Students arriving on campus this week for the fall semester will have new places to create, learn and showcase their work when the Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration, KCAI Gallery and Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall open their doors for the first time. Reconfigured spaces for KCAI’s new Product Design major and Social Practice minor will also enhance the student experience. Combined, these new facilities add 50,000 square feet of studio and classroom space, allowing us room to adapt to CDC and social distancing recommendations to keep our campus community safe. Learn more details about the campus fall reopening guidelines.

Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration
When Nerman Family President Tony Jones arrived at KCAI five years ago, he initiated a plan for the college that expanded academic programs and inspired a total campus transformation. Now, thanks to generous gifts from members of KCAI’s Board of Trustees, his visionary leadership has been recognized.

According to Board President Frank Uryasz, what Jones has accomplished in a short time is awe-inspiring. “At KCAI, we challenge our students ‘To Imagine What the World is Yet To See.’ When Tony Jones arrived at Kansas City in 2015, he had a vision for the future of KCAI. We’re not done with the plans yet, but the Board of Trustees is delighted to recognize Tony now in this way by naming the new studios the Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration” said Uryasz.

Located in the former living center towers, Tony Jones Studios provide a new home for two of our fastest growing departments. With input from the faculty and the expertise of Kansas City Architects Gould Evans, the 30,000 square foot studios were designed to provide optimal classroom, studio space and common areas for each department’s unique needs. Animation, in the north tower, has multi-media presentation walls and high tech lighting controls to darken the spaces for student presentations. Illustration utilizes natural light and has large gallery walls to display student work. Both departments provide students with private studio space to explore, experiment and create.

Naming the studios after Jones is fitting because first and foremost, he’s a studio artist. “I’m very touched and honored that the board has recognized my commitment to the studio experience because as a painter, sculptor and art historian, my heart has always been in the studio. Since I’ve been at KCAI, we’ve built the David T. Beals III Studios for Art and Technology and enhanced the Ceramic Studios — great spaces to make great work,” said Jones.

Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall
Named for two of Kansas City’s visionary philanthropists, the new Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall, home to Art History, Liberal Arts, Entrepreneurial Studies, and the Ronald Cattelino Center for Student Services will impact every student on campus. The 18,000 square foot, state of the art facility located at 44th and Oak, provides an elevated environment for our academic programs. It has distinctive features like a two-story, light-filled atrium, and an entry-way adorned with the quotes by famous art historians, artists and writers. Every classroom has outdoor views, giving it the feel of classrooms in a garden.

DeBruce Hall was designed by Hufft, a Kansas City-based architecture firm known for creating meaningful spaces and objects inspired by integrating designers and builders into one holistic process. It is compatible with the historic Southmoreland and Rockhill neighborhoods, while differentiated with a confident modern design. Award-winning landscape architects Hoerr Schaudt designed the expansive outdoor spaces and Kansas City construction company McCownGordon built the facility.

All Liberal Arts and Art History classes will be online this fall and the Ronald Cattelino Center will be open by appointment only for Financial Aid, Disability Services, and Academic Advising.

KCAI Gallery
The KCAI Gallery, formerly the Crossroads Gallery, has a new home in a prime location on the lower level of Tony Jones Studios. The new gallery features flexible space that will shift from classroom to studio to gallery to black-box theater, plus a movable wall system to accommodate a variety of exhibitions. It offers the public a new destination nestled between the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and H&R Block Artspace. Being on campus gives students opportunities for experiential learning and cross-disciplinary engagements as well as the ability to interact with working artists.

The gallery will continue to collaborate with the Center for Contemporary Practice (CCP), the college’s program that works with all departments and explores new community partnerships. The inaugural exhibition, Revolution in Our Lifetime, An Exhibition in Three Parts Works by Emory Douglas, KCAI Students and the African American Artist Collective, runs from September 22 through December 5, 2020.

The campus transformation, which includes the 244-bed Barbara Marshall Residence Hall , Wylie Dining and Café Nerman that opened in January 2020, is thanks to the generosity of all who donated to the Space to Create Capital Campaign, which has raised more than $24 Million to date.