Students at KCAI often seem happiest when working late into the night in their studios, but opportunities abound for other types of experiences throughout the academic year.
Student Leadership Team – The mission of the Student Leadership Team is to serve as a liaison between the KCAI student body and the faculty, staff, administration and board of trustees. As the voice of the student body, the team aims to promote the personal and professional interests of the KCAI community.
KCAI Print Society - The mission of the KCAI Print Society is to heighten awareness of printmaking processes and generate funds to subsidize print-related activities and scholarships for members. This includes attending conferences and planning guest lectures, workshops and demonstration.
Arts & Faith - Arts & Faith is a Christian collective where all faiths and beliefs are welcome. Through weekly prayer and discussion, students are encouraged to strengthened their identity and learn to live out of grace, bettering not only one’s life but the lives of others.
BACC: Black Artist Culture and Community - Black Artist Culture and Community is an organization that utilizes artistic talent to encourage cultural diversity at the Kansas City Art Institute. This is accomplished through student leadership, mentorship programs, community services and campus activities. BACC recognizes that African-American students are a minority on the KCAI campus; thus, they seek to foster a sense of community among all students of color. BACC serves as a liaison between students and administration, giving African American students a voice on the issues that are most pressing to them as well as serving as a resource to make sure the social, cultural and educational needs of students are met.
A QUILTBAG APP: Aromantic, queer, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender, asexual, gay ally, polyamorous, panromantic - A QUILTBAG APP’s primary purpose is to provide a safe space for discussion and moral support regarding aromantic, queer, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender, asexual, gay ally, polyamorous, panromantic issues pertinent to students. The group promotes awareness and visibility first within their community and then within the campus and surrounding community by creating an atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance, self-pride, support, and understanding.
LOCAL: Latino Organization for Culture, Arts, and Language - The mission of LOCAL is to advance awareness and appreciation of the variety of Latin American and Spanish cultures. Through the exploration of language, arts, music and philosophy, LOCAL hopes to bring together people of diverse cultural backgrounds. They intend to work on dispelling ignorance; promote respect and understanding; and help KCAI successfully move toward its strategic goal of world citizenship.
ArtPlay - ArtPlay is a registered student organization supported by the Community Arts and Service Learning program. ArtPlay is a group of community artists who also happen to be students. They volunteer to teach classes and facilitate arts activities for children and adults facing difficult life situations in the Kansas City area. They believe that art can help heal and strengthen communities and that, as students at the Kansas City Art Institute, they have the perfect opportunity to be creative teachers. ArtPlay builds skills within a community through classes and utilize this newfound artistic power to create pieces that beautify an area and empower the people they reach. ArtPlay members volunteer the number of hours their academic schedule permits. Current ArtPlay sites include a domestic violence shelter for women and children, a non-traditional high school for at-risk students, a daycare center that cares for and teaches hundreds of disadvantaged children in one of the poorest parts of the city and a high school that is learning to make art using sustainable methods and materials. Art classes are at the heart of ArtPlay. Participants sew, draw, paint, sculpt and garden. They create environments that help children see themselves as creative individuals who can color and shape their world with the guidance of caring adults.
A highlight of the orientation experience at KCAI is Community Connection Day. At the start of the fall semester, entering freshman and transfer students are grouped into teams that spend a day partnering with local community service organizations. Partner organizations have included a community rain garden, a food bank and a youth arts organization. The experience helps students forge friendships and provides them with a glimpse into the life Kansas City, a metropolitan area noted for community involvement and public-private partnerships.
Fall and spring are ideal times for sports activities on and off campus. Among the most popular at KCAI are bicycling, soccer and dodge ball. KCAI students who play soccer and dodge ball compete in intramural leagues, with many games hosted on the KCAI campus. The campus Bicycle Club not only organizes rides in cooperation with the Kansas City Bicycle Club but also operates a bicycle repair shop on campus, with workshops held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays in Baty House, the liberal arts building.
Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions of Hispanic Americans and celebrates Hispanic culture. It begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and also celebrates declarations of independence by Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18). On campus, celebrations have included music performances, Movie Night and tango lessons.
Led by Russell Ferguson, director of the School of the Foundation Year and a 1988 printmaking graduate of KCAI, this much-anticipated annual tradition entails freshman students’ learning a percussion routine, creating amazing costumes and treating the campus to an energetic and noisy campus-wide walkabout in late October.
Sponsored by Student Assembly, the annual Halloween Dance inspires costume creativity at its finest.
Each academic semester culminates with an exhibition and sale of student work in all departments. The event draws hundreds of buyers and viewers from the community, who often arrive early and stand in line to get the first glimpse of collectible and coveted student work. Proceeds from sales benefit both the departments and the individual students whose work is sold.
During the winter intersession, the college observes Martin Luther King Day. The public is invited to attend the celebration, which typically includes a re-enactment of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a video about the Civil Rights Movement, an interpretive dance and free birthday cake.
The college celebrates Black History Month with a series of lectures, performances and presentations. The dining hall traditionally hosts a lunch featuring soul food to celebrate African-American culinary traditions.
Celebrating spring is a late-April tradition at KCAI. Highlights include a an annual volleyball tournament.
A high point of the academic year is the annual B.F.A. exhibition, which takes place at the H&R Block Artspace at KCAI. Open to the public, the show culminates with a public reception on the evening before commencement. Work by graduating seniors is included in the exhibition.
Discover the variety of projects for which KCAI students are seeking supporter through Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. View the list of current projects.
Download the student handbook for information about student services, degree requirements, the grading system, course reservations, academic appeals and academic standings.