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 entire family will be in our thoughts and prayers.”

In 2016, the Nermans permanently endowed the president’s position. Tony Jones, now holds the title of The Nerman Family President. Among their many other contributions to KCAI, they are the benefactors who made KCAI’s Café Nerman possible, a central gathering place for faculty, students, staff and visitors that was dedicated in 2004. Jerry and Margaret were awarded honorary doctorate of fine arts degrees during the college’s commencement ceremonies in 2008.

“Jerry was really a giant, a giant twice,” Jones added. “A giant in the transport trucking industry, but in the world of art and design, Jerry and Margaret’s collection is known as a world-class collection of late modern and contemporary art. And that tradition with them has carried forward to Lewis and Sue who have built a contemporary collection quite different, but equally a world-class collection.”

Although it is very difficult to say goodbye, Jerry’s legacy will live on in the countless individuals he inspired and graced with his passion and wit. KCAI and the vibrant Kansas City community are forever indebted to his untiring devotion to creativity and the arts.

October 24, 2017

Hilgemann Sculpture Installed Near Campus Gates

The “Dancers” are here! The dynamic two-part work, “Dancers (Tango)” by sculptor Ewerdt Hilgemann was recently installed at the campus entrance. Hilgemann, born in 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US. “Dancers” was previously part of an installation on Park Avenue in New York City and has been generously loaned to the college by the artist.  These 20-foot-high stainless steel and Corten steel columns each weigh a massive 1,675 pounds. This project inaugurates the college’s plan to place large-scale works on campus, on a constantly-changing basis. The idea is to create a “Sculpture Walk” that will connect the public artwork already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, through the campus, to the array of work in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  Generous support for this installation was given by Marti and Tony Oppenheimer, Meg and Bill Zahner, Dick and Evelyn Belger, and Sean Kelley of A. Zahner Company. “Dancers” was installed during the International Sculpture Conference, which was held in Kansas City October 26-29. This conference brought together hundreds of artists, educators, arts administrators, museum directors, collectors, patrons, students and sculpture enthusiasts from around the country. These visitors read more…

October 12, 2017

KCAI Brings Creativity to the Workplace

Just weeks ago, for 48-hours the Kansas City Art Institute’s David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology were full of contestants dreaming up great ideas, crafting prototypes and products at the national Make 48 product competition. Our students were there every step of the way providing their expertise in fabrication, graphic design, photography, filmmaking and tech support. It’s part of KCAI’s ongoing commitment to give our students real-world, hands-on experience to prepare them for successful careers. In fact, we often work with businesses to provide unique opportunities for students who bring a creative, fresh approach to your organization’s challenges.  KCAI students have worked on a range of projects from product design for Weld Wheels, rebranding for Powell Gardens and medical illustrations for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Learn how our talented students can work with your business through internships and our Sponsored Studio program. Contact me at rwilliams@kcai.edu or 816-302-3527. KCAI has hosted Make48 twice. Last year’s competition is the focus of an eight-part documentary running in more than 200 public television markets across the country. You can see it Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on KCPT Channel 19.