Looking to buy art from Kansas City’s best emerging artists? This art school sale is your chance
The Kansas City Art Institute’s End-of-Semester Exhibition and Sale starts tonight. It's a chance to tour open studios and buy the work of emerging artists.
All across campus at the Kansas City Art Institute, students and instructors have been busy hanging artwork and preparing to open their studios to the community this weekend.
Toward the end of each semester, the school hosts an exhibition and sale to benefit art students. There will be paintings, ceramics and illustrations of all kinds.
"I'm happy that we all get a chance to, like, show off what we've been working towards and make a little bit of money just in case, you know what I'm saying?” said senior Kevin Hopkins.
After spending a long morning hanging paintings, Hopkins hung back in the student gallery to take in the works on display. His vivid paintings of superhero battles have recently caught the attention of area galleries.
“I'm super proud of everyone I've been able to work alongside,” Hopkins said. “I’ve learned so much and met so many beautiful people here. I'm forever grateful."
Now on the verge of graduating, Hopkins plans to stick around the metro.
“Y'all have been welcoming enough that I'm moved here officially,” he said. ”I just want to work in this city in some arts-related job, and just find a studio and keep painting.”
Jim Woodfill, professor and co-chair of painting, oversees this flurry of activity. He said it's important for student to learn how to prepare for exhibitions and interact with the public.
"It's part of an ongoing process," Woodfill said. "Learning how to operate a studio, learning how to be a studio artist, learning how to build on a simple idea and expand it. And once you can do that, you can do it forever."
The end-of-semester exhibit is a long-standing KCAI tradition. It's been a part of student life since before Woodfill was a student here in the late 1970s. He said the show always creates a lot of energy among faculty and students.
"The whole campus is really buzzing about this time of year, inside and outside," Woodfill said.
The sounds of an electric drill fill Mia Silkett's work space in the painting department. She's a junior from Savannah, Missouri.
"I love getting to install my work together," Silkett says. "It's like a story of my brain in my studio, and it's just awesome to see all the other work that everyone else has been doing over the year. So I love the end of semester show and I always look forward to it."
Over in the illustration department, Zso Nemeth, a Kansas City junior, is slicing archival prints with an X-Acto knife.
"I do digital illustration, so I print out my work so I can sell it," Nemeth said. "When I sell them as prints, they can have like a little piece of what I do as an illustrator, and it's much cheaper than buying an original," Nemeth said.
As students rushed to hang their work, Héctor Casanova, assistant professor of illustration, took a moment to show junior Cooper Carter the correct way to hang a framed artwork. Carter has a stack of prints he plans to sell this weekend.
"The end of the semester is always a bit stressful for everyone — but in a good way," Carter says. "We want to make sure that all of the images that we've worked really hard on are showcased in a way that best suits them."
With 80 students in the painting department alone, Woodfill advised visitors this weekend to take their time as they meander through each studio.
"There's just an awful lot to look at. I think if you see something you like and think that you could live with it: Take a chance on these young people," Woodfill says. "Most of our students are Venmo ready to go, so it should be it should be quick and painless."
The End-of-Semester Exhibition and Sale runs from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, May 5, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, and from 12p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 7 at the Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri 64111.