Freedom of the mind
Through multiple lenses of history and art history, philosophy and literature, creative writing and the sciences, KCAI’s liberal arts program provides you with the kind of intellectual, civic, and aesthetic grounding that is both meaningful and lasting. “Chance,” said Pasteur, “favors the prepared mind.”
We offer our students a liberal arts education with no expiration date
- Small classes
- An accomplished faculty—practitioners themselves in their respective disciplines
- An opportunity for innovative student work grounded in fundamentals
- A mutually-supportive thoroughfare between liberal arts and studio practices
Students can double their career possibilities
- Major or Double-Major in art history
- Major or Double-Major in creative writing
- Earn your certificate in Asian Studies
- Earn your certificate in Social social practice
“Every single professor is an expert in their field. They proved to me how necessary a broad education is in a world where a highly- specialized education is more often made a priority. Now I have four years of conversations to return to and build upon in my research and studio practice.”Molly Dillon
Creative Writing/Painting, 2015
Michele Fricke, M.F.A.
The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History
Michele Fricke teaches ancient and renaissance art and the history of textiles and ceramics. A practicing artist, Fricke creates fiber work that has been shown in exhibitions across the country and which also is represented in many private collections. She has been published in Ceramics Monthly and Fiberarts and is a regular contributor to the Surface Design Journal. Her current research involves an investigation of historical architecture, interpreted in knitted form. Fricke received KCAI’s “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 1993. She has spoken at numerous venues including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the National Association of Colleges of Art and Design, the Red Star Studio in Kansas City, and recently, at Baylor University on “Fiber Art: The New Dynamism.” Before coming to KCAI in 1988, she taught at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.; St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind.; and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. At the last two schools, she also served as the director of exhibitions. Fricke earned a B.S. degree in education, an M.A. degree in art history and an M.F.A. degree in fiber from Northern Illinois University.
Phyllis Moore, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair
Dr. Phyllis Moore is the author of A Compendium of Skirts, a collection of short stories (Carroll & Graf, 2002). She is Chair of the Liberal Arts Department, Program Head of the Creative Writing Program, and co-director of the Paris Study Abroad Program. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her stories have been listed in the Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize anthologies. Her stories and poems have been reprinted in various anthologies and special editions, and she is the recipient of five arts council grants from the states of Illinois and Florida. She is presently at work on a book of minute fiction titled The City Wife. In 2011, she was honored with KCAI’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Reed Anderson, Ph.D.
Reed Anderson, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in American art from the University of Kansas and has taught a variety of classes since coming to KCAI in 2004. He specializes in the history of prints and printmaking, which inspired an exhibition and catalog sponsored by the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. Dr. Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in art history from the University of Washington, Seattle. His dissertation for the Ph.D. degree is entitled “An Epic of the American Farm: James Chapin and the Marvin Paintings.”
Anne Boyer, M.F.A.
A widely-published poet and essayist, Anne Boyer has been teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute since 2007. Her latest book, Garments Against Women (Ahsahta, 2015) spent four months as the Small Press Distribution number one best seller in poetry. Recent essays have appeared in Guernica, Fullstop, The New Inquiry, and Mute Magazine. Her teaching areas include experimental writing, aesthetics, gender studies, and digital culture. Critical appraisal of Boyer’s contributions to poetry and poetics is discussed in Piotr K. Gwiasdá’s 2014 book, U.S. Poetry in the Age of Empire, 1979-2012. She was voted “Best Writer” of 2014 in The Pitch’s annual “Best of Kansas City” issue. Boyer earned an M.F.A. with distinction in creative writing in 1997 from Wichita State University and a B.A. degree in English literature in 1996 from Kansas State University. Before coming to KCAI, she taught creative writing and literature at Drake University in Des Moines. Author website: http://www.anneboyer.com
Cyrus Console-Soican, Ph.D.
Cyrus Console-Şoican is the author of Brief Under Water (Burning Deck, 2008), for which he received a Fund for Poetry award, The Odicy (Omnidawn, 2011), and Romanian Notebook (forthcoming from Faber/FSG). Recent poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Critical Quarterly, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Seattle Review, and No: a journal of the arts, where he served as contributing editor 2002-2009. He holds a B.S. degree in organismal biology from the University of Kansas, an M.F.A. degree in writing from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Kansas, where his poetry won several notable prizes.
Steve Cromwell teaches history of photography, history of film, contemporary European art, Latino art of the 20th century, 19th century painting, aesthetics and art criticism, women in contemporary art, modern sculpture and American art since 1945. Formerly an exhibiting artist, Cromwell’s mixed media photographic work has been shown in many solo, invitational, group and juried exhibitions throughout the United States. Cromwell has been a visiting artist and lecturer for a number of special programs and colleges. He has served as photo editor of The Cottonwood Review literary magazine at the University of Kansas, and as editor of Words, a literary magazine at Kendall College. He has been a member of the KCAI faculty since 1972, and he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas.
Rebecca Dubay, Ph.D.
Rebecca Dubay, Ph.D., joined the KCAI faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor of art history, specializing in contemporary art and theory. Her teaching interests include global contemporary art, art theory and criticism, art and gender, and more. Previously, she taught in the M.F.A. in studio art program at Moore College of Art & Design. As a graduate student, she received outstanding teaching awards at Bryn Mawr College and Tufts University. Dubay received a B.A. degree in art history and business management from the University of South Florida, an M.A. degree in art history from Tufts University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the history of art from Bryn Mawr College.
Milton Katz, Ph.D.
Professor & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Milton Katz teaches American studies; art, literature, and peace and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Ban the Bomb: A History of SANE, the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy,” 1957-1985 (Greenwood Press, 1986); and more than two dozen articles, book chapters and reviews on peace and social justice issues in contemporary American history. He consults and is a visiting professor at the Institute for Creative Conflict Management at Syracuse University. He worked with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education in its “Witnesses to the Holocaust” project served as its Vice President of Education. He has presented lectures on art of the Holocaust in educational and religious institutions throughout the U.S and Europe. In 1998, he received the KCAI Special Projects Award; in 2001, the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and in 2007, the KCAI Distinguished Achievement Award. A member of the KCAI faculty since 1974, Dr. Katz earned a bachelor’s degree from Rockford College in Illinois and holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from St. Louis University.
Jan Kennedy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Program Head of the Asian Studies Certificate Program
Jan Kennedy joined the faculty at KCAI in 2006, previously working as a lecturer at KCAI and adjunct assistant professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. She received a B.A. in the history of art and English literature, an M.A. in the history of art, and a Ph.D., all from the University of Kansas. Her major area for her Ph.D. was 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings and prints, and her minor areas were Venetian Cinquecento painting and Japanese painting of the Edo period. More recently, she was a keynote speaker presenting her current area of research on the Christian art of Japan. Kennedy is a member of the College Art Association, the Historians of Netherlandish Art and the Association for Asian Studies.
Rush Rankin, M.F.A.
Rush Rankin, who joined the KCAI faculty in 1975, teaches creative writing, fiction, poetry and aesthetic philosophy. Rankin earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University; a M.A.C.T. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and an M.F.A. degree from the University of Iowa. He has many published works of fiction, essays and poetry. As a tribute to his teaching, he was selected to the National Faculty of the Union of Independent Colleges of Art in 1980. Rankin’s story “Smart Men,” which was published by TriQuarterly in 1982, was listed as “distinguished” by “Best American Short Stories,” 1983. Rankin’s book, “Bene-Dictions,” selected by Rosanna Warren, won the Vassar Miller Prize.
Licia Clifton-James, Ph.D.
Licia Clifton-James, Ph.D., a life-long resident of Kansas City, Missouri, received her doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2016. In addition, she holds a Master’s of Art History, as well as a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, from UMKC. Dr. Clifton-James’ dissertation was entitled Making the Connection: J.B. Murray and the Scripts and Spirit Figures of Africa, and focused on connecting elements of the art of an African American artist, J.B. Murray, to Senegalese, Kongo and Islamic customs and traditions. Dissertation research took her twice to Senegal, West Africa, the first of which was funded by a travel grant awarded by UMKC’s School of Graduate Studies. In Senegal, her research closely examined African scripts, signs and figures, as well as, elements of Islam and Sufism. Dr. Clifton-James is the wife of Mayor Sly James and together they have four children.
Erin Dahl is an adjunct professor with the Kansas City Art Institute and Metropolitan Community College. Dahl has previous experience teaching with the University of Kansas and Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Dahl’s teaching philosophy is centered on the context for art in terms of motive, significance and impact of social, political, historical and cultural underpinnings.
Deborah Dickson has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute since 1999. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biology and, in 1997, a Master of Arts in art history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the last decade, she has published more than 100 art museum and gallery exhibition reviews in the local publications The Pitch and Review.
Ben Furnish, PH.D.
Ben Furnish (Ph.D., theatre and film, University of Kansas; M.A., English, University of Missouri-Kansas City; M.Ed., Harvard University) is the author of Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004 (Lang), and he has contributed to such journals and books as Studies in Jewish Civilization, Holocaust Literature, Yiddish Poets and the Soviet Union, Jews & Sex, and Dictionary of Literary Biography. He has presented conference papers at Film & History, Literature & Film Association, and at international symposia sponsored by Oxford, Heidelberg, and Harvard universities. He is managing editor of BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and books he has edited have received attention from major awards and reviewers. His grant proposals in literary publishing have received funding from the Missouri Arts Council, ArtsKC, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chuck Haddix is the director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. He also hosts the “Fish Fry,” a popular radio program featuring the finest in blues, soul, rhythm and blues, and zydeco on kcur.org FM 89.3, a public radio station. His book “Charlie Parker Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker” was published in the fall of 2013 by the University of Illinois Press.
Eleanor Lim-Midyett, Ph.D.
Eleanor Lim-Midyett, Ph.D., has taught at the Kansas City Art Institute since 1994. She received a B.A. degree in English literature from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in East Asian languages and literature from Yale University. She was also a writer for AMagazine: Inside Asian America.
Hui Wang Martin, Ph.D.
Hui Wang Martin will teach the course of Survey of Asian Art in the Fall semester, 2016. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Kansas. Her major area for her Ph.D. studies was later Chinese Buddhist art, and her minor areas were Western collecting of Chinese art and later Chinese Buddhism. Recently she has submitted an article to Artibus Asiae. She was the recipient of Harvard-Yenching Doctoral Scholarship from Harvard University and the Doctoral Research Scholarship from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto, Japan. Before she moved to the United States to pursue her doctoral study, she held positions of assistant professor and lecturer in the Department of Eastern Art and Culture at Nankai University, Tianjin, China, where she received her B. A. and M. A. in Museum Studies.
Jordan Stempleman, M.F.A.
Jordan Stempleman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was a Leggett Schupes Fellow in Poetry. In addition to lecturing at KCAI, he is the author of eight books of poetry including Wallop and No, Not Today (Magic Helicopter Press). He co-edits The Continental Review, a video-only forum for contemporary poetry and poetics, and serves as the faculty advisor for KCAI’s literary magazine, Sprung Formal. Since 2010, he has curated A Common Sense Reading Series, which pairs KCAI creative writing students with established writers. In 2013, The Huffington Post listed Stempleman as one of “The Top 200 Advocates of American Poetry.”
Lesley Wheeler is a writer, artist and teacher. She also is a graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her chapbook “Dream Treatment” (2013) is available from Dancing Girl Press, and her photo-essay “A Little Hell of its Own” won the 2013 Bone Bouquet Experimental Prose contest.
Loren Whittaker is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas, where she also earned her M.A.Her major area of interest is Italian Renaissance Art, with minor areas of concentration in Roman Art and Archaeology of the Augustan period, and American Art (1865-1945). From UMKC, she holds a B.A., summa cum laude, in art history and history, with minors in German and Ancient Classical Studies. Loren has presented at annual conferences for the Renaissance Society of America (San Diego) and for the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, MI). At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,she was a research assistant for the American and Native American Art departments. Prior to teaching at KCAI, she taught at Rockhurst University (2 years) and at KU (6 years), both on campus and abroad in Italy and France. In her life before art history, Loren danced and choreographed professionally in Europe, Las Vegas, South America, and Asia, and taught Jazz dance at the Conservatory of Music andDance at UMKC.
Art History Major
The art history program stimulates and enriches critical thinking, intellectual inquiry, investigation, research and analysis between liberal arts and the studio disciplines. Investigating art historical methodology and scholarship within the context of a studio-based environment provides the student with insights and perspectives regarding the relationships between concept and practice. Read more about art history.
Studio Art in Creative Writing Major
The creative writing program encourages contemplative, broadly educated artists whose training and work in visual media and literary genres will be mutually supportive. Here, the visual arts and the literary arts share the goal of accuracy of vision. The strength of the program lies in its interdisciplinary and multi-contextual nature. Read more about creative writing.
Whether you major or double-major in creative writing, you will have over 50 courses to choose from to meet your requirements. For additional electives and liberal arts courses download the complete course course catalog.
Lower-division required core courses:
- Art History I
- Art History II
- History of Thought I
- History of Thought II
Upper-Division required electives:
- Art History
- The Sciences
- Liberal arts electives
At least 5 of these upper-division classes must be taken at the 3000 level or the 4000 level.
At least 1 of these upper-division classes must be a class in global/comparative studies.
Other Choices Students Have to Fulfill their liberal arts requirements
Study Abroad Program to Buenos Aires – This program offers a course in art history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Reed Anderson at email@example.com.
Study Abroad Program to China – This program offers a course in art history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Jan Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Abroad Program to France – This program offers a course in art history and a course in creative writing. For more information, e-mail Dr. Phyllis Moore at email@example.com.
Study Abroad Program to Vietnam and Cambodia – This program offers a course in history. For more information, e-mail Dr. Hal Wert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even More Choices
- Directed Individual Studies
- Mobility programs to other colleges in the U.S. and abroad