On nearly every college campus around the country, summer months are spent cleaning up facilities, taking care of maintenance projects and preparing for the next academic year. KCAI is no different, except that this summer we will also be working on two major campus improvement projects.
For years, the Irving Courtyard has been a vacant outdoor space located between two of our growing departments– Animation and Graphic Design. Thanks to a smart design by the architecture firm GastingerWalker&, we are converting the formerly bleak courtyard into 4,000 square feet of much-needed academic space. This project is an investment in two of our stalwart academic programs and provides modern, flexible learning space that our faculty and students deserve.
Construction on the new Mildred Lane Kemper Terrace on the south side of Vanderslice Hall is also underway. The architectural design was informed by historical photographs and brings back the natural integration between the indoor reception rooms and outdoor terrace. The new wheelchair accessible ramp is a significant addition, that ensures everyone will enjoy the beautiful view of our campus green.
We anticipate construction for both of these projects will be complete by late August, just in time for returning students to enjoy their “spruced up” campus with two fantastic new spaces. For construction updates and more photographs, visit



a+d_auction2017_222 (2)Art & Design Auction Raises More than $500,000 for Student Scholarships!

The Rowland Commons and the David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology were the setting for the festive Art & Design Auction on June 3, which raised more than $500,000 for student scholarships.

Guests enjoyed champagne cocktails and inspired appetizers while browsing the silent auction of 200 pieces of original art donated by alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI.  A dinner of small plates and craft cocktails were served under a chandelier of colorful art before Event Chairs Alex and Abby Wendel and Honorary Chairs Lewis and Sue Nerman kicked off the live auction. Kansas City native Quig Bruning, vice president and specialist in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House, was the auctioneer for 11 amazing items including a large-scale painting by Lester Goldman, a photograph by Patty Carroll and a Midwestern landscape by Star Artist Keith Jacobshagen.

The Art & Design Auction makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our students. At KCAI, we welcome brilliant young artists to our campus to develop their talent and creativity, regardless of their financial circumstances. Thank you to all our friends and sponsors for your generosity and making our students’ dreams come true.

See photos from the event



Alumni Couple Make Upscale Handmade Wallcoverings

What do some of the Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Tiffany stores have in common with Hollywood celebrity compounds and a Dubai palace?  They have luxurious custom handmade wallcoverings crafted by Christian Batteau (’02 Sculpture) and Heidi Batteau (’03 Fiber).

The Batteau’s Assemblage Art & Craft Manufacturing, based out of tiny Witter, Arkansas, (population 603) caters to an upscale audience.  They use ancient techniques, like a thousand-year-old process of mixing marble dust with slaked lime and quicklime to create a marble surface on paper. Or, they utilize a traditional French tortoise shell painting method.  They add gold-leaf, silver-leaf and abalone to create one of a kind papers.

Read more



Shawn Brixey Appointed Dean of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

KCAI Alumni and multimedia artist Shawn Brixey (’85 Sculpture) will start a new job on July 1 as the Dean of the Virginia Commonwealth School of Arts.  He is currently the dean of the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University in Canada, where he founded a center for digital arts.  

As an artist, Brixey is best known for his trailblazing, complex experimental media artworks that synthesize physics, astronomy, cosmology, biology and advanced computing. In addition to his BFA from KCAI, he has an MSVisS in advanced visual studies (design, architecture, media science and engineering) from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his boundary-pushing art reflects the convergence of all these disciplines.

Read more

MockingbirdKCAI Alumnus Opens Mockingbird Lounge

For all-day brunch fare, craft cocktails and a great view of the downtown Kansas City skyline, stop by the Mockingbird Lounge in Strawberry Hill.

Dan Castillo (’15 Animation) has put together a menu that includes Chorizo waffles, pulled-pork tacos, avocado tuna salad and his mother’s famous pico de gallo and guacamole.  Enjoy the sunset or game night on the cozy patio.

Read more


Lila Ferber Admitted to Smithsonian Program

Recent graduate Lila Ferber (‘17 Sculpture) has been awarded a position in the Smithsonian American Art Museum advanced studies program for the fall and spring semesters of 2017/2018. Lila is also a member of last year’s winning Make 48 team and will be featured in a PBS documentary airing in more than 70 markets this fall.




In association with Charlotte Street Foundation’s Every Street is Charlotte Street program, the KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice is pleased to present two exhibits opening June 2 and running through August 4.

Max Key is a 2005 Charlotte Street Award Fellow and alumni (’96 Painting) of the Kansas City Art Institute. The exhibition features two new large-scale paintings.

The second exhibit Revolutionary Awakening features the work of Sonie Joi Thompson-Ruffin with Glenn North, poet, & filmmaker, Rodney M. Thompson.

Read more



The Sherry Leedy Gallery Summer Invitational

The Sherry Leedy Contemporary Gallery in Kansas City has assembled an impressive group of artists to display work at the 2017 Summer Invitational, on view now through August 19. Marcus Cain (’98 Painting), Ky Anderson (’95 Fiber) and Mike Lyon (’75 Painting) are all exhibiting.  Other artists are Michiko Itatani, Jane Booth, Patty Carroll, Laura Fayer, Rain Harris, Jun Kaneko, Molly Herman, Carol Stewart, Damon Freed, Curt Hoard, and Ethan Meyer.

Read more


 Nick Cave "Until" Exhibition 

Nick Cave’s Until on Display at MassMoCA

Nick Cave’s (’82 Fiber) newest exhibition at MASS MoCA Until is a visual response to the epidemic of gun violence that is too big and bright to ignore. The installation, which sprawls over a massive hall, is a series of environments made up of vast array of found tchotchkes ranging from lawn jockeys to crystals to a faux garden bedazzled with wind spinners and thousands of ceramic birds, fruits and other images.

Read more


Alumna’s Creativity Showcased in Local Fashion Contest

Maret Cissner (‘13 Ceramics) regional coordinator for admissions at KCAI, had her work displayed at Oak Park Mall as part of a contest promoting Kansas City Fashion Week. She was one of five designers who participated in the inaugural Make It Yours Designer Challenge a weekly themed fashion contest going on through June. Along with the opportunity to win weekly challenge prizes, the top designer will earn a contest grand prize that includes a spot in Kansas City Fashion Week’s fall show.

See more Alumni Exhibits



051217_cj_issac_logsdonKCAI Senior Travels the Lewis & Clark Trail

Thanks to a grant from the National Council for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), Isaac Logsdon (Senior, Ceramics) is taking to the Lewis and Clark trail this summer.  Along the way, he’ll install four large terra-cotta tiles that look like historical markers but have an artistic twist.

Read more


New Library features James Woodfill’s Stylized Carts

Assistant Painting Professor James Woodfill has partnered with Stephen Lichty for a public art display at the Monticello Library in Johnson County. Their stylized library carts and glass meeting room walls are part of project sponsored by the Public Art Commission. The library will be completed in mid-2018.