August 18, 2015

KCAI Receives $25 Million Donation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 18, 2015) – In its 130th year, the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is honoring its past and celebrating its future, thanks to a $25 million gift, believed to be one of the largest donations to a North American art college.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation presented the $25 million donation on behalf of an anonymous donor during a private reception August 18 with KCAI’s board of trustees, faculty, staff and Kansas City arts community supporters in attendance.

“For more than a century, the Kansas City Art Institute has been preparing students to transform the world creatively through art and design,” said Debbie Wilkerson, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. “This gift comes from a donor who has the highest confidence in the Kansas City Art Institute and, therefore, wants to demonstrate that support financially.”

Tony Jones, interim president of KCAI, said, “The gift is a pillow on which we can dream about the future of our college and know our dreams will become reality. This donation is transformative and will cascade down to students, faculty, alumni, donors and the community, and for that we are truly grateful and unabashedly excited.” The $25 million gift allows KCAI to continue to support its talented pool of students and the faculty and be a leader in art and design education well into the future, Jones said.

KCAI has a distinguished history. Notable names associated with the school include legendary painter and former KCAI faculty member Thomas Hart Benton; artists Robert Rauschenberg, John Buck, Akio Takamori, and Nick Cave; and Walt Disney, who took KCAI classes as a teenager, to name a few. Today, KCAI is an innovative leader in art and design education, preparing students to creatively transform the world through those practices. It’s a mission that’s increasingly important and relevant as employers, gallery owners, museum curators and collectors seek out the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers.

The funding includes $14 million for a general endowment. Five million dollars will go toward campus improvements, including deferred maintenance on buildings and landscaping projects. Six million dollars, in the form of a challenge grant, will be used for student scholarships, endowed professorships and visiting professors. Through Dec. 31, 2016, an anonymous fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation will match and double any donation KCAI receives from outside sources up to a total of $6 million. The 2:1 scale is unusual, as most donation matches are at a 1:1 level.

KCAI believes the funding will serve as a tool for recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students, as well as a magnet for other gifts, offering donors a strong foundation on which to build.

“We have a committed board and a climate that’s poised for progress,” said Pat McCown, chair of the board of trustees. “This is only the beginning, and it’s a call to join us at a very exciting time. Over the past few weeks, we’ve celebrated the completion of a major renovation in the Richard J. Stern Ceramics Building and hosted renowned Chinese artists in a residency on campus for Studio Nong. This is a college with a fully integrated system of education that serves Kansas City, the nation and, increasingly, the world.”

May 24, 2017

Two Major Campus Improvement Projects Launched

On nearly every college campus around the country, summer months are spent cleaning up facilities, taking care of maintenance projects and preparing for the next academic year. KCAI is no different, except that this summer we will also be working on two major campus improvement projects. For years, the Irving Courtyard has been a vacant outdoor space located between two of our growing departments­– Animation and Graphic Design. Thanks to a smart design by the architecture firm GastingerWalker&, we are converting the formerly bleak courtyard into 4,000 square feet of much-needed academic space. This project is an investment in two of our stalwart academic programs and provides modern, flexible learning space that our faculty and students deserve. Construction on the new Mildred Lane Kemper Terrace on the south side of Vanderslice Hall is also underway. The architectural design was informed by historical photographs and brings back the natural integration between the indoor reception rooms and outdoor terrace. The new wheelchair accessible ramp is a significant addition, that ensures everyone will enjoy the beautiful view of our campus green. We anticipate construction for both of these projects will be complete by late August, just in time for returning students to enjoy their “spruced up” campus read more…

May 24, 2017

Don’t Miss KCAI’s Art & Design Auction on June 3

Kansas City Art Institute’s newest studios and The Rowland Commons will be the epicenter for a fabulous evening of awe-inspiring fine art and festive food and drink at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 at the Art & Design Auction. Silent and live auctions will feature more than 200 pieces of original artwork donated from distinguished alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI. Proceeds benefit student scholarships and programs. Honorary Chairs Sue and Lewis Nerman and Event Chairs Abby and Alex Wendel are planning an evening perfect for friends who share a passion for supporting art and design education. Keith Jacobshagen (’65 design) is the Star Artist and one of his signature landscape paintings will be featured in the live auction. There will be a woodblock rubbing by John Buck, a flag by Peregrine Honig, a photograph by Patty Carroll and hundreds more pieces of amazing art. Artwork is valued from $75 to upwards of $25,000. The silent auction hosted by Paddle8, an international art auction site, is now open, allowing collectors a preview and opportunity to bid. The live auctioneer is Kansas City native Quig Bruning, vice president and specialist in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House. Proceeds from read more…