Category Archives: Lecture

throwback thursday — FORTY YEARS AGO


Where it all began...


KCAC 40 Anniversary
Bennett-Marak Painting Studio
March 5, 1975

Objective: To encourage  feeling of unity among Kansas City visual artists.
Topic: “How the Artist Can Benefit from Centralization”

Panelists: Doug Drake, Doug Drake Gallery
John Lottes, Kansas City Art Institute, President
Thorpe Menn, Kansas City STAR, Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Thomas, Mayor’s Council on the Arts

Sponsor: River Quay Art Association



Approximately one-half of those attending the first meeting completed and turned in the questionnaires. Most other requested their names be put on the Newsletter mailing list.


1. The groups is almost exactly balanced, male and female.
2.55% are from Missouri, the majority of Kansas City.
3. 85% list their occupation as Artists, including 27% who are also art educators.
15% are made up of students, housewives, writers, and architects.
4. 83% are actively seeking professional and public recognition for their work through shows, and exhibits, competitions, sales, and trying to increase newspaper coverage.
5. 63% fell Kansas City is not responding to their needs as artists, or responding very little. 18% feel it is responding, (perhaps they could tell the others in what way and how). 18% were unsure.
6. 67% do not desire studio space with other artists. 17% do and 16% might.
7. 70% are not interested in renting studio space in River Quay, 15% are and a 15% might.
8. Everyone but 2 are interested or could be interested in a Coop Gallery.

1.Communication with other artists. Sense of community.
2. More exposure, exhibit space, galleries.
3.Stronger voice in larger numbers.
4. Better publicity, media coverage, public relations.
5. Personal/Professional development.
6.An active newsletter for communication.
7. Sales.
8. Finding reputable agents.
9. Having an armory show.
10. A coop gallery.

1. For communication with other artists. What’s going on in K.C.
2. To support the local artist community. To help local visibility.
3. Professional development through communication.
4. To discover the potential for cooperative action.
5. To hear the panel.
6. Dumb question.

This group is professional in their aspirations for exhibitions, sales, and the desire for public recognition. As a group of self-motivated, self-determining professional artists, the body has potential to advance those aspirations.

The survey, together with comments at the first meeting, would indicate that a large number of the group felt that some such self-initiated movement or organization is the only alternative to an existing non-situation in Kansas City, characterized by isolation, elitism, apathy, and ignorance.

Supporting that inference is the 55% of respondents who specified the peer-group association, commonly stated as a “community of artists,” as a major  potential value of such an organization.

A positive commitment to the tangible symbol of professional status, a gallery, was indicated by 72% of the group, with another 22% possibly interest. 33% of the group indicated possible interest in shared studio space.

An important indication, in addition to public recognition and sales, is the desire for a sense of place, identified socially with the group — again to foster free, informal communication.

The recurrence of terms such as “growth as an artist,” and “professional development,” as desirable benefits of participation might suggest the expectation that such a group has educational potential, both formal and informal, which might range from questions of aesthetic value to very technical problems to be shared and solved among the group.

Inherent in some responses and comments is a sense of identity with “real” or “serious” or “professional” artists, indicating that there is much to learn in this form of “real-life” association that is superior to past educational opportunities, either formal or informal.

There is also some indication, form comments and subsequent discussion to the first meeting, that the group wants leadership and a framework for productive activity, but, that it might suffer from over-organization at least at first — and might favor a very flexible non-objective framework in which simply to talk Art. As one participant put it, in the midst of discussing issues, formats, leadership and agendas — “What happened to the Art?”

It would seem therefore, that some middle ground between tight organization and total chaos might best serve this group for large portions of the time together. Note that, while the fist meeting was “led” informal and had a “program,” it drew its greatest energy and excitement form the “town meeting” atmosphere in which anyone at all might be heard and debated.


1.Tax relief for artists
2.The Nelson Gallery
3. Arts vs. crafts
4. K C Star coverage
5. River Quay Art Fair
6. K C Art Institute’s relationship to professional, the community



Fabrizio Acquafresca Lecture


Last night I had the great opportunity to hang out a little later than usual at KCAC and listen to a great lecture from a remarkably talented individual. Fabrizio Acquafresca is a chasing and repoussé artist from Florence, Italy. He is currently in Kansas City teaching a class at Genevieve Flynn Studio, but we were more than happy for him to take a break from class and spend some time in the Project Room talking about his family, work and world travels.

For those of you that might not be familiar with the terms chasing and repoussé I have traveled over to the ever handy Wikipedia to find a nice and succinct definition for you! Repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. This particular method of decorative artistry has been a long standing tradition in European decorative arts and is still highly regarded in the metals worlds today.

Fabrizio’s family has been working and creating fantastic works of art since the 14th century so you can only imagine the amazing stories that we were regaled with last night. The first was of a distant relation who created the breech loading system for guns which would be the precursor for automatic weapons of the future. Next we heard stories of the creation of a caviar dish made from 25 pounds of silver for the Prince of Brunei. Then we heard of a bathtub made entirely from silver for a Russian client with bronze fish for the spouts. But I think the most amazing story for me of the night were of the Bible covers he has created for the past three Popes of Vatican City. He has crafted Bible covers for Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict and the current Pope Francis. The stories were remarkable and extraordinary. We spent the evening laughing and in awe of the wondrous works and tales that Fabrizio shared with us throughout the night. I hope that he returns soon to share with us what I am sure are to be more grand stories and tales that make us smile and stare in open mouthed awe at what he calls the life in a day of Il Maestro Acquafresca.

boar-and-grapes img        img

For more information on Fabrizio please visit his website or maybe take a class at one of the many workshops he teaches in Italy at Alchimiaor Lorenzo de Medici The Italian International Institute. Then make sure to share your remarkable stories and travels with us!

Marissa Flynn


Exciting Thinkers in Art at the Nelson-Atkins: Jerry Saltz


Last night I arrived at the Nelson-Atkins to a lobby buzzing with people excitedly waiting in line to enter the Atkins Auditorium. We were all there to hear the last lecture in the series “Exciting Thinkers in Art”. As I took my seat it dawned on me how appropriate it was to end such a spectacular series with a truly exciting lecture such as the one and only Jerry Saltz.

For those of you that might not be familiar with Mr. Saltz, he is the Senior Art Critic for the New York Magazine. His witty comments and humor have carved out a special niche among the critics of New York and around the world. But aside from this, Jerry Saltz has created something of an artist commune through the social media world of Facebook. He poses questions and raises issues each day to his followers and encourages them to begin dialogues and to argue amongst themselves. His approach to critic and art is very different than many of his contemporaries which in turn creates a refreshing perspective and opinion

Mr. Saltz began his lecture last night with a very simple statement that seemed to set the tone for the whole night, “Artist’s are weird. Really weird.”

I can only liken the feeling throughout the night as though listening to Mel Brooks talk about art and artists in an intimate setting. I laughed until I cried. But the best part of the whole lecture was that Mr. Saltz not only spoke directly to every single artist in the audience, but also helped each of us to remember not to take art so seriously. At one point, Mr. Saltz declared that in his opinion “85% of the art I see is crap, but all of our 85% is different. This is the beauty of art.” He helped us to remember that what he writes is merely his opinion. He reminded us that he has no real power over artists, art careers or their success.

Towards the end of his lecture, Mr. Saltz took a minute to reminded artists that it is important to create community/gangs and within these gangs to stay up late, talk, disagree and support one another. Saltz spoke of the importance of studio time and that even when you don’t know what you are doing, work! Work in times of good, bad or whatever. He told artists to allow themselves to create crap and to not be the best because this will take us somewhere. Simply put Jerry Saltz tells us not to be afraid. Do not be afraid to pursue anything because of outside or internal demons. By ignoring the demons we allow the real art to come out and that is when we create true art.

Tonight Jerry Saltz will be speaking here at KCAC in regards to the River Market Regional Exhibition that he juried. I encourage each and everyone of you to join us this evening for a night that is sure to be full of laughter, surprises and lots of art! Here are a few pieces that will be here tonight in the River Market Regional Exhibition.

Bussell_Joe_Spitfire-No-3_EX_13 Trease_Fred_Toyland-No-1_EX_13 Lighton_Linda_Cause-and-Effect_EX_13 Clements_Kate_Blue-Bridesmaid_EX_13

Works from top left to bottom right: Joe Bussell, Fred Trease, Linda Lighton & Kate Clements

Marissa Flynn


Laura McPhee Lecture at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The works of Laura McPhee have haunted me since the opening of her exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in May. I just couldn’t seem to shake them, so I was thrilled to be able to attend her lecture last night at the Kemper and to get a chance to revisit the works with the artist.

The format of the pieces is shocking! They are gigantic. Each piece measures six by eight feet with at least 15 images on display. I can only assume that McPhee chose this size in order to place the audience directly into each piece, and it certainly works. No matter what distance you are from the piece you can faintly see yourself reflected in the image. You are transported to each wondrous scene she brings into the gallery space.

The body of work that McPhee presents to us at the Kemper is from a period of time she spent in the Sawtooth Valley in central Idaho. The works range from images of the land to the people inhabiting the largely desolate area.

McPhee addresses many subjects throughout the series but I was most drawn to three specifically. The first was of a little girl named Mattie. McPhee creates various juxtapositions with Mattie as a young 21st century girl growing up in a Western community working in a farming community.

7 15

The second series that took my breath away were her images of the simple beauty in the landscape of what seems to be an untouched environment.

2 22

And third, were the images of a vast forest fire that occurred during McPhee’s residency.

21 11

Each work is remarkable on its own, but together these pieces will stay with you for a lifetime. McPhee’s works are something that each of you should take some time with before the show comes down on September 22. Please go enjoy the art that is right here in our beautiful and artistic Kansas City community!

Marissa Flynn