ArtspeakRadio with Cruz, Highland, and Metcalf

ArtspeakRadio, Wednesday May 5, 2021, noon – 1pm CST, streaming live audio.

Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd welcomes Consuelo Cruz, Christel Highland, and Clint Metcalf to the program.

CONSUELO CRUZ is the Marketing and Community Engagement Manager for Belger Cartage Service, Inc. and Belger Arts.
She has over fifteen years of experience forming and cultivating partnerships with diverse
stakeholders in non-profit, corporate and government sectors. She believes deeply in the value of the arts and education in bridging cultures and connecting communities. She has served as Director of Latino Cultural Arts Division and Director of Development for Mattie Rhodes Center, as an interpreter, an adjunct Spanish instructor, and most recently as the Arts Marketing Coordinator for the Office of Culture and Creative Services, City of Kansas City, Missouri. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts, Spanish from Rockhurst University and a Master of Arts, Romance Languages and Literature from University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri. She has studied abroad at University of Granada, Spain and Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico and has served on the Boards of Directors of numerous non-profits in Kansas City.

Belger Arts
Facebook:  Belger Arts | Facebook (handle:  @BelgerArts)
Instagram:  Belger Arts (@belgerarts) • Instagram photos and videos (handle:  @BelgerArts)

CHRISTEL HIGHLAND, artist-SPECTRUM, a visual art exhibition by Christel Highland on display April 2 – May 29, 2021

Christel Highland has always been creative. “I didn’t have the specific talent to join the circus, but I thought working in theatre was the next best thing.” Highland started dance at age four, and her Mother taught her how to sew. She found her first job at a tiny regional theatre as a costumer and dancer at 21, beginning a career that lasted a decade. “I’ve been backstage in some of the biggest and oldest theatres in the world, and on the set with one of the best filmmakers of our time.”
Spectrum is a selection of work produced during the last ten years while living in Kansas City. “I’ve never been so nervous for an opening! That was kind-of exhilarating after doing this for so many years. A few months before I started putting this show together, a good friend encouraged me to show people everything that I am. I think the narrative
concealed my wide range of expression.”

“I’m a person who people look at and assume things. The truth is, right after a devastating divorce, I was forced out of my first business venture, and I subsequently lost everything. Right around the same time, a man who was like a chosen father, Tom Ryan, died suddenly. I was on food stamps and barely scraping by with two small children while I put myself through school.”
With the encouragement of a few people, like Jim Leedy, she threw herself into fine art. “He’s known as the Grandfather of the Crossroads, but he really should be known primarily as the very first Abstract Expressionist Ceramic Artist. He taught me that being creative really means being brave.” Then things got better and worse. “While I was still raw from a custody battle because I began a relationship with a woman, I outed myself in a big way when I wrote an open letter to my Dad.” (Read the Washington Post article here.) Highland’s health has even been a challenge: “I look like a very healthy person, but even that has been a struggle. There were a couple years I honestly thought I was dying.”

Highland has become incredibly resilient during her time in Kansas City. “Like everyone, 2020 flipped my life on its head. With Spectrum, I’m pausing to look back and reflect.” Highland is currently living and working in the Crossroads with her teenage sons Clive and Otto, serves on the Municipal Art Commission, and on the
Executive Committee for art in the new KCI airport. See Spectrum at the
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center through May 29, 2021.

CLINT METCALF-I am a process man. I find that all new work comes from the work that came before. Through the use of strokes, scrapes and dots, I pull images of vibrant color and movement out of the black void of my canvases.  But before any brush touches canvas, I have sketched copiously and journaled about my motivation for each piece.  All my canvases start with black grounded gesso. I like that the grounds in this gesso pull the color off the brush, aiding in my impasto style of painting.

A wash-like foundation of opaque color then sets the emotion of the painting. My work tends to vacillate between aggressive and gestural or shimmering and delicate. Through this choice of emotion, my paintings can be described as “alive with color, curve and form, the elements seemingly one moment away from running riot over the canvas – and perhaps not stopping there “ (Steve Brisendine, “Chaos, Carefully Controlled “, artkc365,  May 7, 2009) to an “almost ethereal experience [with] subtle color variation that gives the canvas a hazy, airy feel.” (Adam Crowley, “Epic Swirls, Controlled Energy”, ereview,  March 23, 2010).

I ascribe to the ethics of the New York School painters, believing that all good work comes through hard work. I follow Chuck Close’s theory that, “inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”


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