Career FAQs

How are students prepared for life after KCAI?

The AACS at KCAI assists enrolled students in developing an organized strategy for expanding their career focus in conjunction with their academic progress. Beginning with the freshman year, the career services office provides a sequence of career-related experiences as well as information and resources to facilitate the journey to graduation.

As the AACS staff assists students in guiding their careers, they employ resources such as career skills workshops, professional practice seminars, alumni speakers, one-on-one appointments and prospective employer lectures.

Where do KCAI graduates find employment?

In past years approximately 41 percent of our graduates have pursued careers in art-related businesses, 18 percent have gone on to teach at the high-school or college level and 26 percent have become studio artists.

What are alumni doing in the real world?

Animation

Recent graduates work for a number of local and regional animation production houses as well as for firms involved in the production of national programs, such as the Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-winning “Robot Chicken,” or with animation icons such as Bill Plympton. In addition, graduates have gone on to pursue their education at various institutions including The California Institute of the Arts.

Art History

KCAI graduates with art history/studio majors have been actively involved in a variety of studio practices and major exhibitions. Several have received Peggy Guggenheim Collection internships in Venice, Italy, and many have pursued M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees at distinguished universities.

Ceramics

Alumni of the ceramics program have been selected for Peggy Guggenheim Collection internships in Venice, Italy, as well as for residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Mont., the Mudflats Art Center in Boston, the Richard Carter Studio in California’s Napa Valley and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. Others have been admitted to graduate programs at Alfred University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Arizona State University and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, to name a few.

Creative Writing

Alumni have become magazine feature writers, art critics and reviewers and have gone on to graduate programs in all kinds of areas, including writing and architecture. Others have pursued careers in industry.

Digital Filmmaking

Alumni have been involved in the television, film and advertising industries, as outlined in the following movies: KCAI alumni worked on motion graphics in “The Kite Runner” and “Stranger Than Fiction”; motion graphics and special effects in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”; as a puppeteer in “Iron Man”; on special effects in “The Dark Knight,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman,” “End of Days” and “Ghosts of Mars”; on visual effects in “Pitch Black”;  as director on “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” “The Matrix  Reloaded” and “History of America”; and as director assistant on “Stay The Same Never Change”; television: KCAI alumni have worked on visual effects in “The X Files,” “Lost” and “Pushing Daisies,”; as director for MTV’s “Rock The Vote”; and on numerous music videos, including “The Faint,” “Guided By Voices,” “Ministry” and “Skinny Puppy”; commercials: KCAI alumni have worked on advertising campaigns for Coke, Diesel, Adidas, EA, Best Buy, MTV, Cartoon Network, American Movie Classics and many others.

Fiber

Students who graduate with an emphasis in fiber arts leave prepared to attend graduate school, exhibit  in galleries, host their own fashion shows, design for mills and apparel companies or open their own businesses.Their work is sculptural, functional, aesthetic and experimental. KCAI alumni have handled costume design for films including “27 Dresses,” “Kill Bill” and “Spiderman.” They are in top positions in mills and studios as design directors at Truetextiles and Wearbest mills. They own their own textile companies or production studios. Others have worked for clothing companies such as Old Navy, The Gap, Target, Asiatica and Peruvian Connection.

Graphic Design

Graphic design graduates work in a wide array of design fields. Some alumni pursue careers with large corporations such as Crate and Barrel and Hallmark Cards, while others join advertising and design firms, such as Crispin Porter Bugosky, Eisterhold, Pentagram, Sullivan Higdon Sink and VML. Still others pursue the M.F.A. degree at universities nationwide.

Illustration

KCAI illustration graduates have worked for Hallmark Cards, The Kansas City Star, Harrah’s Casino, Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Coca-Cola, Sprint and MTV. They have had work published in The New York Times, Wired Magazine, 3x3 Magazine, American Illustration, Print Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Kansas City Star and Communication Arts. In addition, graduates have gone on to pursue their education in graduate departments at institutions including the University of Kansas, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Painting

Graduates of the painting program at KCAI have attained national and international reputations as exhibiting artists.  Recent graduates Eric Sall (’99), Brian Fahlstrom (’00) and Amy Meyers (’95) have had their work included in the Saatchi Collection in London.  Work by Fahlstrom and Angela Dufresne (’91) was included in the “Triumph of Painting - Part 6” publication and exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery and Museum 52 in London. Work by Ke-Sook Lee (’82) and the alumni mentioned above has been shown in Frankfurt, Germany; the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; and the Galerie Lefor Openo in Paris.

Photography

Work by KCAI alumni has been exhibited at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Venice Biennale of Architecture; Whitney Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art; Kunstverein Ulm; Galerie Herrmann & Wagner, Berlin; Los Angles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago; Site Santa Fe; and many other galleries and museums around the world.

Printmaking

Graduates of the KCAI printmaking department enjoy a wide variety of successful careers. They exhibit, curate and perform on a national scale. Graduates open their own custom manufacturing studios and print shops. Porter Teleo, founded by a graduate of KCAI, has been featured in magazines including Vogue and Metropolitan Home. Hammerpress, founded by another graduate, represents the Kansas City music scene with award-winning posters. From high end wallpaper to street posters, printmakers with B.F.A. degrees from KCAI work to engage contemporary culture at every level.

Sculpture

Graduates of the program have become successful artists and sculptors in their own right, and many have moved on to graduate school to refine their practice. Careers in sculpture include studio artist, architectural details artist, set designer, foundry owner/worker, restorer, conservator, toy designer, puppeteer, industrial designer and teacher/professor. 

Where do KCAI grads go to get their M.F.A.?

Recently KCAI graduates have been admitted to the following graduate schools:

Alfred University
American Film Institute
Boston University
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Cornell University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Rhode Island School of Art and Design
Rutgers University
Stanford University
State University of New York, Purchase
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Minnesota
Virginia Commonwealth University
Yale University

How many KCAI grads go on to obtain an M.F.A. degree?

Our statistics show that 10 percent of our graduates pursue an M.F.A. degree immediately following study at KCAI, while 35 percent get their master's degree within five years of getting their B.F.A.

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