Inspiration Grants from the ArtsKC Fund are an investment in human capital, providing direct support to individual artists and arts professionals for projects and activities that have the potential to advance their careers and build their capacity for future work.
Visual, music, theatre, literary, dance and interdisciplinary projects are the primary focus of Inspiration Grants.
2018-2019 Inspiration Grant Recipients
Ani VolkanIdea Exchange: a discussion of artist run spaces
Printmaker Ani Volkan will co-host a panel discussion at the 2019 Southern Graphics Council International, a national printmaking conference, in Dallas TX on creating artist-run spaces. In addition to bringing together other speakers, Volkan will use local community print shop, Print League KC, as an example of how artists can support themselves and each other by taking on the additional roles of curator, organizer, gallery director, while engaging the community. The variety of modes presented will provide for a more full investigation of different paths artists can take upon departing from traditional educational institutions and doing things ourselves. Volkan will learn from the other presenters’ ideas, and compile their innovations online for the Kansas City community. Grant funds will be used for conference expenses, travel, and fliers. www.anivolkan.com
Ashley WheatVignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn, from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride
Ashley Wheat is a classically trained soprano planning to record and present Alan Smith’s song cycle, “Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn” from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride. Wheat is inspired by the story of Smith’s discovery of letters of love, nature, war, and death, which provide a small window into a generation that has largely held their memories of war close to the vest. Wheat plans to perform the work this November at Village Shalom, a retirement community for members of the Jewish faith, while simultaneously partnering with Opera180. Grant funds will be used for Wheat to work directly with the composer, performance and recording costs. www.ashleywheatsoprano.com
Brass & Boujee (Ryan Jamaal Davis)
Brass & Boujee is a big band/hip hop album that has been recorded as the culmination of a series of performances of the same name. Led by Marcus Lewis, the Marcus Lewis Big Band, along with Kansas City emcees Kemet the Phantom (Kemet Coleman) & Kadesh Flow (Ryan J. Davis) , honor both jazz and the cultural path that it has carved for hip hop by fusing the two together in a way that has not yet been produced. Lewis has taken the original music of two Kansas City emcees, arranged it for a full jazz ensemble that consists of world-class, Kansas City instrumental masters, and led performances in which the emcees actually rap and sing with the band. The ensemble aims to exist as an educational opportunity for younger musicians and will demonstrate the level at which “younger” musical concepts can join — and even enhance — more “traditional” American music forms. The album intends to show that these two black music forms are similar in spirit and much more compatible than popular music presents them to be. Brass & Boujee will open for Janelle Monae at the Starlight Theatre in October, as part of Open Spaces KC’s “The Weekend.” Grant funds will be used for the first 4-6 weeks of a consistent, full scale rollout campaign. This includes PR work for blog and media outlet placements, streaming site playlist pitches, consistent engagement with radio stations beyond the initial kit shipments, and video work to build a consistent content funnel that lasts months beyond the album release. https://marcuslewis.net/album/brass-and-boujee
Nick Carswell of Carswell & Hope
Changing Shades: A live multimedia and musical performance.
“Changing Shades: An Immigrant’s Story of Confusion & Belonging” is a music, spoken word and visual performance piece, telling the biographical story of Nick Carswell’s experiences as an Irish immigrant to the United States. In this project, Nick presents a program of songs and musical pieces that share a deeper story of identity and belonging, accompanied by custom designed LED lighting design, image projection and stage design. The themes of this project include the emotions, memories and experiences of an emigrant leaving his native home, a modern exploration of “The American Dream”, and more recent topics of race, nationalism, identity and belonging. Songs are inspired by the artist’s own sense of shifting cultural identity, as well as pieces inspired by the history of Native American people in the US, the Mediterranean migrant crisis, and the proliferation of western culture and media in all our lives. The premiere is planned for the Kansas City Irish Center in Midtown Kansas City in Nov/Dec 2018, with another show at the Lawrence Arts Center in Lawrence, KS. Grant funds will be used to purchase a stage lighting system, featuring LED fixtures, a DMX controller and an electronic music production equipment to program and syncronize lights and music. This will allow the full realization of visuals, lighting and stage design without the need for rental equipment or a lighting technician. http://nickcarswell.com
Daniel MorelNew Music for Kansas-Missouri Concert Bands
Composer Daniel Morel is writing new music inspired by the Flint Hills for high school and university concert bands. Fort Hays State University is leading a large consortium of ensembles that are commissioning and performing this work. As the head of this consortium, FHSU is planning to premiere the work in February 2019. Morel’s piece will inspire students to continue to expand their repertoire and explore music by living composers. Morel is proud to contribute to Kansas City’s reputation as a source for new concert music. Grant funds will be used for the development, publication and distribution of music scores. Morel built a custom music printing studio with a previous Inspiration Grant, enabling him to print scores nearly at cost. He plans to print and mail enough scores for all consortium members. http://www.danmorel.com
David GeorgeChristmas Ain’t a Drag (Score)
Musician David George’s “Christmas Ain’t a Drag,” is an uplifting rock musical that celebrates the love, magic and romance people search for at Christmas time. Inspired by the music of the big band era, “Christmas Ain’t a Drag” tells the story of four individuals whose lives intersect at a local night club on the night before Christmas. The show touches on social issues such as gender equality, diversity, single motherhood, and the lives of LGBTQ people, with a theme of acceptance and Christmas magic. It was first debuted at the Madrid Theatre in Kansas City, MO in December 2015. With additional original music, “Christmas Ain’t a Drag” is primed for its 2018 New York City musical run at The Cutting Room this holiday season 2018. The long-term goal for the production and for George’s career is to take the show on the road for 2019 to 10 to 20 markets around the country, including Kansas City. This will add to Kansas City’s reputation as an arts mecca and also provide performance opportunities for Kansas City and New York artists together. George identified the critical need to arrange the score on paper for new participants in order to advance the project.
The funds from this proposal will pay composer Bob Malone to arrange the scores so the music is easily played by a 9-piece orchestra. https://davidgeorge.bandcamp.com
Emily ConnellOperation Own My Own Saw
Emily Connell is a contemporary ceramic sculptor, who employs multiple materials and processes to produce artwork. Connell’s sculptures are made by painting books, page-by-page, with liquid porcelain and firing them in a kiln. Like an archeologist excavates or a biologist dissects, Connell uncovers the interior of her delicate porcelain sculptures by slicing them with a diamond bladed masonry saw. Her process transforms discarded and unused objects of knowledge back into a new active and open position. Her art plays on constructs of humanity through time by evoking imagery of fossils and minerals. The passing of time is also evident in the painstakingly long process of encasing every single individual part of each book in porcelain. After using a rented saw for six years, Connell is investing in her own. She plans to test different methods of cutting, to share it with other studio members at the Belger Crane Yard Studio, and potentially, to use the saw to build an atmospheric gas kiln, which will require custom-cut refractory bricks. Connell will continue to create new artwork for exhibiting in and around the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. Grant funds will be used for a masonry concrete block saw and an adjustable stand. www.emily-connell.com
Genevieve E. FlynnDesigning a line of Argentium Silver Vessels for Exhibition at The Smithsonian Museum Craft Show
Master silversmith Genevieve E. Flynn is creating new works to submit to the 2019 Smithsonian Museum Craft Show. Flynn uses nature as her inspiration, and combines the sensibilities of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in her work. She plans to construct decorative vessels out of precious metals, specifically Argentium silver, a newly invented silver alloy. Each will be be elaborately decorated with flora and fauna, using the ancient techniques of chasing and repoussé. Upon completing this series, these vessels will be some of the first hollowware pieces to be created using this ancient technique on a modern alloy. Whether or not she is selected for the Smithsonian show, this brand new series of one-of-a-kind works will be submitted to other exhibition opportunities. She plans to present a short lecture in the Kansas City region on the history of chasing and repoussé vessels, the tools and materials used, how these elements have evolved. Grant funds will be used towards the purchase of three Argentium silver sheets. www.genevieveflynn.com
Israel Alejandro Garcia GarciaBordes Carnosos / Border Carnage ‘MoLCA’
Israel Alejandro Garcia Garcia is an artist, and the curator of a local contemporary art gallery focused on Latin American narratives. With a recent Rocket Grant, Garcia will visit borderlands to document, retrieve and uproot physical, symbolic elements such as discarded border wall panels and ephemeral elements left behind by migrants during their deadly journey. He plans to include these objects in a mobile visual exhibition in a forty-foot shipping container with a physical barrier, or “border wall” installed nearby. The mobile ‘gallery’ will exhibit local Latinx archival footage as well as his own photography documenting our communities for the past 20 years. Garcia’s workis a direct commentary on today’s political climate. It will show how KC’s Latinx communities have come together to secure and maintain their cultural identity in a local and national hostile environment. The exhibits will focus on Kansas City’s Latinx history and the community’s systematic segregation through time. It will also symbolize the pain of those detained inhumanely in US immigration detention centers on the borderlines, resulting in suffering for local families. Garcia is interested in the relationship between Latinx gentrification, the border wall and the parallel issues that bind us. He intends for the work to show how physical barriers can be overcome democratically through social discourse. The mobile exhibition will be embedded in three to four historically Latinx neighborhoods, on sites that are highly trafficked by pedestrians not normally exposed to, or attendees of galleries or museums. The exhibit will be installed on public property to provide free access to all. Garcia’s goal is to educate the community, giving some viewers a glimpse into the “other” and exposing diverse populations in “Art Deserts” to our narratives.
Grant funds will be used towards the shipping container and its custom buildout, the reproduction of archival footage, and the creation of original works.
Susan Ferguson“Environments” – Collection of large-scale tapestries woven on a 48-inch rigid heddle loom
Susan Ferguson aims to take her fiber arts career to the next level by exhibiting her tapestry weaving in a group exhibition at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in 2019. In order to work at a larger scale, Ferguson is acquiring a 48-inch rigid heddle loom to weave a collection of works that focus on contemporary environmental concerns. Ferguson uses traditional, non-traditional and natural materials in her abstract tapestries, such as yarn, twine, copper pipe, wire, plastic bags and bottles, recycled clothing, and discarded auto parts. Her distinct combination of weaving and assemblage will allow audiences a visual and tactile experience of the impact of humankind on various environments. Ferguson’s goal is to promote fiber art as a fine art that offers fresh perspectives on issues and ideas. Local members of the Kansas City Fiber Artists group will also take part in this three-month show. Grant funds will be used towards a 48-inch Ashford rigid heddle loom and stand, and weaving materials. www.susanfergusonartist.com
Kyle Mullins / Moving ArtsThe Ted Shawn Project
Kyle Mullins is inspired by Kansas City-born modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn, whose teaching and choreography inspired generations of dancers such as Martha Graham. Shawn established Jacob’s Pillow dance school in Becket, Massachusetts, which now holds the oldest internationally acclaimed summer dance festival in the US. Mullins is inspired by the innate “maleness” in Shawn’s work, and hopes to explore his own sexuality and its place in our society, his body and movement abilities, and the male emotional landscape. Mullins will travel to Jacob’s Pillow to research the life and works of Shawn, and will work to reconstruct some of Shawn’s work in Kansas City. Mullins has been selected as a Charlotte Street Foundation Studio Resident, and plans to culminate his residency with a new solo work juxtaposing maleness in Shawn’s 1930s works with his own gay male identity in 21st century America. Grant funds will be used towards travel expenses.
Maria OgedengbeMissouri GOURDen 2018 programming, August – October
Community-based artist Maria Ogedengbe has created a unique garden, Missouri GOURDen with flowering gourd vines that are growing up over an artistic bower. A previous Inspiration Grant supported the construction of the bower which was erected last year at 48th & Troost. The structure’s 3 doors open in different directions to welcome people from across the city to share in tending the garden and crafting musical instruments called shekeres from gourds grown there. Shekeres are percussion instruments made from dried gourds laced with a net of beads, they originate from Africa and are also popular in Latin America. Ogedengbe is bringing people together to grow and create their own instruments and music. Grant funds will help support ongoing project maintenance and upcoming programming. www.mariaurora.net
Sean MawhirterMundo Nouvo’s first full-length album with accompanying video single
Sean Mawhirter is part of Mundo Nouvo, a Kansas City ensemble that plays music from the Caribbean dialect. Mundo Nouvo’s music attempts to merge the legacies of Cuba and Haiti, especially from the arrangements of its pianist Paul Roberts, who seeks to find a convergence between these Afro-Caribbean identities. Mundo Nouvo began an educational outreach program this year that provides Afro-Cuban music clinics to K-12 students in Kansas City area schools. This fall, Mundo Nouvo will start creating a Haitian roots aspect to this program so as to demonstrate for music students the differences and similarities in these two nation’s traditions. The group is creating its first full-length recording, featuring tracks from the Orquestra version of the group, its Café renderings, its Jazz Club iteration, and a 20th-century Cuban solo guitar piece. Recording is taking place at BRC Audio Productions studios in Kansas City, Kansas. A video will be shot for the lead single by Mikal Shapiro and will be release in advanced of the CD. The album will be published through Inwrought Music Management, a local company, and distributed online through major platforms. Physical copies will be made available at local stores. Grant funds will be used towards the cover art, logo design, CD manufacturing costs, as well as the videographer’s fee and marketing campaign. www.inwrought.com
Stacy BuschMass: Live Performance and Exhibition
Multimedia artist and performer Stacy Busch is collaborating with Australian experimental artist Jade Suine to create Mass, a new music concert and exhibition. The project is born out of Busch’s recent, month long journey at the Listhus Artist Residency in northern Iceland, in which she experienced silence, isolation and extreme natural landscapes, which allowed Busch to uncover a more honest connection with her artistic voice and connect it to her spiritual practice. The full live performance is an evening length concert of new music largely composed during her time in Iceland. “Mass” was chosen to elicit feelings of reverence as well as intense breadth and depth. The project is designed using four spiritual pillars, derived from the Bhagavad Gita, as a formal structure for both the visual pieces and music composition. These concepts allow the performance to unfold as a powerful narrative of spiritual discovery. The music utilizes live electronics with rhythmic vocals, layering and manipulation. Busch says her voice plays a crucial role in exploring the primal connection to the self and to the environment. Suine is providing twelve visual pieces that correspond with the four spiritual pillars. This concert event will have a unique impact on the Kansas City community because it transports viewers to an environment that is unlike any other: the harsh yet breathtaking northern Icelandic landscape, which is meant to stir an ancient connection to the divine within each person and to transport the viewer someplace otherworldly. In this distinct atmosphere, the live performance will push the audience to explore themselves, and foster acceptance and empathy towards others. Grant funds will be used towards venue costs, and printing and mounting the visual art. www.stacybusch.com
Stephanie RobertsLate Night Squeeze: A Nocturnal Variety Show
Actor Stephanie Roberts is curating a late-night variety show that will be co-produced and hosted by SqueezeBox Theatre. Inspired by her role in a long-running late-night cabaret in Seattle, Roberts identified the opportunity for creatives to create, collaborate, risk, inspire and entertain audiences in the spirit of bold new work. With her new effort, Late Night Squeeze, Roberts will test new material, experiment with new genres, discover new collaborators and hone her writing, performance and directing skills. She will make it a priority to mix established, experienced performers alongside up-and-coming artists across genres. Her vision is to create an opportunity for cross-pollination of audiences and artists, for example, a virtuoso musician may perform in the same evening as a student poet. Four performances a year will be held at eleven o’clock pm, primarily on First Fridays at the Squeezebox Theatre, allowing performers and audience members the flexibility to perform in or see an earlier event. There will be seven to nine acts per show, with as wide a variety as possible; e.g. theatre, performance art, music, improvisation, spoken word, dance and film/video.
Roberts plans for this project to serve as the pilot for an ongoing monthly variety show that supports the established artist community, nurtures and introduces new voices, and brings new audiences and patrons to the downtown community. Grant funds will be used towards artists, staff, producer fees, promotional material, programs, graphic design, and documentation of performances. https://www.stephanieraeroberts.com
Steve Paul Biography of Evan S. Connell, tentatively titled A Quiet Mania: The Brilliant Books and Long Desires of Evan S. Connell
Biographer Steve Paul is researching a book project about the life and work of the Kansas City writer Evan S. Connell, who produced two iconic novels about Kansas Citians of the 1930s and 1940s, among other works. Paul is inspired by Connell’s deep meditations on the human tragedy and his constant quest for knowledge of the globe and the human soul. Paul sees a strong undercurrent of a continual grappling with the male condition against a backdrop of decades of social change. He believes that Connell’s expression of male anxieties makes his fiction even more relevant in the current environment. This would be the first major biography of Connell, who led a quiet and mostly private life. Paul’s research involves traveling to library archives across the country to mine pertinent correspondence, to study manuscripts, to speak with friends, editors and others who knew him and his work, and to absorb a sense of the places that proved important to Connell’s mental and physical landscapes. He plans to create a formal proposal for the book this year and spend the next year writing, before submitting a finished manuscript to a publisher. Paul has published another biography, “Hemingway at Eighteen,” which led to well-attended public appearances at libraries, schools, book clubs, bookstores and other venues in Kansas City and elsewhere, engaging teen-agers to seniors. He looks forward to completing and publishing his Connell book, which will help shine an unexpected light on the city’s literary heritage. Grant funds will be used towards research trips to Austin, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. https://www.stevepaulkc.com
TigerStyle! Crew (Jeremy Scott)“DiversCity!”
Professional dance Company TigerStyle! Crew includes crew member and dancer Jeremy Finney. “DiversCity” is a full length live multi-media production that focuses on crossing demographic and cultural boundaries, and promoting self-empowerment. Through a blend of live dancing, acting, DJing, and interactive video, the audience is transported into a fictional metropolis full of drama and excitement. “DiversCity” includes choreography and dancing from several genres from different cultural backgrounds. Running like a screenplay, the story uses a unique approach that keeps viewers enthralled from start to finish by using a series of live dance works intertwined with self-produced video work. It is an opportunity to provide students, young pre-professional dancers and professional artists who attend TigerStyle! Crew’s workshops with professional dance experience. They spread a message of diversity, self-empowerment, and passion for dance. In the modern world of dance there is growing recognition of the professionalism and vitality to be found in the realm of street dance. TigerStyle! Crew, seeks to bridge the gap even more between concert performers and street dancers, and their respective audiences. TigerStyle! Crew acquired projection equipment with an earlier Inspiration Grant that enabled them to produce a high quality show in St. Louis in 2017. DiversCity!” will be presented at the City Stage Theater at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri in early spring 2019. Grant funds will be used towards theater space rental, tech crew personnel, advertising and promotion, prop rental, and dancer’s stipends. https://www.tigerstylecrew.com
Victoria BoteroThe Music of Susan Kander
Operatic soprano Victoria Botero is bringing Kansas City-born composer Susan Kander from New York for a week of performances and public conversations on her music. One of the performances will be a free presentation and community discussion of Kander’s new opera, Driving While Black, featuring an autobiographical libretto and performance by soprano Roberta Gumbel. This week will also see the world premiere performance and recording of Kander’s newly commissioned work, Boisseau Songs, which Kander has written for Botero’s voice, using poems by the late and beloved Kansas City poet, Michelle Boisseau. Kander’s involvement in important social issues, using music as her vehicle, resonates with current political concerns. By fearlessly centering her music on complex human subjects Kander has powerfully impacted Botero’s growth as an artist inspiring her to bring more daring compositions by women composers to the stage. Performing alongside Botero and Gumbel is violinist Jacob Ashcroft and the Lawrence-based duo New Morse Code featuring cellist Hannah Collins and percussionist Michael Compitello. Performances and conversations will take place at the 1900 Building performance space and St. James United Methodist Church at Paseo and 55th, in January 2019. Grant funds will be used to underwrite Kander’s 1-week residency in Kansas City. http://www.victoriabotero.com
Congratulations to the 37 artists below who received ArtsKC Inspiration Grant funding in 2016-2017:
Adrienne Walker Hoard, Berlin Biennale Photography Workshops ($1,200)
This Inspiration Grant funds visual artist Adrienne Walker Hoard to attend the 4th Annual Berlin Biennale for Fine Art and Documentary Photography, where one of her photos has been recognized as a finalist for the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for international women photographers. While in Berlin, Ms. Hoard will attend workshops offered by two master photographers, attend lectures and have her photography portfolios reviewed. Attending this event will further her career through study of the practices of some of the best photographers in the world, and will provide the opportunity to make valuable international connections.
Cheryl Eve Acosta, GIA Comprehensive CAD/CAM Certificate ($1,200)
This Inspiration Grant will fund Cheryl Eve Acosta to take an eight-week certificate course at the Gemology Institute of America GIA in New York City to learn the use of CAD/CAM software for jewelry designers. With extensive opportunities for hands-on classroom instruction and practical application, the course will provide the skills and experience necessary to adopt new methods of design and production to expand the range of her work and offer a new line of affordable jewelry. The Inspiration Grant funding will help pay for part of the GIA CAD/CAM software license, travel, shipping costs of tools, and other expenses related to the experience.
David Wayne Reed, Shelf Life ($1,500)
David Wayne Reed is a writer and storyteller. His new project Shelf Life is a bi-monthly live storytelling event featuring an array of unique objects from the region and the stories behind them. Shelf Life is a new take on the show-and-tell concept that focuses on the stories of our belongings, to demonstrate the power of storytelling in increasing the value of our objects. The Inspiration Grant funding will seed the launch of Shelf Life, with the goal of becoming sustainable and then expanding to online platforms and beyond.
Erin Zona, SGCI Conference Attendance and Research Completion ($1,200)
Erin Zona is the founder of Zz School of Printmaking, an informal educational initiative that aims to create opportunities for artists and educators and to expand the role of printmaking in the visual arts. Erin Zona will chair a panel at the Southern Graphics Council International based on recent research about L. Frank Baum and his early printmaking career. Inspiration Grant funding will support the completion of the research for the paper and cover travel expenses and conference fees.
Hillary Sametz, CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding and Community Music Program ($1,800)
Hillary Sametz, a performing musician currently studying to be a music therapist, will attend CONTACT, a two-week peace-building and community music healing training program run jointly by the SIT Graduate Institute, and Musicians Without Borders (MWB). The program develops skills in musicianship, leadership, verbal/non-verbal communication, and nonviolence. The Inspiration Grant funding will be used to attend the CONTACT Program at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, to host a community music training session in Kansas City for music therapists, music educators, and other community healers, and to host a community music healing event in Kansas City.
Ashley Miller, Echosis – An Opera for Stage and Screens ($1,000)
Echosis is a new feature length operatic work, composed by J. Ashley Miller and performed by the Atemporchestra in late 2016. This production will use the Narcissus mythos as a framework to explore contemporary cultural practices of self-love, self-lust, and the internalization of the muse. The live production will be staged in the Heim building in Kansas City’s East Bottoms and will be filmed to create a feature length “live” film. The Inspiration Grant Funding would go directly towards the technology required to generate the real-time 3D version of Narcisuss, an HD facial recognition camera, facial tracking software, and a dedicated computer to run the system.
Jon Brick, Mother In Charge: A Documentary Feature Film ($2,000)
“Mother In Charge” is a feature documentary film about a Kansas City mother, struck by the tragedy of her son’s murder, that takes a stand against homicide and gun violence. Rosilyn Temple, devastated by the loss, changed her life and began a personal search for justice that has become a calling that could transform cities nationwide. Rosilyn’s emotional work with families of other victims of violence fills a dire need, bridging a terrible gap between police and the community. Through this film Jon Brick shows how one woman is making a difference by bringing people together and changing lives. The Inspiration Grant Funds will be used for expenses for phase one of the overall cost of the documentary film. Kim Eichler-Messmer, Natural Dye Workshop ($1,200)
Kim Eichler-Messmer, Associate Professor of Fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute, has been dyeing fabric as part of her studio practice for over 15 years. To expand her dye knowledge into a new area she will attend a 5-day workshop on natural dyes, taught by Michel Garcia, at the Textile Center of Minnesota. Garcia, a botanist, chemist, dyer, and naturalist, is one of the leading dye experts in the world. The Inspiration Grant funds will cover travel costs to attend the workshop, a membership fee to the Textile Center of Minnesota, and workshop supplies. Kim plans to share the new techniques that she learns in the workshop with her students at KCAI and at the Kansas City Textile Studio.
Marcie Miller Gross, GlogauAIR Residency in Berlin and Research in Stockholm & Copenhagen ($1,000)
Marcie Miller Gross, a full-time artist of over 25 years, plans to travel to Berlin for a two month artist residency at the GlogauAIR residency in Kreuzberg to share dialogue and stimulus while working in the Berlin contemporary art scene. The Inspiration Grant Funding will be used for travel to and from Berlin, studio fees and meals for the GlogauAIR residency, and travel by train for additional research to see an industrial felt mill in Bamberg, and the work of specific artists, architects and collections in Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Mariel Reynolds, Fugue ($700)
Mariel Reynolds’ circus film project, Fugue, is a contemporary version of the Cinderella story that explores finding personal strength through adversity, challenges antiquated fairy tale romantic ideals, and examines the facades put up by people in the pursuit of acceptance and admiration. The Inspiration Grant Funds will go specifically towards costuming needs for the project. The costume design calls for opulent, detailed, couture-style circus pieces which require extra labor and materials, and the Inspiration funds will be focused on the needs of the Ball scene, where all characters will be in lavish, extravagant costumes.
Miki Baird, Art Omi International Residency Program ($1,200)
Miki Baird will attend the Art Omi International Artist Residency in Ghent, NY, where she will continue to examine the fragmented remains of one source of unsolicited mail, specifically four and a half years of her parents’ junk mail. Referencing the fundamentals of her practice she will re-evaluate the deconstruction and re-organization of broken down material resulting in an endowment of re-contextualized information. While in residency she will focus on enhanced methods of material deconstruction and application relevant to this body of work. Inspiration Grant Funds will assist with travel and print expenditures for the residency. This is an important opportunity to work in a culturally diverse environment while connecting to critics, curators and gallerists. Rachelle Gardner-Roe, Femin • Is: Portrait of Kansas City Feminism Then and Now ($1,000)
Femin • Is will be an equal part local history project, part contemporary examination, and part visual exhibition. The Inspiration Grant Funding will enable Rachelle Gardner-Roe to interview artists and activists engaged with the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970’s in the Kansas City area as well as contemporary artists working with an evolving definition of feminism. This process will culminate in an exhibition of collaborative portraits, envisioned for Women’s History Month in March of 2017. Fusing emotional, political, and theoretical concerns with the artist’s creative process, this project endeavors to capture personal histories and share contemporary perspectives while engaging an often charged aspect of our culture.
Jake Balcolm, “Machining Skill Development for Public Art Sculptures”
The overall scope of this project involves five main phases, focused on developing a modular style to create large Public Art Sculptures with integrated, LED lighting. Phase One develops a system to design and create large, modular, dynamic public art sculptures. Phase Two, and the purpose of this grant application, is to refine the fabrication of these mechanical connections by purchasing, installing, and learning to use, a Smithy 3-in-1 Engine Lathe/Mill. This Inspiration Grant would be used specifically for the purchase of and training on a Smithy Granite Engine Lathe/Mill.
Jacob Burmood, ”Bronze Fabric”
This Inspiration Grant will fund Mr. Burmood’s research in the area of casting draped cloth into bronze. He has already cast several projects in aluminum, which is cheaper but has defects that casting in bronze does not have. While bronze is more expensive, it works much better and is critical to the success of this project. The grant funds would be used to purchase 300 pounds of bronze to cast three sculptures.
Maura Garcia, “Working Culture”
Working Culture is a dual-location project and the first stage takes place in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, in the form of an investigative residency. From November 26 – December 6, 2016, Raven Spirit Dance Society of Vancouver is hosting a series of Movement Culture workshops with Maori choreographer, Charles Koreneho. Ms. Garcia’s investigative residency in Vancouver consists of researching Raven Spirit Dance Society’s operating protocol and attending Koreneho’s dance workshops. Upon her return, she will share her investigations via free community events: a presentation-style workshop and a movement-based workshop. She plans to use the Inspiration Grant to cover expenses associated with her investigative residency. Specifically, this Inspiration Grant would be used to finance: airfare to and from Vancouver; round-trip travel between lodgings and the Vancouver airport; per-Diem while in Vancouver; her professional time while in Vancouver.
Z. Hall, “Salon~360”
Dr. Z Hall, scholar, art writer, artist, curator, and Producer of “Salon~360” – Hall’s project involves producing three, two-hour Salon~360 events within the next five-month period. The events are designed around themes that address society’s most pressing issues. Hall curates art, performances, presentations, and dialogue around each themed event. A question is posed in relation to the theme of the event. Last year’s themes included: forgiveness, suicide and fear, among others. Salon~360 events are produced around a theme drawn from challenges faced by society. Her Inspiration Grant will be used for the purchase of video and sound hardware and software to be used in the service of producing itinerant Salon~360 events. Salon~360 public Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/Salon360/
Mark Lauer, “Mark Lauer: Muses and Mavericks”
Muses and Mavericks is a recording project featuring bassoonist Mark Lauer performing five new works written by Kansas City composers. These five composers will be commissioned to write a work for solo bassoon, bassoon and piano, bassoon and clarinet, and bassoon with narrator. The intended use of this album is to reach out to wider audiences for both Mr. Lauer and all other composers involved. This Inspiration Grant will be used to defray a large portion of the expenses associated with recording, producing, and manufacturing this CD, as well as compensating those involved with this collaboration.
Cat Mahari, BAM! the Workshop
BAM! the Workshop, inspired by Ida B Wells, is an immersive interdisciplinary arts community event in Kansas City, MO. This project is a major development in Cat Mahari’s professional career focusing on connectivity between sociopolitical and aesthetic production. BAM!’s structure centers urban contemporary paradigms and expressions and acts of restorative justice within the context of Black life. The Inspiration Grant funding underwrites a 2016-17 dual arts residency for BAM! the Workshop. Specifically, it covers production costs for research, visual art installation, immersive performance installation, immersive cinema artist Brian Herczog, psychologist and moderator Dr. Bill Johnson.
Sean Mawhirter, “Kansas City tango group Cucharada’s first full-length release with accompanying video single”
Cucharada is a Kansas City-based tango music group. This ensemble has been playing together for almost five years and has developed its repertoire for dance situations (referred to as ‘milongas’) as well as concert performances for strictly listening audiences. Having spent some time adding new material, Cucharada is determined to have this work reflected in an album of exceptionally high-quality music that will be produced in the fall and winter of 2016-17. In addition to the album, Cucharada intends on having a video made for one of the pieces as a single release. This Inspiration Grant will be used to pay for recording and production costs of both the CD and video.
Molly McLaughlin, “A Beautiful Dying”
A Beautiful Dying is an original musical ceremony by Molly McLaughlin that honors the exquisite and inseparable dance of death and life. Rather than keeping death hidden away, A Beautiful Dying exposes a spectrum of love and loss through music, so the audience may connect to the sacredness of time. Music is scored for flute, fiddle, guitar, bass, and voices. A Beautiful Dying consists of eight songs, two instrumentals, a performance piece, and multiple readings. This Inspiration Grant would specifically be applied toward paying for musicians, documentation of the project, lighting, and marketing costs.
Calvin Arsenia Scott, Catastrophe the Album
This Inspiration Grant would be used to finalize Catastrophe the album, providing the professional to mix and master the recording to ensure a quality finished product that plays clearly for film, commercial licensing, your car stereo, or any other listening medium. Catastrophe, the album, is a first full length record, presented in a popular music format, featuring sarcastic and catchy lyrics, acoustic instruments like the harp and banjo, and a voice. Catastrophe has been designed to delight a diverse range of listening audiences without compromising the artist’s distinct and personal musical tastes.
Gerry Trilling is an artist participating in a collaborative touring exhibition, Transformers: Re-Contextualizing Our Contemporary Culture. The exhibition will provide exposure in a part of the country where the work has not yet been seen. The travel will provide an opportunity to establish introductions that can further Gerry Trilling’s career with potential collectors and curators and art critics. This Inspiration Grant will cover the cost of building seven crates to ship the work to the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne FL and to cover travel expenses to attend the opening.
Enrique Chi, Music is an Immigrant Documentary Film ($2,500)
Enrique Chi, of local music group Making Movies, has teamed up with local film makers Summer House Films to create a short form documentary, tentatively titled ‘Music is an Immigrant.’ The film takes place in Panama, Alabama, and Kansas City, expressing that music is a vehicle, a cargo carrier, in which culture, philosophies and ideologies are contained. As it enters new countries it infiltrates and assimilates into the musical landscape of its new home. The culture it carried in is muted in some ways, romanticized in others, as it evolves into a new dual, or bi-lingual, identity. Music itself, is an immigrant. The film aims to use music, and Making Movies’ story, as vehicle to show the universal qualities of the human immigrant experience. Funds will be used to create a trailer and master the soundtrack for the film, as well as marketing materials to promote it. Local screenings of the film are being arranged.
Dick Daniels, 77 Rabbits ($1,000)
Dick Daniels is an illustrator with a whimsical cartoon-noir style. He is branching out into ceramics with his project 77 Rabbits. This will be a series of ceramic cartoon rabbit heads, exploring variations for each face, morphing into a wide variety of expression and abstraction. Daniels plans to show the series in multiple exhibitions. Funds will be used to access studio facilities at the Kansas City Clay Guild and Hammerspace Community Workshop.
Ari Fish, Prayer Robe Project ($1,550)
Ari Fish is a multi-media artist and clothing designer. Her Prayer Robe Project is a series of ten robes designed and constructed based on the symbolic principles of numerology from one to ten, each number representing a point of significance in the overall journey of a human. Pulling from religious and occult stories and symbolism within numerology, this project addresses the universality of the essence of human experience from birth to death. Fish’s project will be involved in exhibitions and collaborative performances in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Funds will be used for materials and to purchase an industrial sewing machine, an investment for this project, and her future studio work.
Brandon Frederick, Open House ($500)
Brandon Frederick is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and organizer. His project, Open House envisions a non-commercially driven space for artists to explore experimental ideas and ways of creating. He will transform a residential house into a studio and gallery space for the creation and exhibition of installation-based works in addition to a variety of public programs. In earlier projects, he has observed that artists respond to the individuality of an alternative gallery space, and is fascinated to see how artists will respond to making work in a repurposed home. Funds will be used for programming expenses, artist fees, and some necessary building materials for remodeling the space.
Sheri Hall, Women of the World Poetry Slam ($1,000)
Sheri Hall is a spoken word artist who will be traveling to the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam in Dallas, TX to perform in a poetry slam competition. Her poetry intends to paint images of life and imagination that allows the reader to travel to different worlds while gaining a better understanding of the world. Hall will be performing her poems in front of a large audience, taking part in workshops, promoting her new book, Black Girl Shattered, and networking with other poets. Funds will be used to pay for travel and administrative costs associated with attending the festival. Hall is a coach for KC Poet Tree, the team that won the Louder Than a Bomb Kansas City competition last year. She will be sharing her newly gained experience with area poets when she returns.
Brian Hawkins, Asiminier: Folklore of the Missouri French Creoles ($1,517)
Brian Hawkins is an animator whose work is concerned with the vagaries of memory and historical narratives. His current project, Asiminier: Folklore of the Missouri French Creoles, is a feature-length documentary celebrating a distinctive culture in Missouri. Interviews with scholars and people who were raised in Missouri’s Franco-American communities will describe the historical and cultural context in which the Creoles’ folkways were preserved for 300 years. The film’s central focus is to present the remaining cultural relics of the community in an engaging way. Folktales specific to the region will be presented as cut-paper animations with narration in the original French dialect. Funds will be used to buy a DSLR and lens for the animated segments of the production. Hawkins will be providing copies of his finished documentary to Missouri public schools, and submitting the film to festivals.
Daniel Morel, Print Studio to Enhance Production Capacity ($1,000)
Daniel Morel is a classical composer, educator, and producer. Morel will establish a print studio specifically for publishing music scores. Self-publishing is a cost-effective option that will enhance his means of distribution for performances, solicitations, and competitions. He intends to offer the services of his specialty music print studio to other composers in the area. Funds will be used for a wide-format printer, a spiral binding machine, a creasing machine, a file cabinet, and professional-grade paper.
S.E. Nash, Lactobacillus Amongus ($540)
S.E. Nash is a visual artist and educator. Nash’s Lactobacillus Amongus is a social practice engagement project that will result in sculptures that interact with vessels of fermented foods. Nash will collect sourdough starters, flour and water mixtures, from participants in the Kansas City area, to explore humankind’s civilization-long relationship with fermentation. The sourdough starters collected from participants will be housed in a series of sculptures on display at Plug Projects. Nash and a scientist will teach public microscopy workshops about the science and art in the project. Participants will be asked to bake food with their sourdough starters for the closing of the show. This interdisciplinary project cultivates curiosity, experimentation, and knowledge sharing. Funds will be used for wages for an assistant to feed the sourdough starters, local organic flour, a microscope camera, and an honorarium for the scientist-educator.
Nicholas Naughton, The PrintCast: a podcast about printmaking ($1,000)
Nicholas Naughton is a printmaker and the owner of La Cucaracha Press. In recognition of a need for in-depth discussion in the Kansas City printmaking community, he is creating The PrintCast: a podcast about printmaking. The show will discuss prints as an art form, commercial printing, graphic design, and human interest as it relates to the timeless utility of printing multiples. This podcast will feature interviews and storytelling by practicing artists and special guests locally, and eventually will expand more nationally. The show will be made available via iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast apps later this year. The funds will be used for audio studio equipment including microphones, mixing equipment, and soundproofing materials.
Jeanette Powers, Poetry Throwdown KC 2017: a celebration for National Poetry Month ($1,400)
Jeanette Powers is a poet, performance artist, visual artist, and publisher. She is helping organize Poetry Throwdown KC, a 3-day poetry festival celebrating National Poetry Month in Kansas City. Now in its second year, the event brings select, nationally acclaimed poets to our city as featured readers, plus dozens of emerging and established poets and small press publishers. All of this is combined with the release of the 28th and 29th books in Spartan Press’ flagship series, POP POETRY. The festival will take place at Prospero’s Books and The Writers Place, consisting of 9 featured events. Last year’s event drew an audience of more than 300. Funds will be used for travel expenses to bring four distinguished featured poets to the festival.
Cydney Ross is a sculptor and designer. She is known for her porcelain jewelry and accessories, and has connected with local fashion designers. Ross will create porcelain accessories that cover large portions of the human body that complement the striking clothing and makeup chosen by designers Natasha Shangari and Grant Karpin in a collaborative avant-garde photoshoot. The end result will provide hands-on experience for cross-disciplinary interaction and encourage future partnerships. Photos will be used to promote each artist on their own website. Funds will be used to hire a professional photographer, copyrights, facility costs, and materials.
Sam Stevens, Experiencing and Communicating Landscape: International Residency and Workshop ($1,000)
Sam Stevens is a painter and curator. He has been accepted for a residency at the Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art in northern Poland, and has applied for a workshop in Granada, Spain. Stevens plans to create a book of visual works in reaction to the local landscape and architectural forms with a consideration for their culture and history. Stevens is inspired by maps and the relationships between nature, our experience, architecture, and culture. The Polish residency is project based, and will be an opportunity for him to realize a community oriented project. The subsequent workshop in Spain will be an environment to present the work to a community. Funds will be used for travel expenses.
Anson the Ornery, Shades ($500)
Anson the Ornery is a multimedia artist who creates interactive artwork. Shades will be an installation work that underscores the fact that much of the world’s famous art is stored away from view, and is traded on the art market as an investment rather than as objects of inspiration. The space will be dimly lit to emphasize the mystique of the high-end art market, and a pile of illuminated lamp shades will project the audio of a cattle auctioneer. Artworks on surrounding walls will be covered by packing blankets, and visitors will be encouraged to touch them. The installation will be created and exhibited at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, encouraging the development of conceptual artworks by future artists. Funds will be used for lampshades, LEDs, and vinyl signage.
Lauren Thompson, Downtown Replay: An iterative performance rooted in public improvisation and evolving to the stage ($1,000)
Lauren Thompson is a modern dancer and choreographer. Downtown Replay is a collaborative work, developed between Lauren Thompson, Jonathan Robertson, and Tom Hipp. The improvisational work began as an Art in the Loop performance that incorporated the public and the downtown environment in dance, sound and video. The performance expresses that life and art imitate each other in a feedback loop. Thompson, Robertson, and Hipp have further developed the work into a more formal stage performance for the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Funds will be used for a performance facility, advertising, video documentation, costumes and artist fees.
Sarah Xeno, A Maker’s Odyssey and Amalgamation Station: workshops in lost wax casting ($1,000)
Sarah Xeno is a professional custom jeweler. She will be a Maker in Resident holding workshops at the Johnson County Central Resource Library. She will be teaching classes in traditional metal working techniques including lost wax casting, sculpture and modeling, both by hand and through computer aided modeling programs. The funds would be used towards the purchase of a vacuum casting machine and supplies. She will be able to use the machine as an investment in her future work.