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A work of Art

Introducing Anthony High

Many things have changed over the years for Kansas City native Anthony High Sr., but his love for creating artwork never will. He knew from a little kid that art was his passion, no matter what anyone said.

“I was always told art isn’t practical,” Anthony says. “I never paid that any mind, I knew that the art thing was in my DNA.”

Anthony specializes in paint and printmaking. He discovered his love for printmaking while going back to school for his graduate degree.

He says one of his mentors introduced him to printmaking, which he wasn’t fond of at first. 

“I thought it was kind of boring,” he says. “I remember seeing black and white images, and you go through these tremendous processes to get to it, and then I later found out that printmaking was a whole lot more than that.” 

He began gravitating toward a printmaking process called collagraph. 

“I love those creative, serendipitous moments where you have these happy accidents, and printmaking is such where you can do something exactly the same way and it’ll come out different when it comes out of the press,” Anthony says.

He secured his first show by being noticed while doing street painting by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum who shared the same gallery space. 

“I was part of their first traveling show that’s been traveling for about 20 years now.”  

Much of his inspiration for his art comes from the Negro Leagues and Jazz genres.

“I always felt like athletics and the arts kind of draw people together,” he says. “You could go to a jazz club back in the day, and it really didn’t matter what color you were, everyone was enjoying jazz.”

Anthony is currently focusing all of his energy on the upcoming Parade of Hearts event. He is one of 123 artists selected out of 700 design entries who will design a giant statue of Kansas City’s well-known heart. Once completed, the hearts will be placed around the city.

“My pieces are so involved, I’m going to have to live in the studio to meet this deadline, but you know what, it’s exciting,” he says.

Anthony was fortunate to have two of his designs accepted. He’s excited to be a part of an event that aims to show the nation the best of the heartland.

“When we picked up the hearts, and I’m in my 60’s right, but we felt like little kids,” Anthony says. “That’s what I really like about art because no matter how many curtains you open with art, the next curtain is just as exciting.”

Throughout his career as an artist, Anthony has taught art at various schools, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum. 

“I’ve always been a very animated teacher,” he says, “and I’ve taught everything to everyone from preschool to college, and I found out when you have that enthusiasm it translates into your students.” 

The more he taught art to students, the more he realized it was fueling his inspiration. 

“You learn from your students,” he adds. 

Throughout his life, Anthony has traveled to major art galleries across the country. Every time he’s in a new city he makes a point to check out the local art scene. His trip is incomplete without it. By seeing artwork in so many cities, he says it just goes to show how special the art community is in the Midwest.

“The Midwest artists stack up against artists anywhere in the world,” Anthony says. “So often, the Midwest is kind of looked at as flyover, but when it comes to art we are very much not flyover.”

To see more of Anthony's art, visit