Category Archives: KCAI Alumni Happenings

Student Opportunity Deadline: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Graduate Arts Award enables students or recent alumni with exceptional artistic or creative promise and financial need to pursue up to three years of study at an accredited graduate institution in the US or abroad. Awards can be as much as $50,000 annually. In 2014, the Foundation will select up to 20 recipients for this award.

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The award provides funding for tuition, living expenses, required fees, and books. Scholarship amounts vary based on several factors, including cost at the institution each recipient attends and other grants and scholarships the student receives. Applicants must be planning to pursue a career as a practicing artist to be eligible for this award.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Jack Kent Cooke Scholars possess exceptional academic records and demonstrate unmet financial need. At a minimum, each candidate for the Graduate Arts Award must have:

  • Senior standing or have graduated from an accredited four-year US college or university with the past five years.
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.20 or better on a scale of 4.0 (or the equivalent).
  • Demonstrated unmet financial need.
  • A bachelor’s degree by the start of the fall 2014 semester.
  • Plans to begin their first graduate degree program in the performing arts, visual arts, or creative writing at an accredited college or university in the fall of 2014.
  • Not have been previously nominated for the Graduate Arts Award.

While the Foundation considers artistic and creative merit first in evaluating candidates, competitive applicants must also demonstrate significant unmet financial need, which has two components:

  • Education costs that are appreciably greater than the total amount of other grants or scholarships the applicant receives.
  • Insufficient student and family income to meet educational costs.

For more information on how to apply, see

The Graduate Arts Award has a two-phase application process (and an internal KCAI selection process)

Phase One deadline is November 26, 2013 (closes at 12:00 p.m., noon, Central Time)

Phase One application requirements include:

  • Online application, including academic and financial information
  • Portfolio, including descriptions and summary
  • One online recommendation from a professor or instructor at your college

If you are selected as a semifinalist based on the Phase One application, you will be invited to submit additional information in Phase Two of the application process.

Phase Two application requirements include:

  • Continuation of student online application, including transcripts
  • Student Financial Form, including a copy of 2012 Federal Tax Return
  • Parent Financial Form, including a copy of 2012 Federal Tax Return (required for applicants under 30 years of age)
  • Second online recommendation
  • Nomination by your undergraduate institution

*****To clarify, college seniors and recent college graduates who are interested in the Foundation’s Graduate Arts Award may apply directly to the Foundation in Phase One of the application process. If a student is invited to continue in Phase Two, he or she must be nominated by the Foundation’s Faculty Representative at their institution. Each college or university may nominate up to two students to be considered for the Graduate Arts Award. The Mobility Committee at KCAI will set an internal campus deadline once the Foundation has invited applicants to continue in Phase Two. Before the Phase Two deadline, the Mobility Committee will notify eligible applicants about an internal selection process. Then the two nominated students will continue with the Phase Two application requirements. Phase Two deadline isFebruary 25, 2014.


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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.

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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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Alumni On View: Nick Cave “Hiding In Plain Sight” at the Austin Museum of Art

My birthday wish this year was to see Nick Cave’s exhibition in my hometown. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed.


Hiding in Plain Sight features a selection of Cave’s spectacular Soundsuits. The Soundsuits stand idly on display throughout AMOA’s first floor, tall and faceless. As sculpture they seem odd and other worldly. Their ornate surfaces are an assemblage of infatuating textures such as mother-of-pearl buttons, sequins, velvet, bundled twigs, and even fleece blankets featuring Disney characters collected from thrift stores. The initial motivation for creating the first Soundsuit evolved from Cave’s feelings  of being rejected because of his identity and race, and the desire to mask and reinvent himself. The Soundsuits transform Cave into another being and elevate the discarded materials used to create them.


The name “Soundsuits” refers to the noise the garments make when they are animated by a human performer. Cave was a dancer with the celebrated Alvin Ailey Dance Company during his time as a student both in Kansas City and New York City. Two videos are also featured in the exhibition. The Soundsuits are truly amazing in action and reflect his fascination with global cultures and carnivals.  It must have been the night of a lifetime to see them come to life at KCAI’s 125th Anniversary Gala.

I find Nick Cave to be one of KCAI’s  most fascinating alumni. He is a fine artist with an interdisciplinary practice of sculpture, costuming, and performance who continually collaborates with the community to make all of his projects possible. Cave often works with different educational institutions to get students involved in the construction and new choreography for the Soundsuits. He travels the world for  inspiration, exhibitions and commissions including places like New York, Miami, Italy, Hong Kong and France. Cave’s work mused the collections of many fashion designers and was  featured in the September 2012 issue of Harper’s Bizarre and  2010 issue of  Vogue Magazine. He is the Chair of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago  fashion program and keeps his studio workshop on the South-side of Chicago.


Hiding in Plain Sight, is on view at the Austin Museum of Art’s Arthouse through February 24th.

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Student Opportunity Deadline: Front Space Seeks Exhibition Proposals for the Spring! Madeline Gallucci (Print ’12) Shares Her Senior Exhibition Experience

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Call for Submissions 2013
FRONT / SPACE is seeking proposals for Spring and Summer 2013 gallery exhibitions. Our storefront gallery challenges us to look for artwork and exhibitions that can in turn challenge the First Friday audience, Crossroads passersby, and drivers scouting for unpaid parking. See our previous solo and group exhibitions, performance, and installations below.
If you’re interested in filling FRONT / SPACE please send an email to by December 15. Include images or links to previous work and ideas for your exhibition and how you would use the space.
Madeline Gallucci (print ’12 and Campus Activities Coordinator) shares tips for preparing a senior show at Front/Space

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I was in contact with Front/Space since the summer before my senior year. I was very interested in their programming and their alternative gallery environment. I asked for a show very early, even before they posted an open call! I sent them my images, and proposed an idea for the space. Since my work was changing so rapidly my senior year, they were a great group to work with and were cool about seeing my work evolve.  I had a studio visit mid-way through winter, when my work was finally coming together. This was important because they were familiar with their space and how it would look (especially in the very large window front!). The visit gave me a better plan for when I came into the space to install in the spring. Once I had finished my drawings, I concentrated on making site-specific installations within the space, by adding objects and architectural details.
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Since Front/Space is also a living space, there was constant activity, people coming in and out while I was installing. I was able to chat, and talk about space concerns, how the show was coming together at almost any hour!
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The group at Front/Space really helped me polish my press release– to send it to the KC Star, The Pitch etc. This was a good way of combining how we both viewed the work and provided a cohesive statement for the show.
Some tips:
-Start early! Think about your ideal space and aim high. Even if you don’t get your first choice, sometimes you’ll be surprised who will work with you. Keep a back up plan. Also research the gallery to see if your work fits into their aesthetic. Do they have a history of working with emerging artists? Do they specialize in showing a specific medium? Don’t be scared to send emails, but remember to keep it professional and ALWAYS say thank you.
-ASK ASK ASK and get out there! Sometimes word of mouth is the best way of finding out who has a space or if they have an opening date that needs to be filled. It is also very important to be at openings and network with galleries, so they remember your face when you come to them with your proposal! Sometimes that’s just as important as putting in long hours in your studio.
-Be flexible. It is your senior show, but the gallery will have the final say. Keep an open mind and realize that you might not be able to fit everything you have worked on over the semester- so work with your gallery to curate the best work for the space. Go for quality over quantity.
Thanks Madeline! If you would like to learn more about Madeline’s work you can visit her website:
If you need any guidance preparing for your senior exhibition, or how to professionally approach a gallery,  you can make an appointment with Calder Kamin, Academic and Career Advisor,
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