KCAI Hosts a Festive Evening of Art, Food and Fun at the Art & Design Auction June 3

Proceeds Benefit Student Scholarships and Programs

Kansas City Art Institute’s newest studios and The Rowland Commons will be the epicenter for a fabulous evening of awe-inspiring fine art and festive food and drink on Saturday, June 3 at the Art & Design Auction. Silent and live auctions will feature more than 200 pieces of original artwork donated from distinguished alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI.

Honorary Chairs Sue and Lewis Nerman and Event Chairs Abby and Alex Wendel are planning an evening perfect for friends who share a passion for supporting art and design education. Keith Jacobshagen (’65 design) is the Star Artist and one of his signature landscape paintings will be featured in the live auction. The silent auction, hosted by Paddle8, an international art auction site, will open two weeks before the event, allowing collectors a preview and opportunity to bid on artwork. The live auctioneer is Kansas City native Quig Bruning, vice president and specialist in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House.

Proceeds from this event support scholarships for students, expansion of curricula and programs, recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty members, and technology acquisitions.   The auction ensures KCAI maintains its reputation as one of the premier institutions of higher education in art and design.

Artwork valued from $75 to upwards of $25,000 will be available at the auction. Below is a sneak peek into some of the artwork and a profile of select artists who have generously donated pieces.

Star Artist Keith Jacobshagen (’65 design)

Keith Jacobshagen is a Midwestern painter motivated by the land around him. By combining intimate reflections with a deep understanding and respect for nature, he celebrates landscape in a manner reminiscent of the early Dutch masters. Through their landmark low horizons and wide, dominant skies, his paintings elicit a variety of emotions inspired by the Midwestern countryside. His paintings are part of the collections at the Spencer Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Art, Museum of Nebraska Art, Joslyn Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and many more museums.

It’s been 52 years since Keith graduated but sometimes when he is at the easel, he thinks back about his time at KCAI. He says it had a big impact on him because it was the first time he was taught by teachers who were practicing artists. “There was something very special about having artists teach you and then go back to their studios. They had a strength of experience and I knew they were working on solving problems just like I was.” The tradition of artists teaching continues at KCAI today. One hundred percent of KCAI faculty members are practicing artists or scholars.

Lauren Mabry ( ‘07 ceramics)

Lauren Mabry is a Philadelphia-based artist who makes sculpture that she sees as three-dimensional paintings of ceramic and glaze. The clay forms she produces 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. She has work in the permanent collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sheldon Museum of Art and others.

She says her time at KCAI helped shape her career and more importantly, her work ethic. “KCAI has always been special to me. The education I got there was exceptional and couldn’t have been better. It instilled in me a hunger, a drive to understand the material better, to push myself and work hard. Of course, I learned how to fire a kiln and other basics of ceramics, but the real gift they gave me was the desire to keep pushing myself.”

Jason Pollen

Jason Pollen is a Kansas City-based fiber innovator and former chair of the fiber department at KCAI. Pollen exhibits his fabric constructions internationally and has designed textiles for dozens of fashion and home furnishings firms including Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta and Yves St. Laurent. He was a beloved KCAI faculty member for 30 years and chair of the fiber department for 13 years. Since his retirement from the college, he has continued to offer support to KCAI.

The large scale, 14-foot-tall black, white and cobalt blue hanging artwork he is creating for the auction is part of his Descendants series, inspired by the flickering movement of aspen leaves and Alexander Calder’s mobiles. It is being fabricated by internationally acclaimed engineering company, A. Zahner.

Tickets start at just $125 and Patron and Sponsor levels include an invitation to the Backers Bash, hosted at the beautiful, historical home of Kurt Knapstein. For ticket and sponsor information, visit donate.kcai.edu/auction.

–Kathy St. Clair

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