September First Friday


2012 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108  I  816.474.1919   Thurs-Fri-Sat 11 am-5 pm
September 1, 2017
6 pm 9 pm
Troy Swangstu

September 1 - October 28, 2017
Main Gallery


"The biggest challenge as an artist is managing the constant conflict between creating and everything else in life. However, I believe it was my [fine] arts-training that allowed me to think outside the box with livestock. I allowed myself to begin to wonder, and in the act of doing so, I fully immersed myself in the process of mastering this new skill. Now, new notions and ideas have begun to form which I couldn't have conceived of otherwise. This culminated in the realization that I don't have to turn off being an artist to continue my work with livestock; rather, these two separate paths are now clearly merging into one."
- Troy Swangstu

Troy Swangstu is a local artist currently based out of Paola, KS and is the former owner and operator of DalArts in the Crossroads Arts District. Originally from Bettendorf, IA, Troy received formal training in painting at the Kansas City Art Institute. Shortly after, he continued to gain relevant experience exhibiting with other professional artists and by working closely with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In the years since, he continues to gain recognition as a prolific exhibitor at local and regional galleries. As well as his career as an artist, Swangstu has since relocated to Paola, KS to embrace a rural life of grazing cattle. Drawing upon his passion for regenerative farming practices, Swangstu employs the imagery of his daily life, his livestock and the surrounding landscape, as the primary visual subject of these paintings. Each painting created exclusively for this exhibition features abstracted grazing animals; most notably, bulls, rams, and antelopes.

When viewed collectively, the individual characteristics of each painting exudes from within their compositions. Some of the paintings dance across the massive landscape of canvas in brilliant hues of red and yellow; while others remain static, but no less active, in somber tones of monochromatic blue and grey. The quick, frenetic application of paint is done in loose blocks of colors that are juxtaposed against highly gestural strokes. These strokes create movement that trace the forms of the abstracted and segmented beasts. Imbued with a sense of freedom, these creatures are figural representations of the artist's present state of mind. By painting with such vigor and abandon, Swangstu is emphasizing his newly discovered freedom as an artist. Lest one begins to view Swangstu's paintings as pastoral archetypes, these works are not intended to be a direct reference to livestock, nor is that the artist's central narrative. Instead, the subject matter is meant to reflect and incorporate the years Swangstu has spent working with cattle. The hidden subject, as it were, is the paint and canvas. The canvas serves as the vehicle for the artist's intensive search for true authenticity, while the gestural strokes of paint emphasize his search for a new perspective. In this process of pursuing his own artistic individuality, Swangstu has successfully blended his training as an artist with his passion for sustainable farming.
Lori Raye Erickson

September 1 - October 28, 2017
Front Gallery


Top Left to Right:  Four Score and Seven Years, Sad Sam, Solemnly Swear, The Rising Tide of Discontent;  all m ixed media on wood

"I must make two honest confessions to you...First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Artistic Statement

This work reflects my state of mind regarding our political atmosphere with its chaotic and angry energy, and my frustrations with the administration as well as my fellow Americans. This body of work gives voice to my bewilderment at the current overwhelming disorder.  I am constantly upset by our inability to move beyond our differences.  History has shown us that hatred and separatist tension will only lead to desperate lawlessness without  justice.  The time for change has come and gone many times over.  The convenient season has come again.  I believe Obama said it best: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

Will we be that change, or will we wait, once again, for a more convenient season?

Artist Bio

Lori Raye Erickson's paintings, drawings and sculpture address political, social, and economic aspects of life utilizing humor and satire.  Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa she found art at an early age.

After leaving Iowa, Erickson received her BFA from the Kansas CIty Art Institute. Some of her awards are the Charlotte Street Grant, Avenue of the Arts, Liquitex Award of Excellence among others.  She prefers to let the art dictate what material it prefers, being the vessel for implementation, never confining herself to one particular style or methodology.

Erickson's work is in collections all over the world.


Debbie Barrett-Jones and Kristine Barret t

A Print and Sound Installation by Kristine Barrett
with Woven Textiles by Debbie Barrett-Jones

August 4 - September 30, 2017

Live Performance Friday, September 1st from 6pm-9pm

Back Gallery & Lower Level Gallery

(Top) Kristine Barrett, Muir Coast Barley 12 (detail), aluminum print, 11" x 61"
(Bottom) Debbie Barrett-Jones, Shades of Neutral Sheer, handwoven, 18" x 50"

"SANCTUARIES is a series of works that explore concepts of refuge: constructed and naturally occurring via the lands and spaces we inhabit and create for ourselves, rituals, and the resonate narratives that articulate our experience of being. Through sound, weavings, and print, sisters and KCAI alumni Kristine Barrett and Debbie Barrett-Jones create work that seeks deeply, navigating the intersections of darkness and illumination, ancient traditions and contemporary technologies, and personal and inherited narratives."

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Saturday September 2, 2017
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

Kristine Barrett presents an afternoon of music exploring the concept of refuge and resilience, featuring traditional music and ritual song from Norway, Serbia, Ukraine, and the Republic of Georgia. We will explore the various unique vocal techniques involved in Eastern European singing as well as delve into the history and meaning behind this haunting music. Singers of all ages, genders, and experience are welcome!


Emily Nickel

August 4 - September 30, 2017
Opie Gallery

I create elaborately sculpted and illustrated ceramic figures referencing Portal Fantasy: a literary genre which typically features a protagonist's journey to another world.  I use this journey as a metaphor for the anxieties, discoveries, and lessons of adolescence. In Portal Fiction, a protagonist might find herself in a world where nothing makes sense and she doesn't quite fit in. Her adventure in that unfamiliar land changes her forever.  Adolescence itself often follows a similar plotline. As Portal Fantasy tends to feature lush, magical worlds teeming with magical creatures and dreamlike landscapes, I lavish detail upon my pieces in order to recreate that sense of visual wonder. I either allude to illustration, or directly illustrate upon these figures, creating a visual link to images found in classic Portal Fiction novels, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Thematically, I feature common struggles for adolescents, including the search for acceptance from peers, the challenge of forming one's own independent worldview, navigating the body's physical changes, and handling the sexualizing pressures of a consumer culture. Viewers are invited through a portal which reimagines the quest for belonging that we all experience.

Artist Bio

Emily is a ceramic sculptor from Saint Louis, Missouri. She has exhibited her sculpture throughout the  US, from Baltimore to Montana to Las Vegas. She is passionate about art's power to impact the  community, and has taught classes and led service learning projects for nine years across the US. She  was a 2016 artist in residence at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, and presented a panel  at the 2016 NCECA conference in Kansas City. She recently traveled to Japan to study photography.