When you enter the dazzling new speakeasy The Monarch Bar on the Country Club Plaza at 4808 Roanoke in Kansas City, a shimmering chandelier of over 1,000 acrylic butterflies will be one of the first things to catch your eye. This marvelous installation was designed and built by Studio Coordinator Nathan Neufeld and a team of students in our very own David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology.

When our friend and world-famous architect David Manica, the Monarch Bar owner, wanted to create a cocktail bar reminiscent of the great ones in London and Moscow, he turned to KCAI. He knew that the extraordinary creative talent of our students and the high-tech capabilities of the Beals Studios were the perfect combination to realize his vision of the chandelier. The acrylic butterflies were laser cut and kiln formed, heated and melted to give them shape, then sand-blasted and etched to catch the light. They were hung in columns on a grid to give the illusion of butterflies in flight. Specially-designed lighting changes the colors of the butterflies. The result is an exquisite, unique chandelier. This collaborative project is just one of many that our students are doing with the Kansas City business community through our Sponsored Studio program.

The Monarch Bar opens in late August. Be sure to get a seat at the large marble bar, order a craft cocktail and then gaze at the ceiling to see the brilliant chandelier made by KCAI — cheers!




Welcome Vice President for Enrollment Management Karen Townsend

We are pleased to announce that Karen Townsend has joined KCAI as vice president for enrollment management and will be leading the admissions and financial aid teams.  Karen comes to KCAI with 17 years of progressive experience in admissions recruitment at six colleges. She most recently served as the director of admissions at the School of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston. Prior to her work at SMFA at Tufts, Karen held leadership positions at Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Maine College of Art and the School for Visual Arts in New York. “Karen was our top candidate in terms of depth of experience and educational background,” said Bambi Burgard, executive vice president of academic affairs. “She’s an enthusiastic leader who will bring a fresh eye and creativity to our admissions process.”


Campus Improvements Moving Forward

Construction crews have been busy this summer and the two major campus improvement projects are starting to take shape.

The Irving Courtyard is glassed-in and the finishing touches are being put on four-thousand square feet of academic space.  The two new classrooms for Graphic Design and Animation will be ready for students on the first day of school.



Significant progress has been made on historical reconstruction of the Mildred Lane Kemper Terrace and the indoor reception rooms. A new wheelchair accessible ramp is being installed and all the improvements will be completed late fall.






100 Proof opens at H&R Block Artspace

100 Proof at H&R Block Artspace, August 12 – September 30, presents a diverse selection of prints created by 23 artists working in collaboration with Landfall Press, one of the preeminent contemporary publishers of artist editions in the United States. Please join us for the opening reception Friday, August 11 from 6-8 p.m.

Surveying nearly two decades of innovative artistic collaborations, the exhibition features a broad range of media and techniques that reflect and celebrate the unique vision and experimental, adventurous approach of Landfall Press and its founder and master printer, Jack Lemon (‘63 Painting). Read more

KCAI Crossroads Opens Three Exhibits

Three new exhibitions are opening on September 1 at at 6 p.m. at KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice.

Dale Eldred: Works on Paper displays the process and personality of the monumental landscapes by Dale Eldred, former chair of KCAI sculpture department. Red Dirt Rug is a site-specific installation by Rena Detrixhe about stories within the Oklahoma soil. Project Share by Jeni Hansen Gard is an interactive exhibit where viewers document their experiences with a set of handmade dishes in a hand-woven backpack. Read more



Women to Watch – Metal

Ceramics Alumna Debbie Barrett-Jones is exhibiting in Women to Watch – Metal now through January 28, 2018 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The Women to Watch exhibition series is presented in cooperation with the Kansas City Chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). It showcases emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which NMWA has outreach committees. From the ornamental to the functional, this year’s exhibition explores metal as a medium. Read more



Alumna Performs with Blue Oyster Cult

Joan Levy Hepburn (’76 Painting) an experienced blues guitarist, will perform with the Bouchard Brothers, original co-founders of Blue Öyster Cult and part of the creative force that drove their amazing recording career at Columbia Records in the 1970s and 1980s.  The performance is September 9 at the Boulton Center in Bay Shore, NY. Read more 

See more Alumni events 




Congratulations to Gabbi Brandini, (senior, illustration) for winning the 2017 Will Eisner Scholarship! The $5,000 award, named after one of the most influential comic artists of all time, is given to a junior to help with senior year tuition.

To be considered, Gabbi submitted a portfolio of provocative comics and an essay about her love of cartooning.  In the final step, she was interviewed by a judging panel about the comics she was reading, artists she followed, her creative process and future plans for comic projects. See more of Gabbi’s work.





Solar Music for the Total Eclipse 

“It’s not just human music, it’s the music that makes us human. We are all children of the sun.” – Dwight Frizzell, Professor of Sound and Interactive Arts

Join us on the Rowland Commons  for the Solar Music for the Total Eclipse. Celestial music will be performed in-sync with the eclipse with 27 seconds of silence during peak darkness on Monday, August 21.

 Myth-Science Ensemble featuring Thomas Aber, Patrick Conway, Matthew Johnson, William Plummer and Dwight Frizzell, Professor of Sound and Interactive Arts will perform free and open-to-the-public at this accessible vantage point for solar observation. Read more 




Tyler Galloway to speak at Typecon

Chair of Graphic Design Tyler Galloway will present Typography as Inquiry on August 24 at the Typecon conference in Boston. His talk will answer questions that undergraduates ask about typography and explore the heart of an ongoing pedagogical experiment in applying the “inquiry method” to undergraduate graphic design study. Read more 

Clay, Lines and Fire Opens September 1 at Belger Crane Yard

Clay, Lines and Fire is a collaboration by Associate Professor of Foundation Russell Ferguson and his former student, Shane Lutzk (’14 Ceramics). It features sculptures by Lutzk, which include imagery from Ferguson. Both artists explore landscape, the figure, and narrative in their work. Read more


John Ferry featured in September

Assistant Professor of Illustration John Ferry’s exhibit September is on view now through October 1 at Blue Gallery in Kansas City. The Opening Reception and Artist’s Talk is Thursday, August 31 from 6-9 p.m.


Read more