The RELEVANT program has been put on hold for 2014.

The RELEVANT Alumni Group Show will run from August 16 - October 26, 2014 at the Kimball Art Center Main Gallery.


Karen Cleveland

Georgia State University

MFA, Painting

I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but spent summers with my great aunt on the Blackfeet Indian reservation in Montana. After graduating from high school, I moved west to be closer to Montana and to attend college. I studied linguistics, anthropology and art at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. After graduation, I returned to the Reservation to take classes and work with tribal Elders on a language revitalization project. Since then, I have moved around the country working at artist residencies in North Carolina, New Mexico and Vermont, as well as working as a counselor and a wilderness guide.

I returned to Atlanta in 2008 to attend graduate school and pursue my MFA. My work often considers the human relationship to nature and involves finding magic in the everyday. It’s about stringing the spiritual through the mundane physical world and making visible the unseen cycles and energy that connect the universe. I use both organic and inorganic recycled materials in my work to deconstruct the polarization of the natural and urban environments. My work has been featured in new American Paintings and Conceptions Southwest. I was recently nominated for the Dedalus grant.

Mackenzie Donovan

Westminster College

BFA, Painting

I began painting and drawing as a child and continued to be drawn to art throughout my primary and secondary years of school. As a senior in high school I was chosen as the sterling scholar selectee for visual arts. I enrolled at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, majoring in Fine Arts with an Environmental Studies minor. As a result of interlacing my passion for these two subjects, I find myself drawn to creating art inspired by my environment. I intend to be as pure as possible when making a piece. I try to refrain from using digital resource material and like to create my painting surface from scratch as a way of building a kind of relationship with the piece. I love how i can battle between feelings of being a fraud and a proud parent of something bigger than me, the process is full of highs and lows and I’m entirely addicted. I plan on painting on or sculpting from recycled pieces in a effort to be a green as possible when creating. My style is very graphic, I love bold, confident colors that pull the viewer in from across a room. The possibilities are unlimited and my ideas or always flowin’, I hope to explore them all!

Molly Kaderka

Kansa City Art Institute

BFA, Painting & Art History

Molly Kaderka is currently working on her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree at the Kansas City Art Institute, majoring in Painting and Art History. Previously she has completed several workshops and classes at The University of Texas at Austin, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Molly has also been accepted into the Studio Art Centers International in Florence Italy for the late spring term of May 2011. Among others, she has exhibited paintings in the H&R Block Artspace and Dodge Painting Gallery in Kansas City Missouri, Arthouse at the Jones Center Contemporary Art for Texas, and Bass Concert Hall in Austin Texas. She has received numerous awards and scholarships for visual arts, as well as writing awards and theatrical awards including the KCAI Competitive Award 2007-2011, both gold and silver medals at the Visual Arts Scholastic Event in 2006, 2004, and 2003 and the Austin American Statesman Excellence in Writing Scholarship Competition in May 2006. Additionally, during the summer of 2010 Molly was invited to join a team to design and execute two four-story murals in the new Performing Arts Center designed by Moshe Sofdie. Molly has also been hired has a teaching assistant for the Kansas City Art Institute in the summer of 2009 and has interned at the H&R Block Artspace Gallery and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Fine Art in Kansas City Missouri during the fist half of 2010.

Molly is very interested and engaged with current conversations in painting. She actively responds and appropriates from the history of painting while still maintaining a relationship with contemporary topics in painting.

Ian Leinbach

University of Utah

BFA, Painting

I have always considered myself an artist. I have always lived life in accordance with my own creative vision. I have never had a conventional image of myself, nor felt the need to conform to any one societal expectation. It is with this counter-cultural lens that I approach life, and also the creation of my art. My art background began watching my mother paint when I was a small child. She instilled in me the value to create art and express oneself creatively. Due to her influence, I grew up feeling most happy when I was creating; from graffiti, to pencil drawings, to oil on canvas, to building bicycle rickshaws. After leaving the Navy, I wanted to go to college to develop my artistic capabilities. I chose to attend a film school in Los Angeles. However, I left this program after two years as my visions didn’t dovetail with Hollywood aesthetics. I vowed not to return to University until I could be a part of a program that would foster me as an artist and help me to develop my unique vision and form or expression. I currently live in Utah and am attending the University of Utah. It is here that I am pursuing a BA degree in Fine Arts. It is wonderful to be back in school and I find that I am full of energy and inspiration to create and grow as an artist. Perfectly complementing my degree, the Kimball Art Center’s relevant program would serve to foster and develop my creativity while advancing my proficiency as an artist to the next level.

Ryan Wade Ruehlen

University of Colorado at Boulder

MFA, Multimedia

Ryan W. Ruehlen was born in 1984 in the rural college town of Hays, Kansas. Ruehlen has exhibited his work nationally; most recently exhibiting/performing with the Flinching Eye Collective during the Atemporal Radio Tour, spring 2012. He has worked as a gallery curator, art & sound event organizer, performer and lecturer. He received his BFA in studio painting from Fort Hays State University in 2007 and will hold his MFA in studio arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the spring of 2013, where he also teaches part-time.

Ricardo de Sousa Costa

Western Michigan University

BFA, Sculpture

My name is Ricardo de Sousa Costa, I was born in Cape Town South Africa and raised in Johannesburg. Immigrated to America (Gary, Indiana) when I was 10 years old, and I currently reside in Kalamazoo, MI. I am a sculpture Major here at Western Michigan University, in my final year, looking to graduate in December of 2011. My art background has been rather brief. After volunteering in Thailand for two years for Tsunami restoration 2005 as well as a few other jobs, I returned to America; and I found my journal had more drawings that notes, and I wanted to come back to the concrete walls in Thailand I had lived between and paint them to inspire hope. So…I started to go to school for art. (very romantic, no?) In the future I would like to go to grad school, but you can make a 100 plans in life and life never goes as planned. So for now I am enthralled to adventure in art, and to take endeavors to places like the Kimball Center in Park City, Utah.