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Local artist Megh Knappenberger creates for Adams Alumni Center

Kansas City artist Megh McClain Knappenberger, known for paintings that pop with vibrant colors and playful brushstrokes, says her seemingly carefree style results from rigorous research of her subjects.

“I’m a bit of a nerd for history and research and detail, so I like my work to have multiple layers,” she says.

Knappenberger, f’04, who worked as a graphic designer for 12 years before she turned to painting full time, says her style has evolved to balance “messy wildness” with detailed, carefully executed depictions that draw on her research.

When the KU Alumni Association commissioned the artist to create three series of paintings for the renovated Adams Alumni Center, she headed for KU’s Spencer Research Library to dive into her alma mater’s history. “I was really interested in the things that make KU—our deepest, longest-held traditions, which go back to the beginning of the University,” she says. “There’s Rock Chalk, then there’s our place, Mount Oread, which ties into the Rock Chalk Chant. KU’s physical place inspired so much of our tradition, so the natural world was where I started.”

Knappenberger and the Association will unveil her new paintings as part of the tailgate festivities before KU’s Homecoming football game Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Adams Alumni Center and Jayhawk Welcome Center. Although she’s guarding the details until the big reveal, the artist says her paintings will hark back to the natural origins and history of Mount Oread and KU’s beloved mascot.

Megh Knappenberger

As she researched the fascinating facts and lore of KU, Knappenberger found a kindred spirit in retired University archivist Becky Ozier Schulte, c’76, whose authoritative history, The Jayhawk, also will make its debut in October. “Becky very kindly sat down with me and walked me through her research,” Knappenberger says. “We worked together on some of this project.”

Watch for more details about the unveiling and other Homecoming celebrations at kualumni.org/homecoming.

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