallery?

Jacobs: Dave and I shared a studio for about a year and a half when we were roommates just after graduation. During this time we gained a good sense of each other’s work, process, and style. When we first came to work with City Ice Arts, which was then called City Arts Project, it was on a curatorial project called Twenty Something. We put on this show of 8 young Kansas City artists whose work we admired. All the while planning Twenty Something, we had also been working towards a two person show later that year. I think what has motivated us in doing this show was the belief that our work would sit really well with each other and especially in the space of City Ice Arts gallery.
As far as advice goes, I would say try to do as much as you can. For past shows I’ve done everything from printing checklists to mopping the gallery floors, not to mention making and installing all the work. I think it’s good practice to put together a show from the ground up, because you learn how to do all the little things that make up a gallery show. Until you start showing with an established gallery that will do all of that stuff for you, you’ll probably have to do it yourself. Why not try to make it as legitimate as possible?

Rhoads: This exhibition first came into being because Matt and I had the opportunity to curate a show at the space over a year ago. Which was entitled “Twenty Something.” That made familiarized us with the space and because of that we were supposed to have a two-person show in May of 2012. Due to complications between Gallery owners/operators, our show fell through. Then under new management many months later we were actually approached about still doing our show. So that’s where Playtime came from.
As far as advice for working with galleries: Get to know them and their artists and the exhibitions they hold long before asking them for anything. Once they know you and they know that you are supporting your community and continue to make work outside of school they will become much more interested.

Are you seeking exhibition opportunities outside of Kansas City? What resources do you visit to find these opportunities?

Jacobs: Yes. When I find a new artist I like, I’ll check out their CV to see where they went to school and where they’ve shown. There’s nothing wrong with spying how other people have done it.
Also I’ve applied for shows through Charlotte Street’s email updates, a great resource for local and regional opportunities.
Honestly, how I’ve been most successful is just meeting new people and networking. Inviting a new friend to my studio, keeping in touch with friends from school who left KC and opened a gallery, and making a point to introduce myself to curators have all been good ways to get people interested in my work.

Rhoads: I really just got started in this field myself. I focused on the work in a lot of ways for the past year or two. I know that there are many email lists to get on to help: Charlotte Street, The Bemis, Re-title, Café’ Artists Opportunities, and I think other artists are a great resource.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your time at KCAI about being a professional artist? What didn’t you learn then that you know now?

Jacobs: At KCAI: that being an artist is not glamorous, pretty, easy, or always fun. It takes hard work and commitment on a daily basis.
After KCAI: Knowing when to have confidence is one thing, knowing when to show it is something else completely.

Rhoads: At KCAI: That it is not ALL about the work. Yes the work is why you should do it and it should be the driving force, but you have to give time for professional practice.
After KCAI: Everything slows down after graduating. And it is all up to you do make of it what you want. If you want to do this or go there, no one is going to walk you step by step on how to do that. You have to figure it out.

How do you keep yourself informed about what’s happening in the fine art world, post-college?

Jacobs: I look at a lot of art magazines and websites. I have a subscription to Art in America and I look at sites like and Subscribing to sites like E-flux and Re-title keep me up with show announcements. I try to read the NY Times art section regularly, and visit museums when I travel.

Rhoads: Go to (shows) everything!

Any additional wisdom you would like to share with students?

Jacobs: Contact artists you like. We live in a fortunate time where you can talk to almost anyone in the world via email. When I find a new artist, sometimes I’ll send them a short email saying what I enjoy about their work and attach a link to my own website. It feels a little silly sometimes, but it’s great when they write back and you make a new connection with someone you’ve never even met in person.
Also you must have a good website, period. I’ve run mine through Cargo Collective for over a year, and I’m really happy with it.

Rhoads: The Best advice I can give whether you stay here in Kansas City or go somewhere else. Wherever you end up and whatever your situation is, I think that there are two keys:

  1. Keep making work, no matter what it takes.
  1. Go to (shows) everything you can as often as you can. Get a job that lets you have Friday night off. The more you go to the more you will get noticed and before you know it you will have met everyone in your local art scene. When we graduated we all go together and made a commitment to go to every opening and every talk possible until we made our presence felt.
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Artist Crowdfunding Resources: USA Projects and Artspire

I attended the Alliance of Artist Communities Annual Conference earlier this month.  Residency administrators, artists, and supportive communities congregated  in Kansas City for a few days of discussion and tours. I was able organize an open house at my Urban Culture Project studio for the conference attendees, and network with organizations that provide innovative models for supporting artists.I wanted to share the details about two programs available to students seeking funds.

Katherine DeShaw, Executive Director for United States Artists, Los Angeles, CA, spoke about USA Projects. United States Artists provides an annual unrestricted cash grant of $50k to 50 artists every year. A new addition to their program includes Crowdfunding, specifically for artists projects. Here are the details of why it’s different from KickStarter and other Crowdfunding models.

USA Projects, Not for Profit, Funds artist projects only, STUDENTS QUALIFY!

  • No rewards required
  • Offers Fiscal Sponsorship: Your donors receive a tax write off!
  • Higher rates of pledges by donors because of the Fiscal Sponsorship: Most donations are at the $120 level.
  • USA Projects will match up to 5% of the funds raised!
  • Offers online guidance with your project!
  • Must submit a final report before you can create another project.

Eleanor Whitney from the New York Foundation for the Arts introduced conference attendees to Artspire, NYFA’s Crowdfunding site. Eleanor was scheduled to give a similar presentation at KCAI, but was unable to make it to Kansas City because of Super Storm Sandy. She was however, able to give her presentation at the conference via Skype! If you are not familiar with NYFA YOU SHOULD VISIT THEIR SITE. NYFA provides professional development guidance, national opportunities and job listings for artists as well as grants for artists living in New York. Artspire is geared towards large artist projects and art organizations.

Artspire, Not for Profit, Funds artist projects only, STUDENTS QUALIFY!

  • Offers Fiscal Sponsorship: You donors receive a tax write off!
  • Deadlines to apply: June 30, September 30, December 31, and March 31
  • Artist projects and emerging organizations must have a minimum budget of $15,000
  • If accepted, Artspire charges an 8% administrative fee, $100 contract fee, and a $50 annual renewal fee
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Alumni On View: Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis (ceramics ’03) at Red Star Studios

Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker (ceramics ’03) form the collaborative art and design duo Future Retrieval. Their new work, some of which are inspired by the John & Maxine Belger Family Foundation Collection, is on view at Red Star Studios through January 26. The two artists visited Kansas City this week from Cincinnati, where they are full-time faculty in fine art and ceramics for the University of Cincinnati.

The couple met while attending the ceramics’ program at KCAI, long before they began collaborating. Guy Michael was focused on the vessel and Katie had just begun her exploration with decoration. Following undergrad, Katie attended graduate school at Ohio State University. Guy Michael spent time with studio potters in rural Northern California, before meeting up with Katie at OSU..
Ohio State University exposed both artists to 3D scanning and CNC routing technology. The technology relieved Katie from having to individually hand cut the hundreds of flowers that appear in her dimensional wall paper installations. Guy Michael was enabled to render and shift the scale of the small artifacts from his collection of antiques and taxidermy, most of which wouldn’t survive the casting process. Future Retrieval also used CNC technology to create lithophanes, seen on the bottom of the cups featured in the Red Star exhibit.

In 2008, the couple received a Lighton International Artist Exchange Program grant to travel to the Dresden Porcelain Factory along with KCAI alumna and fellow OSU MFA, Meredith Host, and OSU faculty, Steven Thurston. The four artists were invited to use the factory’s historic molds to make new work, thus began their first collaborative group, Non Fiction Design Collective. The outcome was a variety of humorously juxtaposed flora and fauna themed lamps, vessels and sculptures inspired by their time in Germany. The group exhibited their products at design fairs, but they quickly learned they were not interested in meeting the demands for massed produced items and that they were more interest in one of a kind pieces. Katie and Guy Michael continued experimenting with collaboration and found a balance between their common interests and different skill sets. Each object is a dance between Guy Michael’s slick and simple aesthetics complimented by Katie’s desires to embellish.
That is how Future Retrieval evolved. In 2009 the team was awarded artists grants by the Ohio Arts Council and the City of Cincinnati to fund exhibitions at the Prairie Gallery and Country Club Gallery. Future Retrieval was named a 2011 emerging artist by Ceramics Monthly.

This year, Future Retrieval received a Faculty Development Council Individual Award from the University of Cincinnati for a one month residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. The Taft Museum of Art proposed that Future Retrieval reinterpret some of the museum’s collection for an exhibition. The couple explained the process of 3D scanning a bust of Alfonso Taft for their exhibition titled Still(ed) Life at the Taft during their artist talk. They are also working with Rookwood to make artist one-offs of the company’s products.

The Belger Arts Center asked the couple to visit their collection for inspiration during the planning for Future Retrieval’s exhibition at Red Star Studios. Guy Michael and Dick Belger discovered they both had an affinity for the architect, Bruce Goff, and that Guy Michael had an iron tile collected from the rubble of a Goff designed home. This tile was casted to form the installation on the west and northern walls of the gallery. Guy Michael and Katie appreciated the Tiffany lamps in the Belger collection and decided to incorporate floral details to several pieces in the show. For Guy Michael and Katie, there is still room in this world for beautiful handmade objects with a touch of 21st century technology.

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