Artist Rashawn Griffin will be featured speaker at the Shooting Stars Gala
03/23/2017 02:02 PM

Rashawn Griffin, a respected visual artist and member of the first class of Shooting Stars, will be the featured alumni speaker at the Shooting Stars Gala on March 26, 2017. Drawing from his training in sculpture and painting, Griffin’s nostalgic assemblages use the architecture of the gallery space to reveal social landscapes and personal narratives. In the tradition of artists such as David Hammons and Bruce Conner, his diverse practice employs found objects and personal effects that introduce evocative hints of place and character. The dialogues Griffin creates between organic, transient materials including grasses and food and larger, architectural concerns engage the viewer as an active participant through fluctuations in scale and viewpoint.

Griffin has exhibited in multiple solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Often pushing the boundaries between object and installation, his work challenges viewers to engage in their own past experiences when confronting his art. He uses diverse materials such as bed sheets, tassels, food, and flora to create large-scale sculpture and paintings. 

At the Nerman Museum on the JCCC campus, Griffin installed a site-specific room constructed of fabric, wood, and foam; a cable strung with drawings connects the room to the monumental cascading staircase in the front entrance rotunda on the museum’s first floor. With A Hole-in-the-Wall Country, Griffin considers the association between the interior and exterior stairwells in the museum, and this reflection parallels the studio’s relationship to the outside world. Notably, all of the materials, language and ephemera in the installation were accumulated during the artist’s time spent in Kansas. The resulting exhibition acts as an exercise in memory and displacement, themes in Griffin’s work which critic Adrian Searle has called “dislocating and affecting.”

Born in 1980 in Los Angeles, Griffin was raised in Olathe, Kansas, and now lives and works in New York and Kansas City, MO. He received a MFA from Yale University in 2005 and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Arts in 2002. He was a 2006 resident of the Studio Museum AIR program. His work has been included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, a two-person exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem (R.S.V.P) as well as in the group exhibition "Freeway Balconies" at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, curated by Collier Schorr.

The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) sponsors the Shooting Stars program to honor Johnson County high school students for achievement in the literary, performing and visual arts through recognition and college scholarships. Shooting Stars award recipients will be announced at the 20th annual Shooting Stars Gala at Johnson County Community College on Sunday, March 26, 2017. This year, 104 finalists were selected and two students from each of nine categories of the visual and performing arts will receive college scholarships.

“We are thrilled that Rashawn Griffin will share his experiences as an artist to our finalists and guests at the our 20th anniversary Shooting Stars Gala,” said Sarah VanLanduyt, ACJC Executive Director. “After earning the Shooting Stars award as a high school senior, Mr. Griffin has developed into one of the most compelling professional artists, creating works that draw in those who see his exhibits through the use of diverse materials, spaces and fascinating connections.” 

Dedicated Arts advocate and patron, Mary Tearney, will be the honorary chair for the 2017 Shooting Stars Gala. For more than 20 years, Mrs. Tearney has worked to form area Arts councils, to serve on public art commissions and committees, and has supported the Arts by sharing her time, leadership skills and financial contributions. Mrs. Tearney has been involved with the Shooting Stars program every year since it began in 1997. Lewis Nerman also will make remarks at the Gala. Nerman’s family is among the area’s most prominent collectors of contemporary art and lead funder of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at JCCC. The Nerman family have been long-time supporters of the Shooting Stars program. Learn more about the Shooting Stars program here.


The Shooting Stars Gala will be on Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at Johnson County Community College.

From 3:00-4:00 pm, Shooting Stars Finalists and guests will attend a reception and exhibition opening at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.  Finalists’ projects in the categories of Photography, Three-Dimensional and Two-Dimensional Art will be on display at the Nerman Museum. Guests also can experience the Finalists’ journey through a photo montage (DVD) of the Performing Arts auditions and Literary Arts portfolio readings. 

The Awards Ceremony will be held in Yardley Hall from 4:15 – 5:30 pm, with a celebration reception to follow in the Carlsen Center lobby. Individual tickets to the Gala are $50 and are available at here.





About the Arts Council of Johnson County
The Arts Council of Johnson County is dedicated to the enrichment of the community through the Arts. By focusing on the Arts as an effective economic development tool to foster a strong regional identity, ACJC advocates for policies that strengthen the Arts in Johnson County and the metropolitan area; champions Arts learning opportunities for all ages; amplifies Johnson County’s voice in the broader metropolitan area Arts discussions; and contributes to the growth of the Arts within the 21 municipalities of Johnson County. The ACJC works to build a creative culture, transforming the region into a vibrant, thriving area desirable to residents, new businesses, visitors and tourists. Learn more at


Sarah D. VanLanduyt
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