This week marks South Branch Library’s 8th birthday! The current location of the South Branch, located at 3104 Strong Avenue, opened in 2012. In celebration of the new building, we interviewed artist Robin Case. Robin is responsible for the mural found inside the entryway to the South Branch, titled “Reading Can Take You Anywhere.” We asked about her experience creating the mural, her thoughts on the Argentine area, and her experience as an artist.


KCKPL: Can you tell our patrons about yourself? 

Robin Case: I’m a multi-disciplinary artist living in Kansas City. I moved here from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and have since begun to think of KC as my home. The arts community here is so diverse and so welcoming. There’s room for everyone and inspiration everywhere!

Over the years spent here, I have participated in the implementation of several murals in the KC area and am particularly fond of and proud of the mural here in the KCK Library. 

“Reading Can Take You Anywhere” is not only a mural; it’s something I really want to see every child experience.

I have an art studio in the Livestock Exchange Building in the West Bottoms, and my studio practice focuses on large assemblages and big acrylic paintings, both abstract and representational. I welcome studio visits by appt. with Covid-19 safety protocols, of course! 

Since I also have a background in after-school workshop teaching, I plan to offer a variety of small workshops there, with something for all age groups as soon as we have this pandemic under control! Stay tuned!

KCKPL: Can you describe what inspired your vision for this work?

Robin Case: The community in the Argentine neighborhood near the library is so diverse and colorful. Its members have so much to offer each other. My inspiration began with that. Also, as a global community comprised of so many differing cultures, and in a time when we have access to so much information about each other, I was inspired by the idea that no matter who you are or how you live, if you discover the joy of reading, you can “travel” anywhere you want and learn about anything you want, just by opening a book. The world is yours to discover. To me, that’s very inspiring!

KCKPL: What experience do you hope people have when looking at the mural?

Robin Case: I hope it inspires them to go inside and explore the library, either in person or online, much like an explorer might set out to explore a map of the world. It sounds a bit romantic, I know, but literally anything is possible if you are inspired to look beyond those doors. 

KCKPL: Do you have any favorite books, movies, or music you’d like to share with our patrons? 

Robin Case: One of the first books that comes to mind is We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She’s a brilliant thinker.

For Artists, I’d recommend Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. They offer practical advice for into getting to the work of making art and no-nonsense encouragement.

For poetry lovers, I’d suggest Crazy Brave by Native American poet Joy Harjo.

For Nature lovers, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

For those interested in the biological similarities we share with other creatures, I would show you Other Minds. It is a fascinating book about the things we have in common with Octopuses! 

Clearly, I love to read! My list could go on much further!

For movies off the top of my head, look for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” directed by Benh Zeitlin and written by playwright Lucy Alibar.

For music: everything! I do love Gypsy Jazz, though. It makes me happy. Look for French street and concert performers, ZAZ!!

KCKPL: Anything else you would like to share with our patrons?

Robin Case: Wear your masks, wash your hands, be kind to each other, and stay inspired! If you feel stuck by the Covid19 blues, break out some crayons and draw–draw anything! Illustrate the book you just read. Remember, reading can take you anywhere! 🙂 

Thank you for sharing your time, thoughts, and, most of all, your artwork with us, Robin!