Arzie Umali was born in Manila, Philippines but has lived in the United States for most of her life. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Kansas and will complete her Master of Public Administration degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in May 2011. Arzie’s artwork has been exhibited in group shows around Kansas City and is held in private collections across the country. In 2008 she was the featured artist for the “Circle of Life” exhibit that celebrated the Kansas City premiere of The Lion King musical. Arzie’s compositions include abstracted images of animals and figures constructed from layers of mixed media and collage where bold colors, expressive brushstrokes and heavy textures collide. In her “Apes” series, Arzie uses this beloved animal from her childhood to mimic her tongue-in-cheek view of everyday life, motherhood, and herself.
Arzie is currently the Assistant Director of the Women's Center at the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) where she develops programs that advocate for the advancement of women's equity on campus and in the Kansas City community. In 2010, Arzie created the Her Art Project, a program series designed to celebrate Kansas City women in the arts and explore the unique challenges women artists face as they bring together motherhood, careers, and artistic fulfillment. Arzie has also examined gender equity in Kansas City through her research project, How Great Her Art: Kansas City Museums and Women Artists, which studied the organizational policies and practices of four museums in the Kansas City area and the inclusion of women artists in their permanent collections. Prior to her position at the Women’s Center, Arzie served as the Program Coordinator for the UMKC African American History & Culture House where she established the Culture House Gallery and the Multicultural Art Space at UMKC – two areas on campus dedicated to exhibiting the works of Kansas City’s artists of color.
Also active in the Kansas City art community, Arzie has judged scholarships for the Arts Council of Johnson County, the Carter Arts Center and the NAACP ACT-SO program. She has also been the guest curator for several fundraising art auctions for the Kansas City affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. Arzie has lent her expertise on women’s equity in the arts by speaking on panels such as the 2011 Creativity and Feminism Roundtable Discussion at Johnson County Community College and the 2007 discussion, In the Presence of My Sisters: Voices of Women in the Arts at Penn Valley Community College.
Arzie is the mother of two children, Max and Mimi, and they make their home in Kansas City, Missouri with their dog Rufus.