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.”

September 20, 2017

KCAI Hosts Second Make48 Competition

The David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology on the Kansas City Art Institute campus will be full of contestants dreaming up great ideas, crafting mock-ups, and refining prototypes and products during the 48-hour product design competition Make48 on September 28 – 30. Twelve teams from 12 states, including Kansas and Missouri, will be competing. They’ll be given a product category and then have 48 hours to create a prototype product and pitch it to a panel of experts from QVC and other industries. Some of the teams applied to compete and pitched themselves at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, where last year’s winners were showcasing their products. One of the teams is composed of a NASA engineer and his family, which shows the range of experience that contestants have.  You never know who is going to come up with winning product…everyone has a big idea! This is the second year KCAI has hosted Make48 and last year’s contest is the focus of a PBS documentary running in 200 markets this fall. You can see it in Kansas City on KCPT or KTWU on Sunday evenings through October 22.  A second season of the documentary will read more…

August 30, 2017

KCAI Crossroads Gallery – Red Dirt Rug by Rena Detrixhe and Dale Eldred: Works on Paper.

KANSAS CITY, MO – August 15, 2017 – KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice is pleased to announce its fall exhibitions, Red Dirt Rug by Rena Detrixhe and Dale Eldred: Works on Paper. Red Dirt Rug is an ephemeral, site-specific installation invoking the inherent stories within the Oklahoma soil, repetitive processes and found ubiquitous forms. Artist Rena Detrixhe uses the refining and sifting of the soil and the imprinting of pattern as a meditation on the past, a gesture of sensitivity and the desire to understand the beauty, pride and sorrow of the Oklahoma land. Born in Kansas, Detrixhe received her B.F.A. at the University of Kansas City.  Her work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Dale Eldred: Works on Paper is a selection of works displaying the monumental landscape projects by acclaimed sculptor and former chair of the KCAI sculpture department. Eldred’s material, environmental ambition included phenomena in clay, steel, wood, water and light in various landscapes and urban-scapes. Eldred joined KCAI in 1959 and was a major influence until his untimely death in 1993