KANSAS CITY, MO, September 14, 2020: The 2020 fall season in Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District will be graced with newly installed Crossroads Artboards featuring local artists Alonso L. Ortega and Davin Watne. Located on top of BOK Financial’s Crossroads branch at 125 Southwest Boulevard, Charlotte Street Foundation is excited to showcase local artists’ work in a time when many arts patrons lack access to safe spaces to consume art. The new Artboards will be on display for the next three months and will be taken down in the first week of December 2020.
“Making art easily accessible and available to the public, which has always been a goal with the Crossroads Artboards program, is now even more important in times of a global pandemic,” says Charlotte Street Foundation’s Marketing + Communications Manager, Mason Andrew Kilpatrick. “The next three months will continue to be a stressful and critical period for Kansas City and the families that call it home. Now is an important time for all of us to reflect on the values we believe in and challenge ourselves on what we want our future to be. Public art creates opportunities for us to question ourselves and the world around us by providing images of critical thought and beauty. Local artists Alonso L. Ortega and Davin Watne do just that with these new Artboards.”
Kansas Citians can continue to appreciate the contemporary works of local artists running simple errands in the Arts District, like going to a grocery store, picking up carryout, or using the KC Streetcar. The exterior, double-sided Artboards will be visible to the public all hours of the day above BOK Financial (formerly branded as Mobank), who has collaborated with Charlotte Street in the innovative Artboards program since 2008.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS AND WORKS
Alonso L. Ortega is an emerging architectural designer + artist. He continuously pursues curiosity by questioning convention and creatively navigating the problem-solving process. His background in architecture allows him to execute with attention to detail and sophistication while his passion for theory affords him the opportunity to explore the experiential world. Alonso believes strongly in questioning everything one does and enjoys and applies his ever-evolving skillset to projects with one eye trained on honing his skills and the other focused on achieving technical excellence.
“The Crossroad billboards are sister canvases held high in steel framing, inviting visual trickery, architecture + imagination. The mural will use these features in conjunction with the intangible dimensions of human conditions, bringing the concept of space and familiarity to one. Similar to an illusion the artwork needs people for it to work, it is not to be confused with a still image, but rather an immersive and collaborative object, altering depending on its interaction,” says Alonso. “One may perceive polished spheres varying in size and location as they float and are penetrated by the perimeter, while others may register an enclosed habitat with vibrant, semi-reflective walls, some may even be so perplexed as to be hypnotized by curiosity.”
Alonso continues to explain his directive, saying “Whether you find comfort in the known box or the unusual soft round edges of an ink blob, the ability to question what is being intrusive in this setting will allow for this piece to be more than an image and will become space.”
Davin Watne is an artist based in Kansas City with an established record of professional achievement. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1994 and his MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013. He has been awarded the Charlotte Street Foundation Award, ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, Avenue of Arts Municipal Arts Grant, Art in the Loop Public Arts Grant and is a former resident of the Studios Inc. Residency Program. Davin holds a full-time lecturer position at University of Missouri Kansas City, where he teaches painting and drawing. Davin is also the head curator and director of the UMKC Gallery of Art.
“The two images are isolated sections (crops) of a painting called ‘What if Policy Was Poetic,’” says Davin. “By isolating these sections I can emphasize the painting’s conceptual aspects. The painting depicts a land surveyor in the corner of a large mountain vista. This painting pays homage to the Hudson River School painters, while updating this trope to an era of climate crises. Painted with inverted colors much like a photo negative, the image can be re-inverted to show the original photographic reference with most smartphones.”
Davin Watne explains the image’s color and contrast stating, “The painting’s color scheme is achieved through a technological revisioning of the original reference image. This mimics human interventions into the landscape. Such intrusions are similar to the notions in science that to be able to perceive something you inevitably end up changing it. In this example, the land surveyor that is depicted in the lower left-hand corner cannot access this area to see and survey it without roads and infrastructure that alters the landscape, therefore changing it. I hope to instill in the viewer a new sense of ‘wildness’ in nature while also acknowledging and lamenting its loss.”
ABOUT CHARLOTTE STREET
Charlotte Street identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. Charlotte Street cultivates the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City art community. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $1.5 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org.
ABOUT THE CROSSROADS ARTBOARDS
The Crossroads Artboards were launched in the fall of 2008 when the Mobank purchased the building that currently houses its Crossroads Branch and renovated and converted the building’s existing double-sided billboards into a highly visible site for work by area artists. The project was completed by Helix Architecture + Design. In 2018, Mobank was rebranded to BOK Financial. For a complete listing of artists featured and more information, go to www.charlottestreet.org/opportunities/artboards
Read the PDF document of the press release here.