Monthly Archives: September 2016

lauren mabry

Kansas City has finally cooled off, but the KC Artist Lifestyle is heating back up with ceramic artist Lauren Mabry (@laurenmabry)! We first ran across Lauren when she generously donated one of her signature Cylinder’s to our Auction several years ago. Her bold colors and hypnotic lines immediately caught our eye and kept us coming back for more. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2007 and since then has been going, going, going! With several awards under her belt and many prestigious solo exhibitions, we are very happy to be able to share Lauren’s work with those of you that might not be familiar.

So, with out further delay, here are a few words about Lauren, her practice and her work in her own words:

“I make sculptures, but I see them as three dimensional paintings made of ceramic and glaze. I am an object maker, but my attraction is primarily to surface; the form is a canvas. The clay forms I produce are elemental, like Cylinders, which allow the highly pigmented glazes to clash and resound with a kind of musical timbre, flowing with movement, creating rich, hypnotic tones and textures. I see the edge of a Cylinder in space as if it were a flattened rectangle, and I compose the surfaces as I shift my perspective between object and image.”

Since we just can’t wait to share Lauren’s amazing artwork with you, here are a few images of Lauren’s artwork and past Instagram photos…

mabry_lauren_image-3_al_9_16     mabry_lauren_image-2_al_9_16     mabry_lauren_image-1_al_9_16

Be sure to follow Lauren on her KCAC Instagram journey starting tomorrow Thursday, September 29th – Tuesday, October 4th!

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 social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jan/Feb 1990

KCAC Forum Magazine Jan/Feb 1990

by Roxane Riva

Outside my window, an aerialist squirrel occasionally slips and swings upside down in his frenetic rush among momentary balance points.  There is a metaphor for the artist here.

But then, making art is making metaphor: a higher, more intense, way of seeing, balancing, knowing.  The metaphors of poetry, of the word arts, are necessarily verbal; those of music, dance, and the visual arts, preverbal.  They precede the word, arrive from a deeper, closer part of the psyche.

There’s agreement between creator and receiver that this paint, this stone, this metal is more than either itself or what it expresses, “a stone, a leaf, an unfound door” into that higher consciousness, which is also (but much greater than) “understanding.”

Many of us make art against the void: to help make sense of the chaos outside (or within), for that amazing “Aha!” moment when a bit of the curtain lifts and maybe we “know” something.  Jane Pronko calls it “finally getting it right”; Will Nettleship, “the truth of what’s inside us.”

Artists speak here to the intensity of their compulsions, to the reasons for it, and to its direction.  For all of us, it is a process, never finished.  Not infrequently, it catching us, like the squirrel, upside down and swaying wildly.

“It’s about the importance of vision, the need to understand the world… You have to create something in order to fully understand it.” – Edra Diaz, artist

“It’s the only thing I’ve ever done that I’ve liked, so its the only thing I’ve ever done.” – Brent A. Powell, painter

“Sometimes I wonder. It’s like an addiction of some sort: When I’m away from it I feel somehow incomplete, not satisfied.  i need the challenge.  Doing, there’s a sense of frustration, but always also of conquering what you’re after.

“There’s an element, as well, of trying to understand yourself. You don’t know why you’re really doing it; but when the work is completed, it tells you something about yourself.” – Jane Pronko, painter

“I haven’t questioned the assumption in many years.  My art is such an assumed necessity for existence – I could cut off both arms [easier than stop making art]. It’s certainly not a rational decision.” – Jim Sajovic, painter

“All I know is that I’m impossible when I am not working. I don’t like myself.  It’s like I’m lost.  i think that in my art I am confronting myself.” -Pat Duncan, photographer, painter

“Reading great writing, particularly poems, has been some of the most intense and heightened experiences I’ve ever known.  I think I write poetry and fiction to try and tap into that power.” – Robert Stewart, writer

“it’s a form of self-expression, discovering those things that are unknown to me visually, making them known, building on that base for still more discoveries.  I have no choice but to make art.  I’m not happy unless I’m doing it.” – Jean Van Harlingen, artist

“As I grew up it became my identity, a way of fitting in. Now, it’s a way for me to express and resolve personal, political, spiritual, scientific concerns, to reconcile these different elements.  In the work that I do, it somehow all comes together.” – Shea Gordon, artist

“There’s no simple answer that’s not flip. Art doesn’t have to be sweet. Beethoven’s ‘Grosse Fugue’ isn’t sweet; its awe inspiring and abrasive, but it makes us aware of being alive.  For me, anyway, art somehow shows us the truth of what’s inside us.” -Will Nettleship, environmental sculptor

“The title ‘artist’ is kind of shit protector. People say ‘That guy’s an artist,’ and you have permission to move through society and explore. in my art, i try to offer something, like the teacup in the Zen ceremony, that is given, turned, taken by the receiver, and then taken back by the giver.” – Bernie Loomis, artist

“To heighten our awareness of life,… to lure and enchant and console others,… to serenade our lovers,… to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection… like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal… to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it.” – Anais Nin, journals


taylor fourt

KC Artist Lifestyle is back this week with local painter Taylor Fourt (@t_fourt)! We are very excited to see what Taylor has coming our way. She caught our attention on Instagram several weeks ago with her playful imagery and her fabulous little peeks into her sketchbooks. We thought she would be a great fit for the KCAC community and so away we go!

Taylor is a painter and illustrator originally from sweet home Alabama. Her personal work emphasizes on the articulate rendering of natural subjects, both whimsical and mundane. Using arranged scenes and objects she explores alternative ways to experiment with gouache. Most of her favorite paintings are not because of the components within them, but how certain colors together create harmony. She particularly enjoys painting delicious looking food and fresh plants, especially if they came from her own garden! Right now she works as a freelance illustrator and collaboratéur, involved with projects like The Adventure Zine and Tapped, a magic fandeck.

So, without further delay, here are a few images of Taylor’s work and past Instagram photos…

fourt_taylor_image-1_web_al_9_16     fourt_taylor_image-2_web_al_9_16     fourt_taylor_image-3_web_al_9_16

Be sure to follow Taylor on her KCAC Instagram journey starting tomorrow Thursday, September 22nd – Tuesday, September 27th!

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 social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jan/Feb 1990

KCAC Forum Jan/Feb 1990

by George Ehrlich

After years of uncertainty, and legal disputations, work has started on the project called River Market. Located in Kansas City’s Old Town District, the 47-acre development is scheduled to include refurbishment of the four-block City Market. the developers have pledged to retain the market buildings, used by small-scale produce outlets and restaurants, and the open-air farmers’ market. The wholesale operations are to be relocated.  The overall objective is to enhance the significance of the City market as a public facility, while integrating it into the larger, mixed-use development.  The latter will include renovation of historic buildings in the area.

This is an exciting agenda, and certainly the goals are laudable.  One can look, as have the developers, at Seattle’s Pike Place Market for a model of a successful, urban marketplace.  That market has captured so enduring a place in the Seattle community that public outcry prevented a proposed redevelopment of its downtown site.  In Kansas City, the early opposition to renovation of its market focused not on saving the facility, but against gentrification, which could easily upset if not destroy the familiar arrangements and funky atmosphere. Thus, Kansas City’s concerns are not those of Seattle’s, and the individual history and character of the two public markets are different, as were the two redevelopment plans.  Nevertheless, Seattle’s much larger and more complex Pike Place Market can provide valuable lessons to the developers, especially in how to make such a place attractive to all the constituents of a multi-cultural society.

In Seattle, people argued that their public market should remain as is, and it enjoys and active, every-day operation.  In contrast, the market in Kansas City has for years carried the burden of limited retail activity except on Saturdays.  To achieve the stated goal of converting the Kansas City market into a successful, seven-day operation will require making changes.  At the same time, the Market’s character as a historic, and special place needs to be retained, even as changes will make it and the surrounding neighborhood into an upscale, mixed-use project that include renovated, historic buildings. A transformation of this sort poses some formidable challenges.

Intelligent redevelopment of a historic district requires developers and their architects to maintain – indeed take advantage of – the historical significance of the property while typically introducing infill structures and new uses for old buildings.  Without question, the City Market is one of the most historically significant places in Kansas City, but that significance is complicated by a history layered with changes.  What part or parts of that history should the redevelopment stress? The buildings now in place on the four blocks making up the City Market date to a redevelopment completed just prior to World War II; however, the market came into existence before the Civil War, and then it occupied only a portion of the Public square, the latter but one-quarter of the site.  in the interval, various alterations periodically changed what we know as the City market.  How then does one take advantage of and make clear the historical significance of the property in question?

We begin with recognizing the Public Square for what it was. Platted in 1846, in a still unincorporated city, the Public Square was initially that in title only, with its most notable feature a diagonal ravine that became an early receptacle for trash and excavation debris.  nevertheless, a portion of the Square soon was used as an open-air market; and in 1856 the city began erecting a combination market and courthouse, on the northwest corner of the Square, at Fourth and Main.  A separate market building was constructed nearby in 1860.  this was replaced by a new market house occupying the east half of the Square in 1889. By 1892, a new city hall occupied the corner at Fourth and Main Streets, with a formal garden filling the corner by Fifth Street.  Other changes followed, and market activity expanded north, across Fourth Street, while two buildings displaced the garden.  Completion of the new city hall in 1937, at Eleventh and Oak Streets, set the stag to clear the Public Square, which then became part of an expanded City Market.

This summary suggests factors that should be considered in the redevelopment of the city’s public market, if historical character is to be emphasized.  First is the concept and the reality of a Public Square.  The reality of the designation remains, but the long dormant concept has been informally conferred on the recently redesigned Allis Plaza, in the heart of the city’s Convention Center District, a place with a very different history. Second is the fact that city government operated out of the Square for 80 years, giving the corner facing Fourth and Main Streets special significance, one all but lost except for an entrance to the present market at that point.  Third is the persistence of a market activity for 140 years, despite the many and often radical changes affecting Old Town.  That continuity carries a weight that has been recognized, making the City Market a special place in the city, one different from other open, urban spaces, such as Allis Plaza.

The redesign of Allis Plaza successfully incorporated principles extracted from the research of William H. Whyte on the social use of small urban places, but Kansas City’s essentially anonymous Public Square and its under-utilized City Market present a different set of problems for the architects.  here, history must be made somehow tangible, a venerable but ailing marketplace must be made vital yet remain familiar, while retaining its distinctive utilitarian role in the city’s life.

The arrangement to house the artifacts salvaged from the steamboat Arabia in a museum in the Market’s east building will introduce a new activity to the market area, but it does link with the Square.  The Levee, at which the Arabia once docked, was reached by Main and Market (now Grand) Streets; and the year the Arabia sank, 1856, also dates construction of the first public building on the square.  A historical display of the early history of the city, especially of the Public Square and the City Market, using models showing various stages of development, would place the Arabia and still-standing historic structures, plus the inevitable new construction, into a context that could be comprehended by all: visitor and resident, history buff or novice to the pageant that is history.  Colored pavers within the market could outline the Square the the buildings that once stood there.

Also important is the need to respect the physical reality of the plat of Old Town, of which the Public Square and thus the City Market are key elements.  Preservation of the integrity of Main Street, the spine of the 19th-century city, is, in my judgement, extremely important.  Various redevelopments, including those that produced the present City Market and the later reconfiguration of the landscape between Sixth and Ninth Streets, have severely altered the Character of Main Street, to the degree that a historic restoration is neither feasible nor desirable.  However, that portion flanking the City market should at least receive a design that informs visitors of how the public Square and the City Market integrated with Old Town, the locale out of which modern Kansas City grew.

Developers frequently state more ambitious goals than those proposed above, and on occasion they actually make them happen.  Historians, too, can dream of what might be, but perforce we concentrate on trying to comprehend the past in order to understand what happened, and why.  In this case, it seems clear to this historian of the built environment that the River Market / City Market – and the Public Square – should represent where the past and the future seem truly interdependent in Kansas City.  The task is to produce and implement a design that makes the interdependence visible and thus intelligible.