Independence Center & Kansas City Art Institute Team Up on Art Installation

INDEPENDENCE, MO. – (May 7, 2019) – In their ongoing efforts to enhance the visitor experience, Independence Center has forged local community partnerships to collaborate on new ideas for entertainment, arts and programming for all ages.

The latest showcase of those efforts has transpired through an art project with the Kansas City Art Institute’s (KCAI) Sponsored Studio program to design column wraps for four approximately 40-foot pillars within the east and west wings of the Center.

The two KCAI Sponsored Studio students that were selected to display their designs, Lacey Vonderschmidt and Nehemiah Cisneros, met Independence Center’s challenge of creating vibrant designs that bring energy, color and excitement to the Center.
Vonderschmidt’s design depicts local plant life as a way of integrating natural elements into the mall, while Cisneros’ abstract approach uses positive and negative space to create movement without a single focal point.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the KCAI partnership and the way the designs turned out,”said Cheryl Meyer, Independence Center Director of Marketing and Specialty Leasing. “We view these types of connections as a way to elevate the overall experience and keep things both fresh and hyper-local,” Meyer continued.

Independence Center and KCAI found a natural fit when it comes to KCAI’s Sponsored Studio program. The program was established to help businesses solve creative problems, while giving students real-world professional experience. Students can enhance their skills in problemsolving, collaboration and client presentations, while businesses benefit from a creative approach from KCAI’s talented students.

“Projects like this one at Independence Center allow our students to step out of the studio environment and into the business community,” said David Terrill, Kansas City Art Institute Assistant Professor of Illustration. “They engage students to meet their full potential and prepare them for professional careers.”

A growing consumer desire for authenticity and experience, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Envision 2020 Report, echoes Independence Center’s philosophy of integrating community partners to create a more local and dynamic experience. With new ownership at the helm, other efforts are in the works at Independence Center to continue both local partnerships an expanding experience offerings for all ages. The four pillar wrap art installations are now on display near the Sears and Macy’s wings of the Center.

Other examples of KCAI Sponsored Studio art can be seen around Kansas City at Stingray Bay at the Kansas City Zoo, Lead Bank, Coterie Theatre, and the Monarch Bar.

To see photos of the art installations and read more about the Independence Center, KCAI Sponsored Studio collaboration, visit:

About Independence Center
Independence Center, owned by IGP Business Group, is Kansas City, Mo.’s leading shopping center with more than 100 popular retail stores such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, H&M, Forever 21, PINK, Pandora, Carhartt, Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, Noodles & Company and the area’s largest indoor children’s play area that includes a full-size carousel. Independence Center is located at 18801 E. 39th St. South in Independence, Missouri. For additional information, please contact Independence Center at 816-795-8602 or visit Like Independence Center on Facebook at, follow them on Twitter @IndependenceCenter and on Instagram at @ShopIndependenceCenter.

About the Kansas City Art Institute
Founded in 1885, the Kansas City Art Institute is one of the oldest and most respected art and design colleges in the United States. Located at 4415 Warwick in Kansas City, Mo., KCAI is a premier private, fully-accredited four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts in 13 majors. KCAI’s mission is to prepare gifted students to transform the world creatively through art and design. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter: @KCArtInstitute, Facebook: and Instagram: KCArtInstitute

About Sponsored Studio and Micro
Sponsored Studio provides students with real-world, hands-on experiences and enhanced training for successful careers. Partnerships with local businesses offer unique educational opportunities for students while providing business partners with a fresh approach to their research and development, creative communications, and business challenges. Micro is a student design firm at KCAI that provides freelance illustration and design work to our business partners through the Sponsored Studio program.

For more information, please contact Brett Posten, [email protected]

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