by Kelly Rogge
Kansas City Kansas Community College now has its own art venue, The Gallery, for students, faculty, staff and community members to enjoy.
“The idea for an Art Gallery has been raised as a possibility for many generations of employees and community members. Each time the plan has hit a financial snag,” said Curtis V. Smith, professor of biological sciences and secretary for the Campus Art Committee at KCKCC. “The successful plan for this gallery was to do it very inexpensively in a room that held a hodgepodge of outdated unwanted furnishings.”
The Gallery, which is in what was previously known as the Private Dining Room in Lower Jewell, opened in early May. Smith said the pieces of fine art have been donated to KCKCC over the years and have been stored in the closets of the Intercultural Center. He said most of the art in the present exhibition is by retired faculty from colleges and universities in the Midwest region, including KCKCC.
“The art work for the permanent exhibition was selected by the Campus Art Committee,” he said. “It represents the best stored art and four other works of art that were moved in from around campus that tied in nicely to create the theme of works by renowned retired art faculty of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.”
Pieces on display in the Gallery include:
• Mexican Domestic I and II by Ernst Ulmer (1913-2009) watercolor 10”X 12” 1998.
• Winter Evening by Robert Sudlow (1932-2010) oil on paper 21” X 18” 1992. Robert Sudlow was a professor of art at the University of Kansas from 1947-1987.
• Confluence of Rivers by Norma Cowdrick, Giclee lithograph 20”X 28” 1989. Norma is a Kansas City native who was a professor of art at KCKCC from 2000-2011.
• Foliage by Wilbur Niewald, oil on canvas 29”X35” 1991.
• Untitled 1-10 by Jim Leedy, textured oil and acrylic on paper 36”X 50” 1990. Jim is the “father of the Crossroads Arts District” in downtown Kansas City.
• Road Runner by James Mirick, acrylic on paper 35”X 27” 1964.
• Morning Rises by James Mirick, acrylic on paper 35”X 28” 1968. Jim taught art full-time at KCKCC from 1965 to 1999.
• Oriental Masterprint-12 and 6 Ed. 20 by Roger Shimomura, silk screen 20” X 20” 1975. Shimomura’s paintings, prints and theatre pieces address sociopolitical issues of ethnicity.
• Id, Ego, Supergo by George Rousis three concrete and kinetic forged steel sculptures 7 ft. X 3 ft. 2009.
• Japanese Wedding Kimono
• Diet Sprite by Jerry Oliver Wilkerson (1943-2007) oil on canvas 14″X 12” 1992. Jerry Wilkerson was a St. Louis, Missouri artist known for his contemporary pointillistic style of painting.
• Donna’s Canvas by Leroy W. Allen (1951-2007) oil on canvas 14”X 19” 1994.
• Maasai Warrior by Catherine Mahoney, oil on canvas 50” X 40” 2008.
• Jazz Sentinels by Catherine Mahoney, oil on canvas 50” X 40” 2010.
• Grace by Beatrice Brooks, watercolor 20” X 28” watercolor 1991. According to J. Paul Jewel’s “History of KCKCC” Brooks’s watercolor was one of the first works of art purchased by a college art committee in 1993.
• Swing by Jõse Faus, spray acrylic on paper 73” X 44” 2013. Jose Faus is a Kansas City area poet, painter and sculptor.
• Anita by Richard Mattsson, oil on canvas 20” X14” 1992. Richard Mattsson recently retired as a Professor of Art from the Kansas City Art Institute where he taught many students from 1965 to 2013.
• Quindaro Underground Railroad Sketch by John Newman, watercolor 20″ X 14” 2008. John retired after 22 years as Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas in 2012 and was an art instructor at KCKCC in 1984. In 2009 he was selected by the Campus Art Committee to complete three 13×7 foot oil paintings on canvas that reflect his interpretation of the history of the Underground Railroad in Quindaro, Kan. The three large oils are located just to the west of the KCKCC Gallery Room in the Lower Level Science Building.
• Pea Soup by Ion Paleologue, oil on canvas 6” X 9” 1962. As a former KCKCC art faculty member from 1973 to 1984, Ion taught watercolor, acrylic, oil painting, sculpture and silk screening.
The hours of the KCKCC art gallery have not yet been determined. However, Smith said it will most likely be staffed by a student worker from the ICC and open two to three days each week. The Gallery can also be reserved for meetings of up to 10 people. However, no food will be allowed in The Gallery.
“The main reason a campus art gallery is needed is because visual art is priceless,” Smith said. “It represents the finest of what humankind has to offer educationally, spiritually, socially, culturally, emotionally, psychologically and visually. Art represents who we are, where we have been, and where we are going. Visual art is at the core of our community culture.”
A college spokesman said The Gallery Room would not have completed without the efforts of Buildings and Grounds; Barbara Clark-Evans, director of the Intercultural Center and members of the Campus Art Committee. Campus Art Committee members include: Eva Bett, Tammy Fuller, Pam Louis, Beth Lurey, Rob Crane, Mayre Hoffman, Karen Hernandez, Jennifer Gieschen, Ruben Noguera, Brian Patrick, Paul Hemmerla, Tom Besgrove, Valerie Bashaw, Polly Plain, David Breneman, Ted Wilson, Melanie Scott, Hira Nair, Tom Hall, Anila Deliu, Doris Givens, Brian Bode and Cherilee Walker.