Art Director

KAI Design & Build Hires New York Artist Kennedy Yanko as Art Director


Interior Design Team launches initiative to incorporate more art in their projects

KAI Design & Build and its Interior Design Team have launched an initiative to support the art community by incorporating work from artists around the country into their design projects. To facilitate the effort, KAI has hired New York City artist and St. Louis native Kennedy Yanko as Art Director.

Yanko will work with KAI’s Interior Design Team to implement an embedded practice that puts culture and art at the forefront of its interior design conceptualization process. By understanding client interests and their unique missions, Yanko will ensure that any artwork selected for a project successfully emphasizes the core focus of that client’s workplace or environment.

“As a New York City-based artist, Yanko is in a prime position to lead this movement, having her ear to the ground of the nation’s contemporary art scene,” said KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr. “From artist studios to national museums and the marketplace, she knows what is happening in the art community and how to harness that creativity to the benefit of our clients.”

For four years, Yanko has alternated between a residency at The Living Theater in New York — one of the first and arguably the most influential experimental theater troupes in the U.S. — while dedicating herself to her studio practice in St. Louis. Throughout this period, her work was showcased in a trio of solo exhibitions in St. Louis (2009’s “Wu-Wei,” 2010’s “Paroxysm,” and 2012’s “Permutation”) that coincided with major developments in Yanko’s experiments in painting. This September, her series of work “Elements and Skin” will be featured in a group show at Jenkins Johnson’s new project space in Brooklyn. Kennedy will also be in a group show at Lewis Long gallery in Harlem at the end of January. She currently resides in and maintains her studio practice in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“I have always understood life through movement and my senses; I have to create something physically in order to truly understand it intellectually,” said Yanko. “Most recently, my three dimensional sculptural paintings have served as the foundations for immersive experiences in physical spaces and in virtual reality. I’m eagerly looking forward to joining the dialogue at KAI, collaborating with the Interiors Team, and emphasizing art as an anchoring component of projects going forward.”

Yanko and the Interior Design Team plan to promote the art community in the following ways:

  • Attending art openings and exhibitions
  • Partnering with art liaisons to initiate the use of art in projects as a standard practice
  • Developing “art packages” based on client budgets
  • Creating events that are collaborative and incorporate design and art such as “meet the artist” or a featured artwork of the month

For more information about KAI’s art initiative, contact Interiors Specialist Asha Perez at 314-241-8188.

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise.