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.”

February 15, 2017

Misfit Cup Liberation – Kansas City Opens at KCAI Crossroads Gallery

February 13, 2017…Michael Strand’s Misfit Cup Liberation opens February 17 and runs through March 10 at KCAI Crossroads Gallery – Center for Contemporary Practice.  It started in 2011 as an experiment to understand the history and connection people have with the things they possess. The process is simple.  Strand trades the cups he creates for cups that individuals bring to the exchange event. Just as important, he asks each individual to share the personal significance of their cup.  Share your cup and story on Fri., March 3 from 6-8 p.m. Misfit Cup Liberation has traveled the globe and to date the project has collected 700 cups from four continents. In the end these cups and their stories will form a large single exhibition and publication highlighting our shared humanity through the simple, common object ­— the cup. For more information and exhibit hours go to http://kcai.edu/crossroads-gallery/.

February 9, 2017

Kansas City Art Institute Receives $10 Million Donation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 9, 2017) — The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) announced today a $10 million gift to build a state-of-the-art student residence hall on campus. “Today surely marks the beginning of a significant new chapter in the 132-year history of the Kansas City Art Institute,” said Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President of KCAI. The visionary gift was made by an anonymous donor via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (GKCCF). It will be used as the catalyst for a plan to create a new residence hall, dining facility, student services and studios for academic programs­ — all of which will be designed specifically for the contemporary student in art and design. Designed in 1963, the current residence hall at KCAI was built for a very different type of student, one without a laptop or cell phone. “Thanks to this amazing gift, we have an opportunity to address that challenge head-on by building a center for campus life that will attract students from around the world to Kansas City to receive a fantastic art and design education,” said Pat McCown, chair of the board of trustees. In 2015, KCAI received “The Great Gift” $25 million for the read more…