Timeline of the Kansas City Art Institute
1885: Sketch Club forms as the first organized art effort in the city.
1887: Kansas City Art Association and School of Design is incorporated.
1893: Fire destroys the association’s equipment and financial problems ensue; the association’s operations are limited from 1894 to 1906.
1907: The Fine Arts Institute of KC is incorporated, the successor to the association.
1914–1918: During World War I faculty and students raise funds for the Red Cross by selling their artwork; students create posters to promote U.S. Navy enlistment.
1915: Saturday classes for school children begin at the Fine Arts Institute.
1915–1917: Walt Disney attends Saturday classes.
1917: The first Beaux Arts ball, a fundraising event, is held.
1918: John Steuart Curry attends summer classes (his first formal art training).
1920: J.C. Nichols becomes president of the Fine Arts Institute of KC’s board.
1920: Name change from Fine Arts Institute of KC to the Kansas City Art Institute.
1920s: KCAI begins hosting Midwestern Art Shows of work by Missouri and Kansas artists.
1924: Mrs. Downing loans books to start a library at KCAI.
1927: Howard Vanderslice purchases and donates August R. Meyer residence.
1930s: Financial crisis. Fireside suppers, auctions, lectures and outdoor activities are hosted.
1931–1943: The Annual Beaux Arts Balls raise about $1,500 each year.
1935–1941: Thomas Hart Benton is chair of painting department.
1940: KCAI is credited with being the first school to inaugurate a civilian and industrial research camouflage training program (Time Magazine, October).
1945: The G.I. Bill boosts enrollment
1947: KCAI becomes qualified to grant B.F.A. or B.A.A. degrees and offers master’s degrees.
1948: Enrollment reaches 600 students.
1948: Leonard Pryor becomes the first African American to attend KCAI. Robert Rauschenberg enrolls in the interior design department.
1963: The student Living Center opens.
1964: KCAI becomes fully accredited by NCA.
1977: KCAI organizes the first Renaissance Festival in Kansas City; the festival is sold in 1997.
1983: The preservation and restoration of Mineral Hall is completed.
1996–2004: KCAI undergoes $18 million worth of campus improvements.
1999: The H&R Block Artspace opens.
2000–2004: The continuing education department increases enrollment from 339 in 1998 to 700 in 2004 and begins hosting Educators ArtLab.
2002-2003: The Jannes Library and Learning Center opens in the renovated Cunningham Mansion. The project wins the AIA-Kansas City Merit Award for Excellence in Design and the Historic Kansas City Foundation’s Preservation Award.
2005: KCAI introduces the Community Arts and Service Learning program.
2009: KCAI opens a continuing education facility in the Northland.
2012: KCAI acquires a 10,000-square-foot warehouse to renovate and house the fiber department.
2014: KCAI’s School for Continuing and Professional Studies consolidates all classes to a new building located at 32 E. 46th St., Kansas City, MO.
2014: KCAI introduces fifth-year post-baccalaureate program in art education.
2014: The H&R Block Artspace celebrates its 15th anniversary.
2015: Tony Jones named 24th President of KCAI.
2015: KCAI receives $25 million donation from an anonymous donor.
2015: A $750,000 renovation is executed in the Richard J. Stern Ceramics Building at KCAI.
2015: KCAI installs 100 solar panels on the roof of the East Building in an effort to reduce energy costs and become better stewards of the environment.
2016: Construction begins on KCAI’s Fabrication Laboratory.
2016: KCAI’s Vanderslice Hall undergoes historic preservation.
2016: KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice opens.