Kyle retirement allows time for his dreams

Nick Kyle, head of the department of art, has worked at Missouri Southern since 1997 and is retiring and the end of this academic year.

Zach Hinkle

Nick Kyle, head of the department of art, has worked at Missouri Southern since 1997 and is retiring and the end of this academic year.

Rita Forbes

When Nick Kyle was in fourth grade, one of his teachers wrote on his report card that “he draws and daydreams too much.”

“Some of my earliest memories are of making things,” he said. “My mom was always missing her clothespins – I’d glue them into little airplanes and paint them.”

Kyle is passionate about art. And he is passionate about people.

He has combined these two passions by teaching at Missouri Southern since 1997. Since 2001, he has also served as head of the art department. He sees his role as that of a facilitator.

“I enjoy helping other people get the things they need to teach, to make their jobs work” he said. “I like allowing people’s dreams to happen.”

At the end of this semester, Kyle will be retiring, which will allow him to spend more time on his own dreams.

“I’m hoping to engage more as an artist,” he said. “I have six galleries now, and I hope to expand on that and become more closely involved with the galleries.”

Kyle has taught a wide variety of art classes, including Art Appreciation, Computer Design, and Advanced Painting. He said many students are apprehensive about taking Art Appreciation.

“They don’t feel like they’re good at art,” he said. “I try to make it very accessible.”

He helps students learn to think spatially by making things. They construct three-dimensional shapes out of paper, bend lengths of wire to form portraits, and design and build other objects.

“My whole goal in having them make things, is that they can sense a little bit of what an artist is thinking or goes through in order to create a piece of art,” Kyle said.

Abbie Stratton, senior elementary education major, took Kyle’s art appreciation class last fall.

“Instead of just reading about art history, we actually put into practice some of the concepts we were being taught,” she said. “We made sculpture and did drawings that helped us apply our new knowledge. I’m not an art major, but he was really willing to work with me, regardless of my skill level.”

During Kyle’s tenure as department head, the art department has grown and become more involved on campus. Next fall will see a revamped art curriculum, and a new bachelor of fine arts degree is also in the works. Kyle said he is proud of his faculty, the students in the program, and of the contributions the art department makes to MSSU.

“We have wonderful things going on here that people can come and see, that are worth coming to see,” he said.