September 23, 2020

One Month In

We’re one month into the semester and we’re still here on campus and in the studios. Due to the diligence of the community, we are able to report that at this time we have limited confirmed COVID cases and no campus spread. An incredible accomplishment that we hope to carry through the rest of the school year.

We continue to balance the health and safety of our campus community with the need to offer in-person studio instruction. We know how important it is for our maker community to be on-campus, using the equipment, tools and technology in studios. Our hybrid model of online and in-person teaching is working. We’ll continue to wear our masks, social distance, and follow protocols to keep our campus community safe. My sincere thanks to everyone – students, faculty, and staff—who are making this work.

Enrollment is steady at almost 700 new and returning students. We have full occupancy in the spectacular Barbara Marshall Residence Hall, and we have additional students making their home at the nearby Marriott hotel.

Thanks to the generosity of our Board of Trustees and many donors, students arrived on campus this fall to fantastic new studios and classrooms. The Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration provides much-needed space for our two largest progammes in the old student living towers. I can only imagine what our former student Walt Disney would say if he saw these high-tech facilities !

The new KCAI Gallery on the first floor of Jones Studios, formerly located in the Crossroads, opens its inaugural exhibition Revolution in our Lifetime this
week. This on-campus Gallery will be a real asset to our students and a great gathering space for our community when the time is right. Our new Product Design major welcomed their first class of nine students who are leading the way for this exciting program.

We know that this year looks different in many ways, but one thing is constant. The KCAI community brings dedication, heart, and passion to everything they do. Together, we’ll plot a course forward. Best wishes my friends, for a healthy, productive fall.

October 26, 2020

New Social Practice Minor Immerses Students in Socially Engaged Art

A new minor is helping KCAI students engage in the world as artists. Through studio and liberal arts courses, the multidisciplinary Social Practice minor arms them with the knowledge and skills needed to address their role in society and consider the cultural, economic, environmental, and political conundrums of today. Grounded in providing a strong historical, conceptual, and material foundation, it prepares students for a socially engaged practice beyond graduation into their professional careers. The minor, formally a certificate program, it’s one of only ten Social Practice minors at AICAD schools. According to Program Head Sean Nash, it is one hundred percent relevant for the current social/political climate. “The discipline of social practice emerged out of activism and it will never be separated from that history. Students are acutely aware that social practice can help them address public-facing social problems like racial injustice and climate change,” Nash said. Students in any major are eligible for the minor. They take 16 credit hours including three core classes Intro to Social Practice, Collaborative Art Classes, and Capstone Seminar and nine hours of electives from a wide range of course offerings across disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of the program — the focus on collaboration instead of individual making — has changed the way Senior Elinor Noyes read more…

October 26, 2020

KCAI Voices Fly High in Community Flag Installation

With less than a week to go until the election, the KCAI community is putting their beliefs, hopes, and concerns on display in A Flag that Flies High Enough, an installation of over 260 mixed-media flags on the Jannes Library lawn. Sponsored by the Center of Contemporary Practice, the project celebrates the fundamental right to vote, and the flag is a fitting symbol to share collective, yet individual voices. According to Contemporary Practice Co-Chairs Jordan Stemplemen, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Marie McInerney, Assistant Professor and Interim Chair of Fiber, “To ‘flag something’ is to draw attention to information that you think is important, crucial. Flags are visual communication tools that speak in symbols, emblems, and beliefs. They are tools of rebellion, oppression, and independence. Flags signal. Flags obscure. Flags demand. Flags inspire. Flags educate.” For students, the installation gives them an opportunity to share their voice about topics that are important to them. Hung Le (Junior, Fiber) is currently doing an independent study on the Vietnam War. His flag is a contrast between the national and international Vietnam flags and a symbolic representation of the different historical versions of the war — the one he learned in school and the real, devastating experiences of the Vietnamese people. He hopes that his work will read more…