February 21, 2020

Major Investments in Animation and Illustration at KCAI

Major Investments in Animation and Illustration 

Beginning fall semester, Animation and Illustration students will have contemporary new classroom and studio space in the former living center towers. As soon as students moved into the new Barbara Marshall Residence Hall, work began to convert the towers to much-needed space for our two fastest-growing departments. In the past three years, Illustration has grown by 15% and the number of Animation students has increased by 50%!  

Kansas City architects Gould Evans worked with KCAI faculty to design buildings that provide optimal classroom, studio space and common areas for Illustration and Animation, which have very different needs. Illustration (south tower) has large gallery walls to display student art, a common work area that mimics the feel of working in a design firm and utilizes lots of natural light.  Animation (north tower) has high tech lighting controls so spaces can be darkened for student presentations and lightbox work, while presentation walls are multi-media screens perfect for showcasing moving images.

Migrating the animation department into a newly designed and dedicated space represents the positive culmination of literally thousands of hours of hard work and passion on behalf of our alumni, faculty and current majors. After fifteen years of dynamic growth, creative exploration and learning, students will now have a new home in which to continue our investigations into the art and design of motion. We are over the moon excited as a department to greet the future in our new space!” said Chair of Animation Doug Hudson.

The north tower will also be the new site of KCAI Gallery. It is relocating from its previous location in the Kansas City Crossroads, which closed in December 2019, to allow more students to take advantage of gallery programming. The gallery will be built with a unique flexible usage design including the campus’s first black box theater for student and public screenings. 

“It’s exciting to be moving KCAI’s Crossroads program onto campus. The opportunities for continued engagements with the KCAI community, including the Center for Contemporary Practice program, are significant. New engagements with our neighborhood cultural institutions will not only benefit and serve KCAI students but also our greater Kansas City communities,” said Director of KCAI Gallery Michael Schonhoff.

July 28, 2020

Large Scale Hilgemann Implosion Sculpture Installed on Campus

A 20-foot sculpture that used to sit on Park Avenue in New York City was installed Tuesday morning on campus. Double Stack by Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US), is 20 ft. high and made from stainless steel.  Double Stack is the second work that has been generously loaned to the college by the artist and Zahner Metal Conservation. Dancers was on campus in 2017-18 and now is part of Leawood’s Public Art Collection. This installation is part of KCAI’s plan to place large-scale works on the campus, on a constantly-changing basis. They connect the large public artworks already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the works in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Previous sculptures on campus include This is NOT a Refuge by Anila Quayyum Agha and The Consistency of Change by Caleb Bowman, (’99 Sculpture). See how Hilgemann implodes these giant sculptures here.

July 27, 2020

Recent Grad Designs Mural at Zoo’s Elephant Exhibit

Watching elephants frolic in the new waterfall pool is delighting visitors at the recently renovated Elephant Expedition at the Kansas City Zoo. The pachyderm’s passion for H2O is also the theme of another one of the exhibition’s new features, a vibrant mural by Anh Le, a 2020 graduate of KCAI’s Illustration program. The large-scale panorama on the Learning Cottage at the exhibit entrance shows animal families coming together at a waterhole in the wilds of Africa. “I wanted the whole scene to have a warm, inviting vibe for visitors.  It gives them a little peek into the world they are entering,” said Le. The project was created when Le was a senior in KCAI’s MICRO Agency, which connects Kansas City businesses with the creative talent of KCAI students. Several students presented designs to the Zoo team and Le’s interpretation made the final cut. This is the second time KCAI students have designed murals for the Zoo. Vaughn Parrish (’19 Illustration) created the underwater themed wall in Stingray Bay. Le’s motivation for the mural is simple — to bring happiness. “With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we need a spark of positivity and joy. I hope people read more…