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.”

January 18, 2018

KCAI Faculty Member and Alumna Recognized for Artistic Achievements

We are starting off 2018 with an exciting announcement about two brilliant members of our KCAI family, faculty member Anne Boyer and Alumna Ellen Carey (’75 Printmaking), who have recently been recognized for their artistic achievement by two prestigious award organizations. Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts Anne Boyer has received the inaugural $40,000 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, an organization founded by Jasper Johns and John Cage in the 1960s. Anne’s most recent book Garments Against Women, which explores everyday life themes, spent six months at the top of the Small Press Distribution bestseller list in Poetry. She has two additional books in the works, a collection of essays, A Handbook of Disappointing Fate, and The Undying, a personal account of her battle with highly aggressive breast cancer. Anne has been teaching and inspiring students at KCAI since 2007. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has awarded the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo, N.Y. a $30,000 grant to support the upcoming retrospective Picture Nothing: The Experimental Photography of Ellen Carey 1977-2017. This exhibit of Ellen Carey’s groundbreaking photography will open in October and run through February. Ellen is a world-renowned photographer and Associate read more…

December 12, 2017

BEST IN THE NATION ARCHITECTS CHOSEN FOR NEW KCAI STUDENT LIVING CENTER

We end 2017 with one more exciting announcement! The Board of Trustees has selected Helix Architecture + Design to design a new student living center and dining hall to be built on campus starting next year. The opportunity to construct a new residence hall is possible thanks to a $10 million lead gift by an Anonymous Donor, given through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation earlier this year. Helix is an award-winning, Kansas City design firm consistently ranked among the Best in the Nation by Architect Magazine. The firm’s diverse portfolio of work includes extensive experience with higher education institutions throughout the region. Helix designers Doug Stockman and Alissa Wehmueller partnered with Christopher Carvell Architects of Denver, Colorado who has nationally recognized expertise in the design of “Next Generation” student life facilities. This is a complicated project that includes not only the new 250-bed living center but also contemporary dining that will be open to the public and a large new terraced garden. Following interviews with several firms, Helix presented a sophisticated plan on how to create a relationship between the new student living center, the new garden space, and our current student housing building. The result will be a read more…