The pandemic and quarantine may be making Lawrence residents feel somewhat isolated, but even a quick glance at the Arts Center’s fall catalog offers glimmers of hope!
This season’s catalog is full of virtual and in-person classes, events and exhibitions to drive the blues away. Its cover features a piece titled “glimmers of hope” by local artist Kristin Morland. Her interest in the arts began at a young age, but took off and evolved through classes and study.
“Growing up I was always drawing and making things,” Morland said. “As I made my way through high school I had a very nurturing art teacher who inspired me to study art. I came to KU and really only wanted to paint, but then I really started to gravitate toward weaving. I loved the freedom of expression with painting, but I also loved the structure of weaving.”
After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from KU, Morland returned home to St. Louis to take a job with the St. Louis Art Museum. An exhibition of Haitian art led Morland to her current preferred medium of sequins and beads.
“My director had gone to Haiti and purchased Haitian Vodou Flags for purchase in the museum shop, she said. “I had never seen anything like it before, and I just fell in love with it! As I began experimenting with the technique of hand sewn sequins and beads I found it was the perfect blend of what I love about both painting and weaving.”
Morland said she finds inspiration everywhere, but especially in nature. She also points to the art of Frida Khalo and Georgia O’Keeffe among her favorites. Her “glimmers of hope” piece was the offshoot of an idea that came as she was designing and creating an American flag that was commissioned.
“After working on that piece I needed to do something different and more freeing,” Morland said. “But I liked the idea of doing more flag-inspired pieces, so I choose to do a spin on the pride flag. I wanted to communicate something more fluid than flags generally do in our lives, and to include all the messiness and fun of life.”
Morland will be the first artist showcased as part of the Lawrence Arts Center’s partnership with Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The new $100 million outpatient facility will house a gallery that will feature rotating exhibits. The first show will coincide with the facility’s grand opening this fall and run through the end of 2020.
As an artist, teacher and parent, Morland’s relationship with the Arts Center runs deep. Her children attended preschool here, and both of her children participated in theater and ballet.
“I love the Lawrence Arts Center! It has been a place for my whole family,” she said. “The reason we moved back 20 years ago was for the connection with the community that Lawrence offers. The Arts Center has been at the center of that!”