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.”

November 20, 2017

Start the holiday season at KCAI’s End-of-Semester Exhibition and Sale

Visit our beautiful campus, tour studios and shop for original artwork and unique gifts created by KCAI’s talented students in ceramics, fiber, filmmaking, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, illustration and graphic design. Proceeds benefit individual students and KCAI studios. You can start shopping at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 1, but in some cases, the artwork will stay on display until Sunday when it must be picked up. For a map of KCAI, located at 4415 Warwick in Kansas City, Mo., visit http://kcai.edu/campus-life/campus/.

October 24, 2017

Hilgemann Sculpture Installed Near Campus Gates

The “Dancers” are here! The dynamic two-part work, “Dancers (Tango)” by sculptor Ewerdt Hilgemann was recently installed at the campus entrance. Hilgemann, born in 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US. “Dancers” was previously part of an installation on Park Avenue in New York City and has been generously loaned to the college by the artist.  These 20-foot-high stainless steel and Corten steel columns each weigh a massive 1,675 pounds. This project inaugurates the college’s plan to place large-scale works on campus, on a constantly-changing basis. The idea is to create a “Sculpture Walk” that will connect the public artwork already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, through the campus, to the array of work in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  Generous support for this installation was given by Marti and Tony Oppenheimer, Meg and Bill Zahner, Dick and Evelyn Belger, and Sean Kelley of A. Zahner Company. “Dancers” was installed during the International Sculpture Conference, which was held in Kansas City October 26-29. This conference brought together hundreds of artists, educators, arts administrators, museum directors, collectors, patrons, students and sculpture enthusiasts from around the country. These visitors read more…