Board of Directors announces a change in Leadership

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Colby K Smith

The Board of Directors at Studios Inc welcomes Courtney Wasson as the organization’s new Executive Director upon retirement of Colby K Smith. Smith has been the Executive Director since 2003 when he co-founded Studios Inc. The organization is indebted to his vision and commitment for propelling Studios Inc to its present position.

Smith states, “I know now is the right time for a change. We have grown this organization into one of the most unique of its kind in the nation while providing substantial impact across all our programs. I am truly proud of our achievements. While my daily involvement with Studios Inc will change, my ongoing support will not, this I say with great certainty. It truly has been honor to serve this organization.”

Brad Nicholson, chairman of the Board, shares “Having met Colby when he came to Kansas City, I think it’s important to remind everyone that Studios Inc as we know it would never have happened without his vision and willingness to dedicate himself to its success. Each artist who has had the unique opportunity to be part of the program has Colby to thank for his vision.”

Wasson joins Studios Inc with 10 years of gallery experience, marketing, and business management. Wasson is to succeed Colby K Smith, who has been the Executive Director since 2003 when he co-founded Studios Inc. Studios Inc provides studio space, professional development, networking, and exhibitions for mid-career artists in Greater Kansas City.

Wasson received a BFA with honors from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2005. She majored in art history and printmaking. After graduation she has continuously worked to support artists through exhibitions, studio critiques, and marketing. Wasson began working for Weinberger Fine Art at the beginning of 2016, working as the Curator, Marketing and Gallery Director. Since 2010, Wasson has worked with the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and is now the acting Executive Vice President for the Leedy Foundation. In 2016, Wasson began working with Linda Lighton as the Program Coordinator of the Lighton International Artist Exchange Program.

Wasson is a dedicated artist advocate whose mission is to service the promotion of artistic dialogue and connect artists to opportunities. She will be responsible for the general management and advancement of Studios Inc, building on the foundation established by Smith and the Board of Directors.

Wasson states, “My goal is to have a positive impact on the arts community and to further support artists within the Kansas City region through the programs available at Studios Inc. I love how Studios Inc engages and creates a community centered around the relationship between artists and patrons.”

Launched to serve mid-career artists, Studios Inc is Kansas City’s only nonprofit arts organization offering pivotal three-year residencies to mid-career artists who are poised to significantly expand their careers. Studios Inc offers a unique immersion experience for resident artists, who use their studio and exhibition space to produce and exhibit work, network and learn from one another, and attract and cultivate relationships with art patrons, collectors, and arts professionals.

Anonymous Women: Demise, Camouflage and Calamity

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The night of Patty Carroll’s exhibition Demise, Camouflage and Calamity filled Studios Inc with a good number of guests given an appetizing introduction into the Anonymous Women series, and as Caroll pulled back the curtain we gazed into the mind of an artist encapsulating the domesticity of mainstream America. I can say with confidence that everyone left with something new, burning and clawing inside of them that night.

Patty Carroll’s exhibition features twenty individual pieces and four installations. The installations are three-dimensional extensions of the staged photographs, Domestic Bliss, Picnicked, Plastic Fantastic, and Sweepy. The installations vary in their size, layout, scope, and medium.

Domestic Bliss is staged with women at the center of a room covered in thick, colorful, and glossy antique drapes hung over the room mixed with lace covered in pink floral prints. A large antique lampshade sits on an ornate, marble end table, illuminating a woman covered in more drapes and slouched over in her chair. Drapes fall into heaps on the floor as they envelop the entire piece. Domestic Bliss creates an elaborate, graceful, and florid outward expression of womanly domestication. However, the women and the room are obstructed by the drapes. The opaque material’s heaviness reference the veiled reality of the domestic sphere. We can only see the illusions of grandeur and happiness displayed within the piece and, by extension, the home. But, not the constrictive reality of domestication and, by extension, “domestic bliss”. (more…)

Studios New Residents!!!

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Anne Austin Pearce and Judith G. Levy join our eclectic and diverse residency program and bring their unique skills, talents, and abilities to Studios Inc. We are ecstatic that these two artists are joining our family this January.

Pearce’s work centers around the ambiguity of moments intermingled between our inner self or intimate moments in our personal relationships. She describes this ambiguity as a moment of loss or gain, bondage or freedom. “It happens when we are grappling with a dream deferred or an expectation not met. it is the time passed shifting sensibilities, wavering between resolution and avoidance, teetering at the threshold of debilitating anxiety or liberating submission, deciding what, when and how to speak, what to distill, and whether to scream.

Levy’s work explores the historical, social, political and identity issues that complicate and contradicts the state of commonality within society. “I am interested in how perceptions, definitions and concepts are shaped.”

These two capable artists compliment our storied residency program and we cannot wait to see what these two have in store!

Abigail Brightwell-Gray’s “conceptual views”

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Whenever art is mentioned in a conversation, Landscape Art is one of the genres thought of first. The form traditionally involves some form of painting or photography that encapsulates a large scenery, occurrence, or stereotypical event that focuses on the concepts of nature, its relationship with humanity, and the outcomes of their interactions. Abigail Brightwell-Gray(our exhibitions management intern) curated the newest exhibition: conceptual views. The show deconstructs, analyzes, and tinkers with landscape art through a contemporary lens.


I was excited to see Abigail’s first foray into curating an exhibition and I came away surprised with the deep connections she created through the diverse set of works. The pieces create a contemporary rendition of the genre, rooted in a traditional sense. Prototypical landscapes are spaced between pieces that bend, reinvent, and escape the genre.


Feelings Defined: A One-Question Interview of Interns

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I applied for the editorial and content management internship at Studios Inc because of a tagline on a flyer. “No making coffee, no filing, no busy work! This internship is designed with you, for you!” This quick, comma-filled description pushed me to send in my resume, and that on-a-whim decision has loomed large over my Junior and Senior year in college.

2018 Interns: Album Cover for Pepper Rain

The Executive Director, Associate Director of, and Office Manager encourage, aid, and advance our talents as we work as the photographers, videographers, graphic designers, writers, social media specialists, and exhibition assistants of the organization. But, I’ve always wondered how do the other interns view their internships here? I’ve wanted to do an article that highlights the cogs of the Studios Inc engine for a while, and asks them, ‘What is the point of it all?’

The best way to understand the morale of the troops is to live, work and be amongst them, always asking questions and listening carefully. So, I did just that. I decided that an open-ended question would elicit a more honest and thought-out response.

But, what question? It took only a few minutes to think back only a few years, wherein small classrooms in high school and college I was asked questions like, what do you want to gain from this class? Or how do you expect to grow from this experience? Good questions that needed in-depth answers. So from these experiences, I thought of a variation of a classic, difficult, first day of class question.

“Describe your experience in one word and why did you pick that word?”  

I started with Ben Cottrell, our Digital Media intern, he’s been with us only for a few weeks, but is already an integral member of the team. (more…)

Studios seeks Executive Director

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art studios, free space, gallery, art, Art District, Downtown Kansas City, Events, First Fridays, Installations, Kansas City, Kansas City Missouri, Crossroads, KC Community, KCMO, Museums Opening, Opportunities, Residency Program, Resident artist, Visual Art, KC Visual Arts, Mid-career artist, art exhibition, exhibition, studios logoStudios Inc is now accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. Do you want to be a part of the premier, art based, non-profit organization of Kansas City? Does art based outreach into the community excite you? Do you believe in the overall development of Kansas City art culture? If so, shoot us a cover letter and resume! We’re all ears!

Executive Director Position Description:  The Executive Director (ED) is the key management leader of Studios Inc (SI) which includes The ED is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. Other key duties include fundraising, marketing, gallery exhibitions and sales, facility management and maintenance, and community outreach. The position reports directly to the Chairman of the Board and the Board of Directors. The position allows (more…)

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Two events graced the hot Friday afternoon last weekend. The 14th of September served as the opening night of Colby K Smith’s Navah II and coincidentally my birthday.

Since the inception of Studios Inc, Colby K Smith has served as its director and guided the organization high up the hierarchy of Kansas City Art Culture, while also being a resident artist at Studios Inc. Colby’s time spent running the organization would seemingly distract from his work as an artist. But, after viewing Navah II the very idea of it seems preposterous.

Colby’s newest Navah exhibition follows in the same vein as the previous one. A frantic smorgasbord of techniques, materials, and concepts are at work within the exhibition and all point to a man who embraces and values the chaotic moments within their own artistry and life. All of the fourteen pieces within the exhibition have been built by  (more…)

Dylan Mortimer and Susan White

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In the past few weeks, Dylan Mortimer, Studios Inc alumni and Susan White, current resident artist, opened exhibitions in the Crossroads District. They’re located at the Haw Contemporary Crossroads Gallery, and the KCAI Crossroads Gallery respectively. In this post, I take an in-depth look at their exhibitions.

The first thing I noticed in Dylan Mortimer’s exhibition Blinded by Grace is that it’s so… blinding. Dylan Mortimer reinforces this theme with his own opinion of the exhibition, “Hopefully like a beautiful blinding light… it hurts to look at, yet you can’t look away.1” A view from the sidewalk in front of Haw Contemporary doesn’t do justice to the robust array of sparkling reds, pinks, greens, purples, and blues against the heavy black backgrounds of the paintings. Once inside you see the scope of the work. Small intimate pieces that feature broken bronchi2, Jordan basketball shoes and healthcare symbols contrast with the large interpretations of Christian altarpieces and mosaics based around Mortimer’s renditions of cells. At the center of the space stands Tree, Broken Tree, a giant rendition of a smaller bronchus tree painting. The bronchus and its broken limbs are covered in an immeasurable amount of bright pink, purple sequins while the inner pulp and sap bleeding out of the bronchial tree are made of lime green sequins.

To understand Blinded By Grace you need to understand the life of Dylan Mortimer. Dylan Mortimer lives with (more…)

Miguel Rivera featured in The Hand magazine!!

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Resident artist, Miguel Rivera is the featured artist of The Hand Magazine’s Issue #20. The Hand is a locally owned art magazine operated and edited by photographers, Adam Finkelston and James Meara.  “The Hand magazine is dedicated to being the world’s premier forum for innovative and experimental uses of reproduction based media.”  


The co-editors praised Rivera’s progressive interpretation of artistic printmaking. “It is serendipitous that our feature artist, Miguel Rivera, is at the forefront of print-makers embracing what digital imaging can do to enhance their work,” (The Hand Magazine, pg. 2). Rivera’s feature in the magazine includes an interview conducted by the co-editors. The interview explores the conceptuality, practice, and influences within the framework of Rivera’s artistic process.

More recently, Miguel Rivera was interviewed on the Art Speak Radio show on KKFI 90.1 FM.

Introducing: Kathy Liao

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This week the Studios Inc’s introductive series that focuses on our newest artists will be delving deeper into the multimedia artist Kathy Liao

Kathy Liao declares that her work explores the concept of what a relationship is. The multimedia painting series Lingering Presence probes the intimate but fading relationship between Liao and her grandmother;

who is slowly losing her memory. In the multimedia painting Memories of Watermelon you see layers of a photo of an older woman surrounded by painted shapes and blocks. The shapes pull the focus of the painting inward and onto the woman who is covered in faded colors and patterns across her skin and clothes. The vibrancy of the painted shapes contrasts with the faded skin tone of the woman. The faded skin tone and the energetic colors represent Liao’s interpretation of her grandmother’s life. Liao questions if her grandmother lives in a colorless blurry haze to have it punctuated by bursts of kaleidoscopic remembrance?

Kathy Liao is currently premiering a new multimedia painting called 3 AM Kitchen at our group exhibition studiosinc:2018 on view until 4.13.18.
Kathy Liao is an Assistant Professor of Art at Missouri Western State University. Liao earned her MFA in Painting from Boston University and BFA in Painting and Drawing from University of Washington, Seattle. Liao’s work was featured in exhibitions in Seattle, Washington; Kansas City, Missouri; Boston, Massachusetts among others. Liao has received a variety of grants and awards; including the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Vermont Studio Center, and Jentel Artist Residency.



2018 Patron Party

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Last night Studios Inc hosted their annual Patron Party. The event was catered by the modern German restaurant Affäre and featured drinks from Torn Label Brewery. The Patrons had their fill of bacon wrapped scallops, potato rosti salmon, poached shrimp and other delights while they chatted with the artists, interns, and management of Studios Inc. As the fun and relaxed evening unfolded; the artists treated the patrons to intimate visits of the studios and showcased their current projects and completed works. The Patron Party is our way of thanking the patrons and artists of Studios Inc for creating and supporting the art culture of Kansas City.


Patrons play an imperative role in Studios Inc. They have the option to receive the gift of a work from the artist to add to their private collection or take a tax reduction for their contribution. The Patron Program also provides a heightened level of dialogue between patron and artist. Patrons are encouraged to cultivate relationships with the artists to learn more about the creative process.



studiosinc:2018 TONIGHT

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OPENING TONIGHT studiosinc:2018 a group exhibition! Join us from 6:00 – 9:00 PM and see live performances from Ricky Allman, Barry Anderson, and Davin Watne at 6:15 and 8:15!!

The Studios Inc Exhibition Space is pleased to present studiosinc:2018 a group exhibition featuring resident artists Ricky Allman, Patty Carroll, Caitlin Horsmon, Misha Kligman, Miguel Rivera, Colby K Smith, Debra M Smith, Hye Young Shin, Susan White, Kathy Liao, and Benjamin Rosenthal.

Introducing: Ben Rosenthal!

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For the next few weeks Studios Inc will be publishing an introductive series centered on our newest batch of artists: Ben Rosenthal, Kathy Liao, and Susan White. This week we focus on the works of visual artist Ben Rosenthal.

Rosenthal’s work oscillates between the varied realities of religion, sexuality, and militarism and their relationship with technology, through a queer “technosexual” lens. The work of spectral glances [in] and [of] prophetic tremors, [not touching] is a series of large installations combined into one unit containing a series of video channels that oscillate between a protruding finger covered in frenetically twitching patterns, masses of shapes and bodies that are coated in bright colors and visual textures, dental camera recordings probing the body of the artist, and bright colorations of TV noise all paced by the sounds of mediated breathing and recited queer sexting.The installation blasts the viewer’s senses and creates pockets of emotions like curiosity and sensuality that pervade throughout the entire space.

Ben Rosenthal will premiere a two-installation piece called of surfaces tension[ed] against petrified flesh[ness] at our group exhibition studiosinc:2018 on view from 3.09.18 through 4.13.18

Ben Rosenthal earned an MFA in Studio Art from University of California, Davis and a BFA in Art from Carnegie Mellon University. Ben Rosenthal’s work has been featured internationally at various exhibitions, festivals or venues in Stuttgart, Germany; Bangkok, Thailand; Gimpo-Se, South Korea; Mexico City, Mexico among others. Rosenthal is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. He teaches visual art, performance art, experimental animation, graduate seminar, and interdisciplinary acts.