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KCAI students slide the rail in cardboard creations

Cardboard vehicles take to the rail

For the annual Rail Day, illustration students created cardboard vehicles to "ride" down an 80-foot long wood rail Wednesday outside the Jannes Library at the Kansas City Art Institute. The event celebrates the end of the school year.
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For the annual Rail Day, illustration students created cardboard vehicles to "ride" down an 80-foot long wood rail Wednesday outside the Jannes Library at the Kansas City Art Institute. The event celebrates the end of the school year.

Illustration students came toting cardboard creations of every shape and size for the annual Rail Day festivities held Wednesday outside the Jannes Library at the Kansas City Art Institute, 4549 Warwick Blvd.

It was the last assignment of the year for sophomores in the Image and Form Exploration class, taught by Professor Steve Mayse. They have spent the past few weeks creating unconventional cardboard vehicles. Sophomores, many working in teams, designed, glued and painted the vehicles that are required to “ride” down an 80-foot-long wood rail erected 18 inches off the ground.

The cardboard vehicles must bear the student’s weight, and sometimes the weight of up to four students. With the help of a support team, the vehicles are gently — and sometimes not so gently — coerced down the wood rail.

“I thought it was going to collapse in the middle and I was going to hit wood,” said Gabby Laventure, who, with the help of four friends, was successful in navigating the rail.

The unique creations included an oversized duck, a taco, a bright pink Viking ship, as well as a wiener dog and a giant snail.

“This is a problem-solving or solution-finding assignment,” said Mayse, the Charlie Sosland chairman in illustration.

“They only have glue and cardboard and that’s it,” said Mayse, who said he believed the KCAI Rail Day tradition began in 1996.

“It’s a bit out of their comfort zone because they usually work in 2-dimensional. But, most important, it celebrates the end of the school year.”

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