Kathy Liao Named 2022 21c Kansas City Artadia Awardee

Exhibition shot including artworks “Liu Nian” and “Without” at the Nerman Museum of Art (photo: E.G. Schempf)

21c Museum Hotels and Artadia have announced Kathy Liao will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds as the 2022 21c Kansas City Artadia Awardee. Liao was selected from three finalists, including Ruben Castillo and Jill Downen.

According to Artadia’s website: “The 21c Artadia Award is designed to provide essential funding and recognition to artists at pivotal points in their careers, strengthen arts communities, and spur new levels of career achievement.”

This is only the second year of the partnership between 21c Museum Hotels and Artadia, with the award rotating through the nine cities where 21c Museum Hotels are located. Artadia was founded in 1999 and, in addition to the 21c Artadia Award locations, serves core cities of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York as a “nonprofit grantmaker and nationwide community of visual artists, curators, and patrons.” 

“Thank you, 21c Kansas City and Artadia, for this honor and the new possibilities this unrestricted award will bring to my practice!!” Liao announced on Instagram. 

The award also allows access to the Artadia Network program, which provides lifelong support and access to a network of national artists. 

The process was an extensive two-tiered jurying process. Daisy Nam and Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi served as jurors. 

“I was taken by Liao’s large-scale paintings that unabashedly take up space, not as a means to occupy, but as a way to fully invite viewers into the work,” said Nam. 

Liao’s work is inspired by family and ritual. “As an artist of Taiwanese descent, I look for patterns and repetitions in behaviors of the immigrant family. As families separate and migrate, I recognize the invariable loss and the struggle to justify and reconcile the distance in between,” she reated in her artist’s statement. 

“Taking history, time, and intimacy into consideration, I both felt and saw a shimmering to Liao’s paintings that feel quiet, that keep you submerged in the effect at each layer,” said Onyewuenyi. “It looks and feels like an iridescent collage of time.” 

Liao is the first Kansas City artist to receive this award. She is a 2020 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellow and a facilitator for Artist INC. Recently, Liao’s work has been exhibited at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art. Her work is part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s “Found in Translation ” exhibition (October 8, 2022-August 20, 2023) and she has a solo exhibition scheduled for 2023 in the Studios Inc Exhibition Space. 

For more information about Liao and her work visit kathyliao.com.

Libby Hanssen

Originally from Indiana, Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She is the author of States of Swing: The History of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, 2003-2023. Along with degrees in trombone performance, Libby was a Fellow for the NEA Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University. She maintains the culture bog "Proust Eats a Sandwich."

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