ARTSPEAK RADIO presents, Scarritt Mural Project with Héctor Casanova, KCAI Illustration students, and Dr. Luis M. Córdoba

Artist, illustrator, & Kansas City Art Institute instructor, Héctor Casanova along with Illustration students, Allason Long, Andrew Dowling, Luna Green, and Mika Pitts discuss the Scarritt Mural Project. Also on the program, Dr.Luis M. Córdoba, Executive Director of Student Intervention Programs, joins in the discussion. Listeners may call the studio line for questions or comments during the program.

Scarritt Elementary School has been closed and shuttered for several years; neighbors often complain about the graffiti, vandalism and loitering that take place on the property grounds. The goal of the Mural Project is to use art to convert the Scarritt Elementary School (SES) building back into a positive visual landmark for the community; to reclaim it from blight and transform it into a unique example of urban art.

This Fall, students from the Illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) are working collaboratively to design and paint a new batch of murals for the panels covering Scarritt Elementary School’s doors and windows. The Mural Project is led by instructor Héctor Casanova as part of the “US” class; a course focusing on the social roles and cultural responsibilities of illustrators, and the collaborative nature of art practice. The Project was started in the Fall of 2014, with students covering the northeastern façade of the school building. In the Fall of 2015, we are making murals that will address the Eastern façade of the building.

The Mural Project is made possible through an alliance between the Kansas City Art Institute and the Kansas City School District as well as the Kansas City Museum. The project has received unanimous support from the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association and other local cultural organizations.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Héctor Casanova received a BFA as a double-major in Illustration and Art History from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1998.
He has worked as a fine and graphic artist for over 18 years, doing work for collectors, magazines and corporations nationally and abroad. Since 1999, he has been a staff illustrator at The Kansas City Star, Kansas City’s daily newspaper. His work also includes the graphic novels Screamland (Image Comics, 2008, 2010) and The Lurkers (IDW, 2006).
His work has been featured in group exhibitions in Kansas City, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Barcelona, and Mexico City and solo shows in Kansas City and New York. In 2000, he founded The Green Door Gallery in Kansas City, an alternative art space dedicated to showcasing the work of established and emerging artists from Kansas City and beyond.

Since 2013, Héctor has been a full time Instructor in the Illustration Department at the Kansas City Art Institute, teaching Sophomore and Junior level illustration majors. His latest project is a 70 ft mural titled Breach, which was commissioned by the city of Kansas City MO, and can now be seen in the Grove Park (on Truman Rd & Benton Blvd.).

Luis M. Córdoba is the Executive Director of Student Intervention Programs for the Kansas City Public Schools. Córdoba was born in Mexico and reared among some of the toughest gangs in East Los Angeles, California. He volunteers his time teaching race relations at the Kansas City Police Dept. cadet classes and is a former appointed member to the Kansas City, Missouri Mayor’s Commision on Violent Crimes.

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