February 19, 2019

KCAI Introduces New Product Design Major

This fall, incoming students at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) will have a new academic major to pursue, Product Design. The college’s fourteenth major comes at a pivotal time in Kansas City, which is known for its burgeoning start-up community with a growing need for designers.

Students in the new, innovative program will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Product Design. The curriculum will focus on creative responses to current design challenges and will regularly adapt to address the most pressing and relevant global issues. Courses will provide training in both digital and hands-on techniques for design and prototyping, preparing students to be well-versed in all facets of the product design process. KCAI houses some of the most advanced technology for rapid prototyping at the state-of-the-art fabrication lab, the David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology. The Beals Studios was opened in the fall of 2016 and has twice hosted the Make 48 competition, a national two-day invent-a-thon for some of the nation’s top rising product designers.

“Our new Product Design major will live in a place that has a long and deep tradition of ‘making’ – we have the experience, the studios, and the tools. You dream it, and we’ll show you how to make it, bringing your ideas to life. From a conceptual sketch to the finished prototype, at KCAI we teach how to take your creation into the real world.” said KCAI Nerman Family President Tony Jones.

At the core of KCAI’s Product Design program is the Design Incubator Hub, a launch pad and collaboration space that provides designers with resources such as industry mentors and equipment to help transform ideas into successful products and businesses. Students will have access to mentorships and internships at some of Kansas City’s internationally recognized companies such as Cerner, Garmin and Dimensional Innovations.

According to Kendell Warner, Cerner User Experience Lead, companies like Cerner are continually searching for creative problem solvers that come to the table ready to engage with users and understand their true goals. “KCAI’s Product Design program encompasses many facets of Design Thinking, empathy gathering, iterative prototyping and business acumen that works extremely well for the type of work we do. It’s a great program to have in our own backyard and we’re excited to partner with KCAI as they grow the curriculum.”

A new collaboration between KCAI and the Bloch School of Management Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri- Kansas City will infuse the curriculum with entrepreneurial-focused business classes that will give students the tools they need to grow their ideas into sustainable products and business ventures. KCAI and UMKC also have a partnership that will offer KCAI students an opportunity to earn a minor in Art & Design Entrepreneurship beginning in the fall of 2019.

“Our collaboration with KCAI acknowledges the fact that a designer with business and entrepreneurship skills has a higher likelihood of success in the 21st-century economy. Through the program, students will learn to not only be a great designer but also how to launch and position their products and services in the market,” said Andy Heise, assistant director of Regnier Institute.

According to the program’s architect, Acting Product Design Chair Chris Chapin, the launch of this program is in response to the needs of businesses and new advances in design. “The strong entrepreneurial thread throughout the program, The Design Incubator Hub and mentorships with innovative companies will bridge our studio work and real-world practice, empowering students to make their ideas a reality. This major elevates KCAI as an important contributor to the product design community in Kansas City and around the world,” said Chapin.

KCAI is actively recruiting students for Fall 2019. Students who enter the first-year Foundation program in Fall 2019 will be the inaugural class to enroll in Product Design in Fall 2020. Transfer students who are interested in the Product Design major can transfer in Fall 2020. For more information visit kcai.edu/product-design/

August 19, 2019

KCAI Announces Lineup for Fall Current Perspectives Lecture Series

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) will welcome three notable Visiting Artists this fall to present at the Current Perspectives lecture series. These presentations by a diverse group of artists will inform, engage and celebrate relevant topics and practices in contemporary art and culture. The artists will also directly engage with students through a series of classroom conversations and critiques. Current Perspectives Lectures Each lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in Epperson Auditorium on the KCAI campus at 4415 Warwick.  Tickets are not required and all events are free and open to the public. For detailed information visit https://kcai.edu/campus-life/publicprograms/. Daniel Eatock Talking In Circles Thursday, September 19 Spend an hour with witty artist and disrupter Daniel Eatock at Talking in Circles, where he’ll narrate insights to 360 images arranged around the circumference of a circle starting and ending at the top. Eatock’s fascination with the circle is evident in much of his work. His practice not only rounds the circle but reinvents and questions the very premise of what a circle might be. Lisa Congdon Finding Your Voice: Uncovering the Holy Grail Thursday, October 17 To Illustrator and Author Lisa Congdon, the process of finding your creative voice is akin to read more…

August 6, 2019


Begin with Ideas. Embrace Change. Celebrate Confidence. Ad-lib and Make Things Up. From Daniel Eatock’s Manifesto Spend an hour on September 19 at 7 p.m. with witty artist and disrupter Daniel Eatock at a Current Perspectives presentation, Talking in Circles, where he’ll narrate insights to 360 images arranged around the circumference of a circle starting and ending at the top. Eatock’s fascination with the circle is evident in much of his work. His practice not only rounds the circle, but reinvents and questions the very premise of what a circle might be. The presentation will take place in Epperson Auditorium, located in Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus. With over 20 bios on his website eatock.com, it’s hard to choose just one to describe Eatock and his art. This one by Tim Milne, for the British website Container, sums it up –  Daniel Eatock is renowned for his exploration of the wit and conceptual irony that exist in everyday objects and situations. He devises systems, templates and opportunities for collaboration inviting contributors to shape the outcome and participate in the creation of his work. He embraces contradictions and dilemmas; seeking out alignments, paradoxes, chance circumstance, loops, impossibilities, and oxymorons. He likes to create the feeling read more…