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.”

June 4, 2018

Frank D. Uryasz III Named Chairman of the KCAI Board of Trustees

We are pleased to announce that Frank D. Uryasz III, founder of The National Center for Drug Free Sport, has been elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) effective July 1. A member of the board since 2015, he succeeds Pat McCown, who has served as Board Chair since April 2015. We are immeasurably indebted to Pat for his strong leadership and dedication to the college, first as a Board of Trustee member for five years and as Chairman for the last three. “There is no one better poised to move us forward than Frank. His experience on the Development and the Finance & Audit committees, his exemplary commitment to KCAI and his stellar work in the Kansas City community, make him the ideal candidate to lead the board during this exciting time of transformation for the college,” said The Nerman Family President Tony Jones. Frank has a master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is the founder and former president of The National Center for Drug Free Sport, a worldwide leader in the sport drug testing industry. He is president of read more…

May 17, 2018

Stingrays, Sharks and Art

Two of Kansas City’s great institutions – the Zoo and KCAI – have teamed up to create a fabulous new exhibit called Stingray Bay at the Kansas City Zoo! Opening on May 18, visitors will experience the gigantic 13′ x 45′ tropical-colored mural that spans the entire back wall of the new touch tank for stingrays and “cat sharks”. The Caribbean-inspired underwater scene was designed by our very own Vaughn Parish, a junior in Illustration. The project is part of KCAI’s MICRO Agency class, which gives students real-life experience designing and pitching ideas to clients. The students learn to work collaboratively, listen to a client’s needs or challenges, take constructive criticism, and present their ideas and solutions. In turn, clients receive an opportunity to have a group of highly talented artists and designers bring forward fresh, creative approaches to their business. “Each project at the Zoo is unique, and we enjoy being able to collaborate with local partners when we can. Working with the Kansas City Art Institute allows us to showcase the talent we have here in Kansas City and enhance the Stingray Bay exhibit in the process,” said Randy Wisthoff, Kansas City Zoo Executive Director/CEO. It’s exciting for read more…