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Kansas City Art Institute unveils Labconco History Mural

Labconco History Mural and Vice President of Operations Mark Schmitz with KCAI Sponsored Studio Director Randy Williams

Image: Labconco Vice President of Operations Mark Schmitz (left) with Randy Williams (right), KCAI Sponsored Studio Director

EM Forester wrote “history develops, art stands still.” That’s the beauty of art though, right? Time flies but in the moments when you witness a work of art, it stands still. Sucking you into a pinpoint in history you otherwise wouldn’t be privy to. With this notion in mind, we set our sights on a new project last December. 

We wanted to liven up the entrance hallways at both Labconco locations with a mural. But not just any mural. First, it had to be big. Not just in size at eighteen feet wide by five feet tall, but also in impact. A fresh take on a long company history was exactly the piece we were searching for. Second, it had to incorporate a lot of elements. Nearly a hundred years of milestones within one mural was no simple task. So, we turned to the local talents at Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) for help. 

KCAI has an exceptional partnership program available to benefit their students and local businesses alike. They call it Sponsored Studio. Students gain real world client service experience by addressing the needs of businesses in Kansas City. And the projects they tackle aren’t for amateurs, either. These are monster projects that receive maximum exposure throughout the city. Who better to help us with this creative endeavor? 

Mark Schmitz, Shirley Hogenkamp and I pitched them our idea in the first meeting, gave them the elements, and let them run with it. Little did we know by the second meeting, we’d be blown away by every student. All of the concepts they presented were unique and amazing, which made our decision very difficult. 

Labconco History Mural created by Jessie Green and Eien Carpenter at KCAI Tap image to enlarge

We asked senior illustration students Jessie Green and Eien Carpenter to execute their concept with a mixed media approach and original illustrations. We felt it best captured our history and values. The focus of the piece was on the stories and people that drove us to be what we are today. Putting the humanity back into our history, because that’s what it’s all about. The final piece, as you can see, went above and beyond our expectations. A truly unique creative interpretation of our history.

Now every time we walk the hallway, we are privy to this fleeting moment when art speaks and time stands still. 

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