Now Showing at Burns & McDonnell

image-13Employee-owners at Burns & McDonnell don’t have to go to First Fridays to enjoy local art. They get to see it every day, hanging in lobbies and conference rooms and along corridors inside the world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

The firm participates in Now Showing, a program sponsored by the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City that showcases working artists while bringing inspiration and diversity into the workplace.

More than 100 companies support the workplace exhibitions ranging from black-and-white photography to paintings on canvas that are rotated every quarter.

At Burns & McDonnell, the showcased artists are chosen by a volunteer committee composed of employee-owners who love or collect art or are artists themselves.

“It’s so interesting to see someone’s art and then get to meet the people behind the work,” said Gerilyn Goeddel, a Burns & McDonnell architect who helps select the firm’s art.

The selection committee has tried to choose art representing a variety of mediums, such as abstract acrylic on canvas, colored pencil and textural photography, said Goeddel, who loves to paint.

“This is such a great opportunity for the artists to be acknowledged and for us to share in their inspiration,” Goeddel said. “The program also has helped us build lasting partnerships within the arts community.”

Employee-owners have purchased numerous pieces from the featured artists, including some that were customized, she said.

“Viewing my work in these spaces allows me to step back and see the art through a fresh lens and determine the direction of my art practice,” said Sandra Van Tuyl, whose emotional landscapes were recently shown at Burns & McDonnell. “I value the input and support created by the Now Showing program as well as the longstanding friendships and contacts that have come out of it.”

Jennifer Bricker-Pugh, another featured artist, said one of the things she loves about the Now Showing program is that it transcends the gallery space.

“Suddenly your work is being seen by an entirely different community in a unique venue outside of the traditional gallery setting that draws a certain crowd,” said Bricker-Pugh, who enjoys meeting the people who view her paintings, many of which are inspired by the rolling hills and organic colors of the Kansas landscape.

“I want to blast through that shield of people thinking art is elitist,” she said. “Artists are people with a soulful urge to create, and our work is meant for those who just love what they see. You don’t have to be a collector or ready to buy a piece for that.”•

Heidi Nast

Heidi Nast is the Executive Director of the Arts Engagement Foundation of Kansas City and Co-Founder of KC Studio Magazine.

Leave a Reply