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sophia reed

The KCAC Artist Lifestyle project is jumping back into all things art this week with local painter Sophia Reed (@sophiapaints)!

Sophia is a long time KCAC friend and we are on the edge of our seats to see what amazing things she has in store for all of us on her Instagram journey this week! Sophia was an award winner in the 2014 Undergraduate College Student Exhibition and has since then been making amazing artwork and traveling across the country showing the world what she’s got. Her paintings are abstracted visions of the world around her and give us glimpses into her approach to drowned out the cacophony of noise that surrounds us.

Sophia will be exhibiting her latest works Through Waves & The Silent World Below here at KCAC November 10 – 29, 2017! Swing by KCAC for a variety of awesome upcoming events with Sophia this month including:


We are anxious to what Sophia has to share with us, so here are a few words from her about her work and artistic inspiration…

“Gravity, a force constant unless pulled from this world. Flesh, part of my physical self. Art, an uneasy part of me that I run to and from. I am beginning to see how little choice I have in it. I do not know how much I understand about my works but it continues to form from these gravity strained hands.

Language was a system created in order for us to communicate with one another. Art is a language too. Not in black or white, formed sentences, or text, but shapes and colors. Little do I know about my existence, yet I find myself making. We all do it. I am not special. It is special to share it with each other.

Here, I attempt to form words for a language who’s meaning cannot be translated. I do not always know what it is I am doing. I simply find myself in this act of breathing, like you. I am often scared, and other times full of joy. Each day passes, I feel a wildly large spectrum of emotions. We are all living, time continues to pass.

My current works are mostly ocean scenes. I saw something beautiful about the quality of water, something calm yet rigid. A body vast, making up most of our world, yet it is something we know very little about. I often feel this about myself, that there are parts I have not seen. Parts of us that have not been explored. Trying to understand this new world is exciting. I have plunged myself into its depths.

Life at the bottom of the ocean continues to expand our understanding of the world. Ecosystems living without the sun. Colors never before seen. Sometimes this space we live in gets entirely too loud. I wonder about who we might be in a new world, free of the systems we have set up.

I continue through my days, daydreaming of a place like the ocean. Waves of reality break through and I ask myself, can these worlds coexist.”

We just can’t wait to see what Sophia has in store for us, so here are a few images of her artwork and past Instagram photos to get things kicked off…

Reed_Sophia_Image-2_AL_11_17     Reed_Sophia_Image-1_AL_11_17     Reed_Sophia_Image-3_AL_11_17

Be sure to follow Sophia on her KCAC Instagram journey starting tomorrow Thursday, November 2nd – Tuesday, November 7th!

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

bekah bliss

The KCAC Artist Lifestyle project is returning this week with local ceramic artist Bekah Bliss (@bekahblisspottery)!

Bekah is the current ceramic artist-in-residence at 323Clay Studio just a hop, skip and a jump from here in Independence, Missouri. Bekah was born and raised in Kansas City and fell in love with clay during college. Her functional ceramics mixed with natural elements inspired by the desert plant life have us wanting to grab a big cozy blanket, a good book and a mug of hot tea to snuggle into the coming winter!

We are looking forward to what Bekah has to share with us, so here are a few words from her about her work and artistic inspiration…

“As a ceramic artist, I am highly in tune with the tactile. I consider how objects feel: smooth, rough, heavy, or light. Most of my inspiration is drawn from objects in nature. When I go on an adventure, I look for collectible items; sticks, rocks, and plants are my favorite. Whether exploring the Acoma desert or the forest in my own backyard, these objects and their environments continue to leave a huge impression on me and inspire my work.”

We are excited to SEE what Bekah has in store for us, so here are a few images of her artwork and past Instagram photos to get things kicked off…

Bliss_Bekah_Image-1_AL_10_17     Bliss_Bekah_Image-2_AL_10_17      Bliss_Bekah_Image-3_AL_10_17

Be sure to follow Bekah on her KCAC Instagram journey starting tomorrow Thursday, October 26th – Tuesday, October 31st!

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 Dec 1994

KCAC Forum Magazine December 1994

by Bill Wells

Joe Bussell is a painter/sculptor who lived and worked in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1980’s. He has exhibited widely at such galleries as the TAI Gallery in New York, the Actors Institute Gallery in Boston, the MoMing Art Center in Chicago and Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. His work has been reviewed in the New Art Examiner, The Village Voice, US News and World Report, Art in America and The Kansas City Star. He is also represented in the collection of EuroDisney, Paris France. Bussell has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and a Master’s of Fine Arts in painting from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently living in St. Louis and working on his MFA in ceramics at Washington University, where he also teaches.

Bill Wells The years you spent in Kansas City were very productive, in that you always seemed to be making art and exhibiting. Would you consider those years formative in your approach to being an artist?
3Joe Bussell Those were really great years for me and played a big part in my works development. The AIDS crisis was just beginning to get main stream attention and my post-modernist philosophy was starting to hang onto something tangible. My art grew, I grew and Kansas City, at least the Kansas City I knew, i.e. the gay community, the artist, etc., were coming of age. I’d have to say the formative impact happened outside of Kansas City, but it was this ‘New’ Kansas City that gave me the chance to respond.

BW At that time, how did you feel about the city as a place to work and the art community in Kansas City in general?
JB Kansas City was a great place to work. I was able to share studio space with a number of other young artists with similar goals and philosophical concerns. And let’s face it, you can’t beat Kansas City when it comes to inexpensive rent. Kansas City was also a great place to show work, and having a sympathetic reviewer like Donald Hoffmann didn’t hurt. You may not have always agreed with him, but damn it, he was there promoting homegrown talent.

BW In comparison with St. Louis, how does the art community in Kansas City differ? Do you see any similarities?
JB I think the comparisons I can draw now living in St. Louis may not be terribly accurate, since that was then and this is now. But I can feel basic differences. St. Louis seems to be a much more individual-based city, and Kansas City has a strong community feel. I think partly that has to do with Kansas City’s broader cultural base and “Team Art Spirit.”
Whether you like the Shuttlecocks or the Bartle Hall sculptures, or not, they exist and there is a forum for discussion in Kansas City. In St. Louis, I don’t think these kinds of public projects would take place simply because certain individuals would make sure they didn’t. St. Louis seems to be very self-conscious in that way.

BW I know you worked in what was the first AIDS hospice in Kansas City and that the experience was pivotal in generating an entire body of work. Has this continued to be a factor in your art?
JB I could go on about this forever, but I won’t. Working in the hospice changed not only my way of making art, but how I saw life. I became truly politicized and humanized. It’s really no wonder after my years of work in the hospice and coming home to my apartment/studio to make art, I lost all fear of making creative leaps. I doubt the experience will ever leave me.

BW A big part of your life recently has been centered around Washington University and your Masters degree in painting. Has this return to college had a significant effect on your work and the methods you use?
JB Going back to school to get a master’s degree in your late 30s like I did is not for the faint of heart. Like all returning students, you have to be ready. By ready I mean open, confident and willing to risk. Being the ‘old man,’ I found instructors both challenging and exacting due to  my past experience. Some students saw me as a threat, while others a mentor. All in all, I have to say this experiences was a very good one.  I’ve become much more aware as a person and I look at art with a much more critical eye; and I can sniff out an ‘art poser’ with amazing ease. The most significant changes in my art making are conceptual concerns. I’m much more thoughtful.  If ind the installation format a satisfying area, but I don’t like the label ‘installation artist’ … I prefer to consider myself a painter who makes sculpture.

BW Currently, you’re teaching an elective class in ceramics at Washington U. What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered in moving to the ‘other side’ of the academic world?
JB I wouldn’t call the experiences ‘difficulties’; challenges, yes. I’m in a really good place at
Wash U. This is my first official teaching job, so I get this experience at top notch school, plus I’m still a student – I’m getting a second master’s in ceramics and the student status gives me shelter from the university politics.

BW What would you consider the rewards of interacting with students from different disciplines in an art setting?
JB I wish there was more of this. Washington U, like a lot of schools, is going toward more interdisciplinary programs. I’m a good example of what can happen. I got reunited with ceramics while working on my M.F.A. in painting, so the school allowed me to come back for a third year to complete a second M.F.A. in ceramics.

BW  Kansas City is experiencing a period of new growth in the local art scene, with new museums and galleries opening, and numerous public art commissions. To me, this seems very similar to the art boom of the early ’80s. What do you feel would be necessary to sustain this interest that wasn’t in place when you were active here?
JB I agree. I was just in Kansas City recently and the energy there is tremendous, much like it was when I lived and worked there. Back to your St Louis comparison: that energy just hasn’t happened here yet. To be honest, I’ve never felt the art enthusiasm in St. Louis that I feel in Kansas City.

BW In a speculative way, what do you see happening in the future for the art community in St Louis? And for yourself?
JB For St. Louis there will always be galleries but for some reason I just haven’t had the experience of finding a gallery where my work fit. I feel much more comfortable researching galleries in Chicago and New York. I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious or
exclusive, but gallery dealers in those cities are much more open to the kind of work I make. I think to get back specifically to your question, I see the problem in St. Louis that doesn’t exist in Kansas City to be the fact that St. Louis just doesn’t have a cohesive art community. It seems extremely fractured. Kansas City on the other hand, seems to have a strong, healthy art community, which, in my opinion, makes a healthy community in general.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum May/June 1988

KCAC Forum Magazine May/June 1988

Coalition Continues Its Commitment
by Marius Lane Starkey

Artists with extraordinary sensibilities feel the significance of art so acutely they know how things look. They see because they see emotionally.  No one forgets the things that move inside them deeply.  Others, who have never felt the emotional significance of pure art, use their eyes only to collect information, not to capture the emotions.  There is a power in art to transport people to great emotional ecstasies.  This human experience in which artists try to capture and keep emotions alive ranges from the modest to highly ethical conceptions.

Art is one of the most direct and potent states of mind we possess.  it’s more direct because nothing affects the mind quicker than a visual statement.  it’s more potent because there is no state of mind more excellent or more intense than the state of aesthetic contemplation.

As artists, we see the world around us with different eyes.  in that moment of emotional vision, the artist has to have the ability or force to hold it, the skill and knowledge to translate it to visual terms.  This is not easy.  one has to practice and understand the “workings of the mind.”  Artists, most important, capture the nature of that extra element, above and beyond the skill of practice, which separates “Art” from other human activities.

Art work also offers us comments on what artists think, how they feel in the their terms by the use of physical visual statements.  These visual statements are made up of the language of “images,” not of words, and deliver infinite messages.  The role of art goes beyond that of just stimulus; and it extends to the human experience, keeping in mind that the art work also has a measure of independence. Art is the outlet for so man y kinds of emotions, individualistic or social.  It can then provide or bring about a total completion, or fullness, of emotional experiences and expressions.  This is the function that makes art so indispensable.

Today, there exists some confusion about art.  people’s view of art and artists is likely to be made up of myths and distorted notions of artistic exclusivity, which many artists have of themselves.  To erase these misconceptions would make art more approachable and more meaningful for everyone.

For artists to continue to produce and show their work, they muse have a place to express themselves freely.  The Kansas City Artists Coalition provides that place.  The KCAC is an avenue of free expression in more than just our exhibitions. Our busy schedule continues with lectures, performance art and the continuing series of River Front readings.

The KCAC commitment to excellence and new avenues of expression continues with the winners of the KCAC writers competition in this issue of FORUM. Also, the panel discussion titled “Critical Response,” art and art criticism, which will include the winner of this competition along with area artists and art critics, is part of the KCAC commitment to excellence.

My personal thanks to those board members finishing their two-year commitment.  it has been a busy year and Kansas City truly benefited from all their hard work. Thank you!

It has been an exciting year for the coalition, and the future looks even more excellent, with new programs and more growth on the horizon.  I welcome the new board members and know that we all will work to bring the best shows, programs of performance art, lectures and writings to KCAC.