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.”
KCAI is proud to share exciting news about one of our very own, Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts Anne Boyer, who has won two major literary awards just months apart! Anne was recently recognized as one of ten emerging writers by the Whiting Foundation in the category of Non-Fiction, Poetry. The award of $50,000 is based on early accomplishment and the promise of work to come. In January, she received the inaugural $40,000 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Her recent book of personal essays, Garments Against Women, has been highly-praised and spent six months at the top of the Small Press Distribution list in Poetry. Two new collections, A Handbook of Disappointing Fate and The Undying are in the works. Her achievements have received international press and put KCAI on the global stage. One of the hallmarks of KCAI is our liberal arts education, which is taught by our accomplished and gifted faculty. Anne has set a new precedent for inspirational teaching and artistic talent–please join us in congratulating her for this tremendous recognition. We can’t wait to see what she’ll accomplish next!
Come hear a relevant voice for our time at the Inaugural Hoffman Visiting Artist Lecture featuring Baltimore-based artist Joyce J. Scott who is known for her artistic commentary on issues regarding race, politics, sexism and stereotypes. The lecture is from 6-7 p.m. on Friday, April 13 in Epperson Auditorium on the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) campus, 4415 Warwick. Scott is a printmaker, weaver, sculptor, performance artist and educator, but she is probably most well known for her work in jewelry, beadwork and glass. Her art reflects her take on all aspects of American popular culture, her ancestry and the immediate world of her neighborhood. Scott will be exhibiting in Open Spaces this fall. This free public lecture is underwritten by the Hoffman Visiting Artist Endowment and was established as part of a 2:1 Match through the $25 million “Great Gift” by an anonymous donor. The purpose is to bring nationally recognized artists who focus on contemporary art practices to give an annual talk to KCAI students, faculty and the Kansas City community, as well as work with students and faculty in their studios. The Visiting Artist is selected through a process administered by a select group of representatives from KCAI, members read more…
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