Cheerleading inspired by birdsong

I Can't Give You Anything But Love

In 2014, Erin Zona invited me to produce a print-based and socially conscious project specific to Kansas City as a Visiting Artist in the Zz School of Print Media's Printmaking in the Expanded Field program. With assistance from Stuart Hinds, we explored several subcollections within the LaBudde Special Collections archives at University of Missouri—Kansas City. It was a super rewarding and at-times conflicting experience, but ultimately I embraced my role as an “amateur excavator” to find objects and ephemera that highlighted significant yet overlooked moments and people from Kansas City history.

The entire project is named after Priscilla Bowman‘s song "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”. A Kansas City-born jazz and rhythm-and-blues singer, Priscilla was known as Kansas City's "original rock 'n' roll mama”. The LaBudde Collection holds her sheet music, songbooks, fliers, and more. 

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love was completed over four days in November 2014 with support and assistance from students at the Kansas City Art Institute & Kansas City Center for the Ink & Paper Arts. Graphic elements were extracted from the LaBudde Collections to create a suite of printed matter in an edition of 100. The prints include:

  • Screenprinted reproduction of Welcome Monarchs lithographic poster. The KC Monarchs were the longest-running franchise in the history of baseball's African-American Leagues.
  • Screenprinted reproduction of Lucile Bluford’s letterhead. Lucile was known as the “conscious of Kansas City”. She utilized her status as owner and editor of the Kansas City Call to fight for social justice for the African-American population.
  • Screenprinted reproduction of Jewel Box Lounge matchbook
  • Xerox reproduction of 1st newsletter from womyntown, a lesbian separatist community located within Kansas City limits
  • Letterpress printed reproduction of VIP card from Billie Jean’s, a leather denim bar
  • Double-sided letterpress printed “Ain’t Givin” & “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”, extracted from Priscilla Bowman’s sheet music
  • Series of three pinback buttons
  • File folder, which contains all of the pieces, stamped with “Priscilla” on the tab, extracted from Priscilla Bowman’s sheet music

Collections accessed during the project:

The project concluded with a Show-And-Tell happening at Plug Projects, where attendees were encouraged to bring and share their own objects and histories. Stuart Hinds shared the extensive matchbook collection and Gays Changing Times scrapbook, and Michael Boles shared his Private Birthday Party project. Everyone was given a full suite of prints from the edition as a takeaway archive!

Very special thanks to Stuart Hinds, Micheal Boles, Erin Zona, Plug Projects, Quinn Mahler, Sara Haug, Zophia McDougal, Calvert Guthrie, Rachel Mesplay Helm, Adriane Herman, Danni Parelman, Kelly Clark, Kelsey Van Horn, Kim Heinrich & Mel Moscoso