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.”

March 21, 2017

Art & Design Auction is June 3

Mark your calendars now for the Kansas City Art Institute’s Art & Design Auction on June 3 when KCAI’s newest studios and plaza will be the epicenter for a fabulous evening of fine art and festive fare. It’s an event so big and bold, it only happens every other year. Honorary Chairs Sue and Lewis Nerman and Event Chairs Abby and Alex Wendel are planning an evening perfect for friends who share a passion for supporting art and design education. Keith Jacobshagen (’65 design) is the Star Artist and one of his signature landscape paintings will be featured in the live auction.  The silent auction, hosted by Paddle8, an international art auction site, will open two weeks before the event, giving you plenty of time to bid on artwork created and donated by distinguished alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI.  The auctioneer for the live auction is Kansas City native Quig Bruning, vice president and specialist in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House. Proceeds from this event support scholarships for students; expansion of curricula and programs; recruiting and retaining distinguished faculty members; and technology acquisitions.   The auction ensures KCAI maintains its reputation as one of the premier institutions of read more…

March 1, 2017

KCAI Mourns the passing of Jerry Nerman

We have heavy hearts today as we mourn the loss of treasured member of the KCAI family, Jerry Nerman. He was 97 at the time of his passing. His passion and commitment to KCAI and the arts have left a lasting impression on everyone he met. “He was an extraordinary person. In your lifetime, you meet people who just stand out as being very special, very different, very unique, and he was one of those people, “said The Nerman Family President Tony Jones. KCAI has a intimate connection with the Nermans. Jerry’s wife Margaret served on the board of trustees from 1999-2008 and was active in KCAI’s Warwick Society. The connection continues today with daughter-in-law Sue, who currently serves on the board of trustees. KCAI Board of Trustees Chair Pat McCown said, “Jerry was a gentleman of the community and I am very sad to hear the news of his passing. He not only loved art and artist, but loved to share his art with so many. The Nerman Museum at Johnson County Community College is a legacy of Jerry & Margaret and an asset that will be forever cherished by the greater KC community.  Margaret, Lewis, Sue and his read more…