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.”

August 22, 2016

Stanley H. Durwood Foundation endows and names The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History at KCAI

The Stanley H. Durwood Foundation, under the direction of Charles Egan, trustee, has endowed and named the Ray Beagle Chair in Art History at the Kansas City Art Institute.  Professor and Program Head of Art History Michele Fricke will be the first to hold the title. “Ray Beagle was a quiet yet instrumental force in Kansas City, who served as co-trustee of the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation for 16 years. Ray was general counsel to AMC, served as Stan Durwood’s personal attorney, and was the architect of the Durwood Foundation. This endowed chair has been created to recognize Ray’s years of service to Kansas City,” said Egan. Fricke has been an integral part of the KCAI art history program for 28 years. She is also a practicing artist whose fiber works have been shown at exhibitions across the country and are featured in private collections. “I’m very honored to be appointed as The Raymond Beagle Chair in Art History. Teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute has been an extraordinarily rich way to spend a career and a life, and this honor brings with it both validation and the inspiration to do more. It is also an important acknowledgement of the art read more…

July 26, 2016

KCAI Hosts Make48 October 28-30. Sign up your team now!

The KCAI campus will be alive with innovation and inventions when we host Make48, a weekend long invent-a-thon, October 28-30.  This competition event brings up to 15 teams together to plan, build a prototype, and pitch a big idea for prizes and licensing potential. Make48 will put KCAI, the David T. Beals III Studios for Art and Technology and our 3-D printers in the national spotlight.  During the event a documentary will be filmed, QVC will be judging and national business press, as well as local media, will be on campus. Student and faculty teams of two or four are encouraged to enter at Hurry…the application deadline is August 7.