2016 Honorary Chairs:
The Nermans are celebrated collectors of contemporary art, generous philanthropists, and valued leaders in the regional arts community. Jerome and Margaret Nerman, as well as son Lewis and daughter-in-law Sue, boast extensive internationally-recognized collections in their Leawood homes which they share with the community on a regular basis. In a feature on Lewis and Sue’s collection in KC Studio’s May/June 2016 Issue, Lewis stated “My Dad has always lived by the three S’s: We search for the art. We secure the art. We share the art.”
The Nerman family is highly recognized for their generosity to the arts and cultural community in Kansas City. In 2003, the Nerman family gave the lead gift to assist in funding the construction of a contemporary art museum on the campus of the Johnson County Community College. The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art has one of the top internationally acclaimed collections of emerging and established artists today. In February of 2016, the Kansas City Art Institute announced a gift from Jerry and Margaret Nerman and Lewis and Sue Nerman, to permanently endow the position of the school’s president as part of a 2:1 matching challenge grant by an anonymous donor, via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The Nerman family are generous supporters of ArtsKC and we are thrilled to recognize the work of this inventive family during the 7th annual Inspiration Breakfast.
Siobhan’s affiliations read like a Who’s Who of Kansas City Advertising. Formerly the president of a large Kansas City agency and a long-time champion for the arts, she is arguably one of the most well-known and respected individuals in Kansas City. Her honors include KC Ad Person of the Year and Women Who Mean Business by the Kansas City Business Journal. Officially, Siobhan leads a talented and collaborative department of account management partners at WTA, helping them pursue innovative strategies and develop unique ways to serve clients.
A powerhouse of energy and insight, Siobhan has been a leader on the ArtsKC Board. With her insight, the Marketing Committee at ArtsKC has reached more people than ever before. Most can remember the superb Aperitif Series in 2015 where Siobhan implemented a plan of excellence that has left a mark on the arts community. Her guidance on the Inspiration Panel for the ArtsKC Fund has developed a community of supporters who understand that investing in the arts, whether it is with time or funds, will always mean more art tomorrow.
Julie has been in the Kansas City banking community for almost 30 years, 20 of which have been with Missouri Bank. She has been instrumental in helping define both the internal culture and unique customer experience for which mobank is known. In addition, she has earned a reputation for providing thoughtful support and wise counsel to scores of small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them think through the best decisions for their business. Julie is a member of Missouri Bank’s senior management team, with responsibilities in commercial banking, marketing and customer experience. Her honors include Woman Who Means Business by the Kansas City Business Journal and a Women of Influence by Kansas City Business Magazine.
Julie has shared her expertise with many in the Kansas City community, serving on numerous boards and committees. She is a frequent guest speaker on all things entrepreneurial, banking, cultural and financial. Julie served as a faculty member of the Graduate School of Banking – Colorado (GSBC) from 2004-2014 and also served as a GSBC Board Trustee during her tenure there. She is currently serving on the boards of the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Mayor’s Corp of Progress.
2016 Presenting Sponsor
Irwin & Rita Blitt
Tom & Teresa Walsh
Bill & Fani Schifman
Richard B. & Lynn M. Klein Foundation
Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley
Sam Meers & Julie Nelson Meers
Charles & Lisa Schellhorn
Scott & Karen Seitter
Harvey & Alice Grossman
Justin & Bev Johl
Dr. Loretta Britton
Dave Von Fintel
Ira B. Taylor
Please see the “sponsorship” tab for more details on how to become an event sponsor today!
Table hosts are essential to the success of ArtsKC’s annual Inspiration Breakfast. We are proud to announce the 2016 Inspiration Breakfast Table Captains, listed below.
Please contact Paige DuBay (DuBay@ArtsKC.org) for details on becoming part of this select group of arts advocates.
2016 Inspiration Breakfast Table Captains
|Andrew Lang||Karen Seitter|
|Angie Dreher||Kelly Porter|
|Anita von Daniken||Kevin Pinkowski|
|Arzie Umali||Kristin Atkinson|
|Ashley Brown Morris||Kyle Danner|
|Ashley Toma||Laura Schmidt|
|Becky Blades||Linda Jordan|
|Bradley Petzold & Godfrey Riddle||Maria Maffry|
|Bruce Davis||Marissa Baum|
|Candace Cummings||Mary Noulles|
|Carey Rich||Matthew Wilson & Kenny Beall|
|Cecilia O’Hara||Mayor Eileen Weir|
|Cheryl Toh||Melanie Haas|
|Cheryl Eve Acosta||Michelle Morse|
|Christa Cavanaugh||Michelle Suter|
|Cindy Reynolds||Michelle Dreher|
|Claire Brand||Mike LaMonica|
|Damian Lair||Nate Orr|
|Dan Walsh||Nerman Family|
|Dana Abraham & Chuck McCann||Patricia McMahan|
|Daniel Silva||Peggy Donica|
|Danny Zaslavsky||Rachel Comment|
|Darcy Stewart||Ray Sousley & Lynn Turner Sousley|
|Dave von Fintel||Richard Wetzel|
|Dave Wowak||Rob Robinson|
|Davin Gordon||Robert Curland|
|Dawn Taylor||Robert Riccardi|
|Dawn Zerbs||Rosemary Salerno|
|Debbie Glassberg||Ryan Davis|
|Dominique Davison||Samantha Cusumano|
|Edgar Palacios||Sara Kluba|
|Fred V. Cornwell||Sarah Morris|
|Gayle & Bruce Krigel||Sarah Strnad|
|Hannah Hasselquist||Shannon King|
|Holly Nielsen||Sheila Seck|
|Jacquie Ward||Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley|
|Jared Campbell||Sonie Joi Thompson-Ruffin|
|Jean-Paul Wong||Stephanie Ulsh|
|Jennifer Isom Moran||Steve & Mary Anne McDowell|
|Jennifer Sivwright||Sue Houdek|
|Jessica Nelson||Susannah Evans|
|Jill McCarthy||Suzanne Southard|
|John Hoffman||Tiffany King|
|Joyce Hrinya||Tim McCoy|
|Julie Nelson Meers||Tom & Loretta Mentzer|
|Kalie Hudson||Vicky Kulikov|
2016 Featured Artist:
Composer and arranger Brad Cox is co-founder of Owen/Cox Dance Group, leader of the Brad Cox Octet, and founder and director of The People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City, a musicians’ collective dedicated to the performance of new large ensemble jazz music. Cox’s musical influences range from liturgical chant and traditional folkloric music to popular music and free jazz, with a particular interest in the communal aspects of music making. A composer in the uniquely American Ellington tradition, he has dedicated his work to forming creative collaborative relationships with musicians and to writing music for those musicians. His composition and arrangement credits include Sony Classical recording artist Nathan Granner, Paris-based songwriter Krystle Warren, and Grammy award-winning producer and engineer Russ Elevado. Cox studied composition at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance under James Mobberley and Gerald Kemner and is a recipient of the 2010 Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artist Award and the 2009 Tanne Foundation Award.
Cox’s work has been greatly supported by ArtsKC Fund’s grant programs through repeated Catalyst Grant support to Owen/Cox Dance Group, an Inspiration Grant for the Brad Cox Octet, two Inspiration Grants for The People’s Liberation Big Band for projects led by Matt Otto and Patrick Alonzo Conway, and through his ongoing work with Ovation Grant recipient Paul Mesner Puppets.
“I believe that human beings are inherently creative and that the desire to add something to this world is fundamental to the human condition. I write music and lead ensembles because, for me, music is the most satisfying and fulfilling way of adding something to the world. At times I have struggled with justifying to myself the pursuit of a career in music. After all, if my career is like the vast majority of musicians and composers, my music will have little impact beyond our local community, and is unlikely to last beyond my own lifetime—and certainly I know that my compositions will never equal the great works of my musical heroes. But I think artists do themselves and the community a great disservice if they feel justified only in creating art that is guaranteed to reach a certain number of audience members, or more improbably, create art that approaches the same level of genius as the work of our artistic idols. The most important task for the artist is to work consistently, steadily and perhaps even with joy—but if not with joy, at least with hope.”-Brad Cox
A collection for the 2016 Inspiration Breakfast by Sonié Joi Ruffin & Arzie Umali
Spark! is what happens when the creative energies of Kansas City artists Sonié Joi Ruffin and Arzie Umali come together. It is a collection ignited by friendship, imagination, and a hint of crazy where textile and painting collide resulting in unique works that teeter on function and fine art.
About the artists
Sonié Ruffin and Arzie Umali have been friends for over a decade. Sparked by a mutual passion and appreciation for serving the local arts community, these two rambunctious artists have worked together producing a variety of arts programs to promote some of Kansas City’s most talented artists; especially, women and artists of color. Ruffin and Umali were the forces behind the landmark NCECA and ArtsKC Catalyst Grant-funded exhibit, 50 Women a Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics, at the Changing Gallery of the American Jazz Museum earlier this spring. Ruffin, the visiting curator or the American Jazz Museum and Umali the Assistant Director of the UMKC Women’s Center have a natural synergism that makes collaboration seem second nature. Although, the two have curated exhibits for each other, it was only just this year that Ruffin and Umali decided to start working together artistically. Spark! is their first ever artistic collaboration merging Ruffin’s bold textile designs with Umali’s expressive painting. The duo also has an exhibit opening in September at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. Common Threads: Anatomy of the Wound, will be on display Sept. 2 – Oct. 29 and includes works evoked by the recent racial and gun violence plaguing our communities.
For the past 20 years, Arzie Umali has been a passionate member of the Kansas City arts community exhibiting her art, organizing arts events, and volunteering for a number of local organizations. Arzie’s paintings and collages reveal her command of color and texture (as well as her love of primates) and have been exhibited in galleries around Kansas City including the UMKC Gallery of Art, Mattie Rhodes Art Center, the Event Space at JavaPort, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, La Esquina, and the Faso Gallery of Contemporary Art. Arzie has also donated her works to a number of local charitable organizations including the ACLU, AIDS Walk KC, and the Humane Society. Arzie currently serves as the Assistant Director of the UMKC Women’s Center where she founded the Her Art Project in 2010, a campus and community-wide initiative that addresses gender discrimination in the arts. Through this program she conducts research, develops programs, and lectures on the status of women in the arts. As the former program coordinator for the UMKC African American History and Culture House, Arzie established the Culture House Gallery, an art space at UMKC space dedicated to exhibiting local, underrepresented artists of color. Arzie is also a certified healing arts facilitator and she offers workshops for the UMKC community that use art as a tool for healing and transforming trauma. As a volunteer, Arzie has served a number of local organizations including ArtsKC, the Municipal Art Commission of Kansas City, Missouri, One Percent for Art, Charlotte Street Foundation, InterUrban ArtHouse, the Arts Council of Johnson County, the Carter Art Center, the NAACP, and the ACLU. Arzie currently serves as the Secretary and Board Development Chair for the Friends of Art Leadership Council at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and has been a member of the museum for over 20 years. Arzie’s dedication to the arts community was recognized in 2012 by the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, when they named her one of the area’s Creative Placemakers. Arzie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Administration degree in Organizational Behavior from the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin
Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin is a renowned fabric artist, fabric designer, author, and lecturer. She has conducted workshops, lectures and exhibitions on African American quilting at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, New England Quilt Museum, Holter Museum of Art, Bethesda Medical Center Rotunda, Harvard, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Bates College, Lincoln University, Mulvane Museum, UMKC African American History & Culture House, Truman Medical Center Healing Arts Gallery and a host of quilt guilds, galleries, and museums in the United States, Europe and Africa. Her artwork is held in private, corporate, museum and gallery collections. Sonié is a Charlotte Street Visual Arts Fellow, Art Omi Fellow, Storyteller’s Inc. Fellow, Kansas Master, and recipient of an Arts KC Inspiration Grant and Alliance of Artists Community Scholarship. She was a finalist for the Women to Watch exhibition of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Sonié is the curator for the American Jazz Museum located in Kansas City’s historical jazz district and serves on the Board of the Kansas City Artist Coalition. She is the author of two books: Soulful Art of African American Quilts and Opening Day.Her fabric collections have appeared in McCall’s, Better Homes and Garden, Quilting, and Quilter’s Quarters magazines. Her latest artwork to date is the public art design project with Helix Architectural firm and Arts Tech which appears on the front of the Leon Mercer Jordan East Patrol and Crime Lab Campus in Kansas City, MO.