Monthly Archives: August 2015

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Summer 1979

KCAC Forum Magazine Summer Issue 1979

by Suzanne Richards

A lot has happened this year.  Last fall as the art season got underway, there was a stirring of ideas needing to be developed; and today, a day falling close to the end of May, the art community is literally bursting with activity and promises for much, much more to come.  As the Greater Kansas City Arts Council poster (and first project) states, it’s truly a Flowering of the Arts in Kansas City!

Probably the most exciting step forward has been the hiring of Herb Haslam, a professional arts management consultant, to come in and assist the community in establishing an arts council.  This culminates many, many hours and months of phone calling and meetings by a number of people who were very anxious that this happened.  We are most fortunate to receive his assistance considering the national demand for his services.

To go backwards for a minute to describe the existing conditions in Kansas City for all the arts groups, certain words come to mind such as underground, isolated, fragmented, not visible.  And, to go back even further, these same words applied to that time before there was a Kansas City Artists Coalition.  So, if one wanted to make parallels, and see how far we’ve come and use KCAC’s progress in five years as an example, then it is exciting to think about the next five years ahead for all the arts groups in Kansas City.  This unification brings the necessary ingredient, power, that none of us have individually.

To pause for a moment, now, in the middle and contemplate how Herb came to be hired, it is interesting to note that this actually came out of a Coalition meeting last December which Mayor Wheeler and Joan Dillon attended as guest panelists, to listen to the needs of the visual artists.  My interest and pursuit in locating studio and exhibition space for KCAC in conjunction with dancers, actors, and musicians, resulted in a request for the City to help us find space; this developed into several meetings in the Mayor’s office over a period of two months whereby we pursued the project with the assistance of various city departments and school board officials.  At this time the four groups (KCAC, Kansas City Ballet, Missouri Dance theater, and Mimewock) decided to form an arts alliance in order to speak with one voice.  As the city was beginning to dig out of a New Year’s day blizzard, we met the night of January 2nd at the Prospect of Westport.  Including other small arts groups, who were showing an interest, we became aware there was a tremendous need for an arts alliance and that there were even more groups in our community who wanted to join. So we held another meeting two weeks later, the group doubling and tripling each time. It became obvious at this meeting that what we should do was to unite with the large groups as well and open it up to everyone, take our time and do it right.  To the next meeting (the third) on March 8th, every known arts group within the Greater Kansas City area was invited.  This amounted to over 200 groups.  The momentum continued and the excitement was overwhelming.  During the next couple of months, several meetings of the 15-member ad hoc study committee were held to study questionnaires, plan projects, and research community arts councils across the country.  Also during this time, other community supporters were meeting in other parts of the city and they, too had been wanting an arts council.  On May 2nd they announced a move in our direction, for which we are all very grateful; they provided the funds to underwrite Herb Haslam’s technical assistance needed to develop a variety of projects – one of them being the workspace for artists.

So, in looking ahead, there are several interesting projects in the works; formation of a Greater Kansas City Arts Council, a Creative Artists Center, a centralized ticket center, and making City in Celebration an annual event.  And, to add to this growing list are more plans that stem from the interaction of arts groups.  The Lyric Opera is investigating the possibility of using area artists to develop artwork based on the upcoming season’s operas; these artworks produced in limited edition prints (similar to the Metropolitan Opera’s successful program). The Kansas City Ballet has also shown an interest in doing something similar.  The Kansas City Chamber Soloists will be performing concerts in the atmosphere of an artist’s studio next year.  A major hotel being completed here, is interested in looking at our slide bank and would like to emphasize the artists in the community.  The Municipal Art commission, along with Eller Outdoor Advertising, is currently developing a project for this fall which will be an outdoor board art display of local artists.  This project involving city government and business in promoting the visual arts is a very exciting one, and we hope it will be an on-going annual event.  To end this summary with a rather nice, but curious event, a writer for Art in America was recently here investigating the rumored “activity” in our city.  She was very impressed with FORUM, the Artist Choose Artists exhibition at UMKC, our slide bank, the artists she talked with, and the energy she felt. We’ll have the wait and see “how” impressed.

I hope all these exciting developments will generate more public interest, but especially hope all of you will join in and offer your talents and services in making this a bigger and greater achievement so Kansas City can proudly take is cultural place, as it justly deserves, with other cities.

Jane Booth

KCAC Artist Lifestyle is here AGAIN and we are thrilled to announce long time KCAC artist, patron and general good feelings advocate, Jane Booth (@scissorpaperrock)!

Jane is a local Kansas City painter known for her abstract approach utilizing bright, big and bold marks. Her works bring the audience in and envelop her viewers in a giant hug of color.

Jane had her first KCAC solo exhibition in the Mallin Gallery in 2008. Her works have also been shown in various KCAC group shows including the most recent re:MEMBERS exhibition which closed at KCAC this month.

“My painting process is tactile, starting with 50 yard rolls of raw canvas, thumped to the floor, unrolled, measured and cut. Rich stains of colors are mixed-poured-pushed into the canvas while it’s on the ground. The colors initially laid down become the atmosphere and environment in which the painting lives. The canvas is tacked to a wall and opaque mark making begins a free moving, playful intuitive process. The last step is the much longer quiet work of looking, studying, adjusting, movements stemming from deeply interior shifts, gentle and delicate, as a compass needle swings back and forth and finally slows, until the work comes into balance.”

We are looking forward to seeing Jane fill the KCAC Instagram account with her bright abstract paintings, artistic process and her inspiration as she begins her #KCACArtistLifestyle journey. Here is a look at some of Jane’s past Instagram photos and artworks…

Image-1  Image-2  Image-3

Be sure to follow Jane on her KCAC Instagram journey Thursday, August 27th – Tuesday, September 1st!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search all social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum May 1979

KCAC Forum Magazine May 1979

UMKC Art Gallery
April 22 – May 31

by Burton Dunbar, Chair of UMKC Art and Art History Department

The Artists Choose Artists exhibit is an important one, not only because it is good art based on an innovative invitational concept, but also because it raises some concerns about the university gallery and local art that all of us should think about.

This exhibition illustrates one of several goals that our young gallery has tried to attain in this three year history: the support of area artists.  During these years we have kept our goals sharply in focus by limiting our exhibition programs to a few basic ideas.  As these ideas are defined, mainly through the efforts of Hollister Sturges, Lee Anne Miller, and Myrna Burks, we continually asked ourselves what needs we should be addressing for a community that was already serviced by the Nelson Gallery, by several good commercial galleries, and by the exhibitions programs of other educational institutes. Our main objectives have been to insure that all our exhibitions are always an integral part of our educational programs in the Art and Art History Department, to make the visual arts a significant part of the cultural profile of the university campus itself, and finally, to provide another art resource for the community at large.  Specifically, we have limited our exhibits to contemporary art.  Whenever possible it is our intent to exhibit works of art by nationally known artists and to bring the artists themselves on campus to discuss their works in open forums with students and the public. Our schedule is also filled with student exhibitions, exhibits by our faculty, and, as with Artists Choose Artists, area artists.  The quadripartite personality of the university gallery has created four distinctively different audiences reflecting the four types of exhibits that we present.

This admittedly heterogeneous schedule is, to me, completely justifiable within the context of what a university gallery should be all about, but is has been the subject of discussion and some criticism, especially by non-artists in the city.  The most frequent criticism I have heard is from those who would like us to focus still more attention on nationally known artists and devote less of our exhibition schedule to students, faculty, and local art.  I can well understand the desire to see more nationally known artists lecture and exhibit in our city.  It is incumbent upon us all to introduce Pearlstein and Hockney and Hartigan to the art public of Kansas City.  This is especially important for many students, raised as they have been on magazine cover art, who are more often than not content with the provincial idea that illustration is the ne plus ultra of visual arts. However, if universities are to continue providing both undergraduate and graduate students with the idea that they are artists, we must at least give them the practical experience of exhibiting in a competitive way while they are still students.  The university art faculty also should have the opportunity to exhibit new work at least once a year to their students and to their university colleagues in other disciplines.  Student art and faculty art, then, like exhibits of national artists, are part of the total educational experience of the university gallery.

But why should a university gallery such as ours exhibit work by area artists? I am always disturbed by the question itself, because inherent in it is the implication that local art is less than it should be.  What the university can contribute to help alleviate this idea is the opportunity of area artists to exhibit together.  The significance of this current exhibit by the Coalition members is that it shows area art to have variety, strength, and innovation.  What it lacks, it seems to me, is more local patronage and more exhibitions devoted to it.  What it needs is the complete eradication of the misconception that what is local cannot be much significant aesthetic value. Artists Choose Artists, Kansas City Area Artists, Women Artists ’77, Thirty Miles of Art, and the Pioneer Life exhibit are all positive steps toward changing the image of the Kansas City area artists.  What still needs to be stressed, however, is the ability of the local artist to be recognized on the national and regional scenes.  Because I work with area artists, I know how successful they are in having their works accepted regularly in national juried exhibitions, that many receive prizes in them, and that some are represented in New York galleries. I think these facts need to be made more widely known to the Kansas City Art public for these facts reinforce that Coalition artists especially are local only for their residence, not in the scope of their art.

Now: How times have changed! Local pride in Kansas City (arts, sports, and more) is at an all time high and continues to draw more national attention to the region. For a long time, Kansas Citians could sense what a great thing we had going here; can you imagine a time when that wasn’t the case?

Jamie Bates-Slone

KCAC Artist Lifestyle is back and this week we are featuring the ever so talented ceramic artist Jamie Bates-Slone (@jamiebatesslone)!

Jamie is currently the Foundation Resident at Red Star Studios here in Kansas City and we are very excited to get some insider looks at the facility and her art making process while in residence.

“The focus and significance of my work lies in the state of the human condition, the delicacy and fragility of the human construct in an emotional and physical sense. Through conjured memory, I revisit my family’s history with illness and premature death.  These memories are flooded with emotion and anxiety that I use as the base of my sculptural work.”

We are looking forward to seeing Jamie fill the KCAC Instagram account with lots of bold and bright ceramic figures on her #KCACArtistLifestyle journey. Here is a look at some of Jamie’s past Instagram photos and artworks…

Bates-Slone_Jamie_Image-2_WEB_AL_8_15  Bates-Slone_Jamie_Image-3_WEB_AL_8_15  Bates-Slone_Jamie_Image-1_WEB_AL_8_15

Be sure to follow Jamie on her KCAC Instagram journey Thursday, August 20th – Tuesday, August 25th!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search all social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle