Alumni + Careers
a lifetime experience
A degree from the Kansas City Art Institute is a door that opens to a wide array of career opportunities from a highly respected, professional college of art and design that has been in the business of producing the next generation of creative thought leaders for more than 130 years.
Our students receive such intensive, demanding training and education that many go on to become highly accomplished professionals within their field. Our former students are represented in the most prestigious museum and public collections around the world, they are cultural innovators, they hold leading-edge positions in virtually every creative field imaginable, and they have been recognized with the highest honors from Guggenheim Fellowships to Academy Awards.
Although an education at KCAI will prepare you for a viable career in the arts, your relationship with KCAI does not end at graduation. You will also have a life-long connection to a college that is committed to keeping you engaged with our campus and your fellow alumni throughout your professional life.
Our goal is to help students reach their maximum potential while at KCAI, and provide you with the tools, resources, advice and assistance needed to determine your next step. From here, you may find your career path by taking advantage of our amazing career services, internships, business partnerships and a vast, diverse and growing network of fellow alumni professionals.
To learn more about our resources, benefits and ways to stay connected with KCAI visit our alumni community.
“KCAI also had a real impact on me regarding what it meant to focus on my craft and always keep pushing.”Cameron Calder
Jim Campbell wins the "Oscar" of the Comic Book World
Jim Campbell (’99 illustration) won big at ComicCon in San Diego on July 22 when he took home the Will Eisner Award for his Over the Garden Wall comic book.
The comic book is based on the Emmy Award winning cartoon miniseries by the same name that ran on Cartoon Network in November 2014. Campbell was also the storyboard artist on the prime-time cartoon, which chronicled the epic adventures of two half-brothers Greg and Writ. The comic books series is split in two, with Campbell telling the story of Greg and his frog and Amalia Levari and Cara McGee covering the story of Anna the Woodman’s daughter.
In a recent interview on comicalliance.com, Campbell explained why the comic book is different than the art style of the television show.”I try to keep the main characters mostly on model and follow some of the vague style rules of the show. But of course my lifework will just end up going off those rails sometimes and I let it. On some level, I am really just incapable of totally mimicking someone else’s style. Anyway, I feel like comics look best when an artist has the freedom to be themselves.”
For more about Jim Campbell and Over the Garden Wall, read the following:
Rosie Ruzicka's KCAI Education Prepared Her For Life at Sprint's New Agency Yellow Fan
Being one of the first graphic designers hired for an in-house ad agency responsible for shaping the creative vision of a 32 billion dollar mobile company is exciting and a little bit daunting, especially for a recent college graduate. Yet when Sprint’s new internal agency Yellow Fan offered Rosie Ruzicka (’15 illustration) a job, she didn’t hesitate. Her education at KCAI gave her the confidence and skills she needed to work in a start-up agency.
“When I graduated from KCAI, I felt I had a leg-up because of the experience I had. I was really well prepared because the core focus of the curriculum is to work fast, be a producer and have a good attitude. We learned teamwork and how it’s more about successful collaboration than your individual style,” said Ruzicka.
She also learned the art of the quick turnaround, a vital skill in the fast-paced agency world. Her instructors would send her home with an assignment and give her six hours to come up with an image that worked for the project.
“A lot of the students would get frustrated because they thought no one would ever ask them to do a design that quickly. But now, my boss will come in at 9 AM and want me to finish a project by noon. That’s the way agencies tend to run.”
Learning to draw in her illustration classes also gave Rosie her an advantage in getting hired. According to Rosie, “Not every designer can illustrate. Employers want to see that you have a point of view and coming in with a distinct style made me more valuable. Because I had developed the ability to draw, it set me apart from the other applicants.”
KCAI illustration students are required to participate in an internship and Rosie found her time at C3, a kids and family marketing and design agency, invaluable. While she was there she learned about the way an agency works and the importance of teamwork. Her hands-on experience made the transition from school into the workplace easy.
“The internship and my senior year in illustration really helped me hone my skills. I learned how to present my ideas in front of an audience. There is a definite art to speaking to clients. I learned to phrase things correctly and fully commit to asking for time and attention so I can sell my ideas.”
Her time at Yellow Fan is spent on a variety of design projects from billboards to newspaper ads to digital media. She designed large format vinyls for the Kansas City streetcars and she has seen her billboards around town. She loves seeing her work out in the world.
“Some people say that when you do something you love for work, it takes all the fun out of it. I want to say, its all about attitude and finding joy in your work. It’s great seeing my designs come to life.”
In the future, Rosie hopes that she’ll be an art director but in the meantime, she’s just loving being a part of a start-up agency and all the possibilities it brings. “Every day is different. Every week is different. it’s exciting to think that I can have an impact in shaping and changing the brand direction of Sprint. I want everyone to know that you really can be an artist and have a lucrative career.”
Alumnus Jason Siebenmorgen Awarded a Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture
A KCAI alumnus has recently been awarded a Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture. Jason Siebenmorgen graduated from KCAI with a BFA in Sculpture in 1993, and was accepted into Harvard’s internationally recognized Master’s program in Landscape Architecture. He is currently a senior associate at the highly regarded Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects, P.C. in New York, NY.
The American Academy in Rome announced the winners of The Rome Prize Fellowships in April, and it is one of the most prestigious international awards in recognition of architecture, landscape architecture, art history and scholarship. Prizewinners are awarded a residency at the Academy’s villa in Rome, for period of up to a year, which annually supports advanced independent work in the arts and humanities within a unique residential community. The thirty-one artists and scholars selected will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of six-months to two years at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome. The Rome Prize winners were presented at the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony, which was held in Kaplan Hall Auditorium at the New School in New York City April 21, 2016.
Siebenmorgen received the Garden Club of America Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture for his project titled, From Ancient Italy to Urban Parks Today: A Study of the Role of Plants in Italian Gardens and Their Influence on Urban Park Design. For his project, he will investigate the role of plants in Italian gardens, their influence on Western design, and the evolution of these private gardens into public parks today. His research-with direct access to sensory, cultural, historical, and academic markers in Rome’s gardens and archives-will trace what prompted the Italian fascination with flowering plants that later fell out of favor. His studies will provide a foundation and enable him to create a movement toward using flowering plants in landscape design.
Rome Prize winners are selected annually through a national competition process by independent juries of distinguished scholars and artists in one of the eleven disciplines supported by the Academy, including: Literature, Music Composition, Visual Arts, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Historic Preservation and Conservation, as well as Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern, and Modern Italian Studies. Nationwide, almost 900 applications were received from 46 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. For more information about The Rome Prize and Siebenmorgen’s fellow recipients, visit http://www.aarome.org/news/features/the-2016-2017-rome-prize-winners.