Brush Creek Community Rain Garden

As part of the Community Arts and Service Learning program at KCAI, students collaborated with a variety of civic organizations and businesses to create the KCAI-Brush Creek Community Rain Garden. The garden, located in Theis Park at Volker Boulevard and Oak Street, was formally dedicated on May 2, 2008.

The rain garden was designed by students who participated in the course “Persuasive Ecology and Design." The goal of the class was to provide an opportunity for students to learn about the ecology of the region, address community needs and learn how to communicate basic ecological principles to the general public. The garden is designed to educate the public about the advantages of capturing rainwater where it falls and using native plans to help it soak into the soil instead of running off the surface.

Students designed the rain garden in collaboration with Brush Creek Community Partners and representatives from several of its member organizations including the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Discovery Center. Several Kansas City firms and individuals offered advice, hands-on assistance, materials or cash donations, including Embassy Landscaping, McCownGordon Construction, BNIM Architects, Black & Veatch, Dimensional Innovations and artist Linda Lighton ('89 sculpture). Individuals from city departments, including Kansas City Water Services, and from other local organizations, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City, all donated time and expertise.

KCAI and its community partners have continued working on the garden since its creation during the 2006-07 academic year.

The staff liaison is Julie Metzler, director of special programs.

For more information, e-mail

A Space for Clay

Ceramics students who participated in special instructor Misty Gamble’s “Space for Clay” class at KCAI exhibited their work May 13, 2010 in the Brush Creek Community Rain Garden.

Gamble’s students spent the spring 2010 semester working with others who tend the rain garden to understand the ecology and uses for the garden. Works were then created to celebrate and decorate the garden. About 14 works were displayed.

“The work responded to an outdoor rural garden space in an urban environment and built a relationship and connection to that space,” Gamble said. “The course provided students with an opportunity to explore the role of the artist in the community and how this impacts their studio practice while investigating the art of ceramics.”

View photos from the exhibition.

Spring 2011 Rain Garden Project

Check out the photos below each week to watch the gardent this spring. Each week during the growing season we will post pictures where visitors can see the changes spring and hard work bring to the garden.

Brush Creek Community Rain Garden Spring 2011

Brush Creek Community Rain Garden

Creating the Rain Garden

A video slideshow of images from the planting of the KCAI-Brush Creek Community Rain Garden.

Growing Together

"Growing Together" provides the back story on the creation and purpose of the KCAI-Brush Creek Community Rain Garden.

Spring Cleaning

Watch volunteers participate in the annual clean up at the Rain Garden.

Student Life

Want to know what life will be like at KCAI? To learn more about academic resources available to students, educational exchange programs, housing and dining and student groups and activities, visit the Student Life page.