On May 6, Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, delivered a memorable keynote address at the 2017 KCAI commencement ceremony. Jane also received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from KCAI during graduation.

This was a homecoming for Jane, who has a deep connection to Kansas City and its arts community. From 2006 to 2014, she served as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing a $413-million campaign to build the center. She was a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1997 to 2002.

Jane has been an outstanding leader of the National Endowment for the Arts, widely respected for her thoughtfulness and advocacy of the arts as a daily enrichment to the lives of all Americans, of every age and background.  We were tremendously proud to welcome her back to Kansas City and to confer this recognition.

This year we also recognized our dear friend Marshall Miller, founder of Art of the Car Concours® with the Inaugural Distinguished Friend Award. He is a most deserving recipient, having raised more than $1.1 million for student scholarships through Art of the Car. The 10th and final Concours was held in June 2016 when 210 vintage, classic and special event vehicles were displayed on the campus green. Marshall and his family have been stalwart supporters of the college and we owe him a “mega-thanks” for making it possible for so many students to receive their education and pursue a life in the arts.

Please join me in thanking our esteemed speaker, Jane Chu and Marshall Miller for his tremendous service and congratulating the 2017 KCAI graduates!


Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 2.35.20 PMCaleb Bowman Partners with Zahner on a Sculpture for KCAI’s Art & Design Auction

Collaborating with A. Zahner Company, on an experiential sculpture for the Kansas City Art Institute’s Art  Design Auction on June 3, is an opportunity that Caleb Bowman ’99 Sculpture) couldn’t pass up.  That’s why he entered the Zahner Sculpture competition.  His design was chosen from a field of 22 entrees and four finalists.

“Working with Zahner was a chance to push my sculpture in ways I could never do by myself in the studio,” said Bowman

If you walked around the 10.6-foot-sculpture made of stainless steel rod, you’d discover it transcends its materials and looks different from all angles. It has already been purchased by a KCAI supporter and its next home will be poolside at a private residence.

The sculpture project demonstrates the generosity of A. Zahner, who donated time and materials and Bowman, who designed the sculpture. A. Zahner has collaborated on 10 sculptures for seven KCAI auctions. All the money raised at the auction goes toward student scholarships and programs at KCAI.

Bowman knows what it’s like to not be able to afford college. He says if it wasn’t for scholarships he received, he wouldn’t have been able to attend KCAI. “Giving back to the auction is my way of directly having an effect on students. I know that somewhere there is an 18-year-old farm kid making paintings in his basement, just like I was. A scholarship will give him or her the same opportunity it gave me.”

He added, “The Art & Design Auction is the best art show in Kansas City.  If you’re an artist and you’re not part of it, you’re missing a great opportunity.”

If you’re a collector, you won’t want to miss out on a chance to bid on more than 200 pieces of art donated by alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI. Pieces start at just $75 and go upwards of $25,000. Tickets are only $125.  Buy tickets


“Ghetto Potter” Featured on PBS show

Roberto Lugo (’12 Ceramics) is known for his hip-hop influenced pottery that explores themes of racism, obesity and contemporary politics.  He uses his experiences as a Latino growing up in drug-addled Philadelphia neighborhood as a starting point to re-envision the future. The self-proclaimed “Ghetto Potter” was recently featured on the PBS show Articulate.   Watch the video

1493914802594Gallucci Photos in New Documentary
A new documentary Horn from the Heart – The Paul Butterfield Story features nine photographs from Ed Gallucci (‘68 Graphic Design and Photography).  The film was an Official Selection at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival and had its world premiere on April 21st in Newport Beach. Calif. See the trailer


Carroll Patty2Don’t Miss KCAI’s Art & Design Auction on June 3

Kansas City Art Institute’s newest studios and The Rowland Commons will be the epicenter for a fabulous evening of awe-inspiring fine art and festive food and drink on Saturday, June 3 at the Art & Design Auction. Silent and live auctions will feature more than 200 pieces of original artwork donated by distinguished alumni, faculty and friends of KCAI. Proceeds benefit student scholarships.

Honorary Chairs Sue and Lewis Nerman and Event Chairs Abby and Alex Wendel are planning an evening perfect for friends who share a passion for supporting art and design education. Keith Jacobshagen (’65 design) is the Star Artist and one of his signature landscape paintings will be featured in the live auction. There will be a woodblock rubbing by John Buck, a flag by Peregrine Honig, a photograph by Patty Carroll and hundreds more pieces of amazing art. Artwork is valued from $75 to upwards of $25,000.

Cylinder_Into the Inferno 6.5x12x12 KCAI_01The silent auction, hosted by Paddle8, an international art auction site, will open May 19, allowing collectors a preview and opportunity to bid. The live auctioneer is Kansas City native Quig Bruning, vice president and specialist in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House.

Buy Tickets at


Fireside Auxiliary Donates $18,000 to KCAI

The Fireside Auxiliary presented a check to KCAI for $18,000 at their spring luncheon.  They also made a $1,000 donation in memory of long-time supporter and friend of KCAI Jerry Nerman.

Fireside has a long history with KCAI. In December 1932, during the great depression, the Fireside committee was formed after school leaders appealed to the community for support. Prominent woman from Kansas City responded and met around the fireside in Vanderslice Hall. They have been working on behalf of KCAI ever since.

Today, Fireside members enjoy programs year-round and host an annual event that raises significant support for both the Annual Fund and Fireside endowed scholarship. Pictured left to right: Betty Scherzinger, Shirley Hellman, Julia Sternberg, Joyce Middendorf and Pam Meeker.

Art Sofa Classes Start May 17

Grab a seat, get comfortable and enjoy a fun introduction to key artists, movement and ideas throughout art history at KCAI Art Sofa classes. Upcoming courses include: Medieval through Renaissance, Late Renaissance through Realism, and Craft and Contemporary Art. Sign up


Ferry_John_2 (1)John Ferry Exhibits at Manifest

Every year Manifest produces an exhibit of little works of art from around the world and this year Illustration Faculty Member John Ferry’s work will be a part of this exhibit.

Each iteration of the project brings in hundreds of powerful yet diminutive works no larger than seven inches in any dimension to a jury to consider. Inevitably Manifest ends up with a gallery full of diverse, compelling, and exquisite little gems. Manifest’s patrons eagerly await the Magnitude SEVEN event each year. This annual project is one of the most varied exhibits in their season



Misty Gamble presents workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

Foundation Faculty Member Misty Gamble wi250px-Arrowmont-parkway-entrance-tn1ll be conducting a workshop, Hollow Build the Self-Referential Bust, at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts this summer May 21-27th. There is still space available for students to register at

In the course, using one’s self as the source, students employ an interwoven combination of slab, coil and pinch to hollow-build a bust. Students with an interest in figuration, technique and surface mark-making will enhance their use of proportion as it relates to the figure.

Misty’s work from her recent retrospective, “Decade: Selected works from 2006-2016” at Leedy Voulkos Art Center was collected by three major museums: Crock Art Museum in Sacramento, CA; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, Mo; Racine Art Museum in Racine, WI; and a work for the Belger Collection. Misty received the Marin Community Foundation Fellowship to attend a fully funded residency at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT.

Jarrett Mellenbruch featured in Sculpture Magazine

Sculpture Faculty Member Jarrett Mellenbruch was featured in the May issue of Sculpture Magazine.  Jarrett’s work Haven features a series of pole-mounted Corian, steel and wood beehives designed to provide a safe environment for the endangered honeybee. Learn more


18199059_10154394639352021_51707471175341477_nTime McClendon at MLB Gallery

KCAI alumnus Time McClendon (’75 Sculpture) has an exhibit at MLB Designs & Boutique at 2020 Baltimore Ave. Kansas City, Mo. He creates inventive pieces by wrapping and weaving polished, tarnish-resistant silver wire, topped with Swarovski elements. His exhibition will remain on view at the gallery through the end of June. Read more

unnamedNarrative Atlas at Studios Inc.

What stories we keep, what memories we lose, and what happens next.

Gerry Trilling’s (’89 Painting) NARRATIVE ATLAS, May 12-June 16 at Studios, Inc, is an exhibition of constructed paintings, text and small drawings. “Narratives are built into maps; where and how you begin, where and why you want to go, how and by what means you get there. An atlas is a book of maps filled with stories. NARRATIVE ATLAS is a mainframe for my meditation on assimilation. What stories we keep, what memories we will lose, and what will happen next. The unknown is always rich territory for an artist.” Read more

50/50 Call for Exhibition Proposals

50/50 for the first time is accepting exhibition proposals. This announcement comes in conjunction with ATTACH FILES, 50/50’s first exhibition of the year inviting participants to submit 8.5×11″ images to print and have displayed in the gallery. The open call for exhibition proposals is not restrictive to geographic region or to age. 50/50’s staff will select one proposal for our August exhibition, which will open Friday, August 18th, 2017. Emphasis will be placed on submissions that exemplify 50/50’s mission.

See more exhibits

Student News

SubmissionSOI_AlisonPolstonIllustration Students Recognized by Society of Illustrators

Seven KCAI Illustration students were chosen for the Society of Illustrators Students Scholarship Exhibition in New York on May 9-June 3. Allason Lewis (senior, illustration), Alison Polston (recent graduate), Steven Bolds (senior, illustration), Shafer Brown (senior, illustration), Lauren Sider (senior, illustration), Coti Meier (senior, illustration) and Willow Hardman (sophomore, illustration) will have work in the exhibition and in a full color catalog.AllasonLewis_SOI

 A jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, have chosen their work as most outstanding works created throughout the year. 200 pieces were accepted based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used. The Society, as well as various other generous private and corporate donors, grant scholarships to the best students featured in the competition. Read more

Sarah Dean 1st Place copy

Three Students Win KCAI Tote-Bag Design Challenge

This past winter, the KCAI ArtStore, Design and Illustration departments and the Office of Alumni Relations partnered to host a KCAI gear design contest and invite all students to submit new design proposals for a series of limited edition KCAI totes. The tote-bags were offered through the ArtStore’s Shopify website for one month. A total of 14 students participated in the submission of 22 designs, which were received and made available for purchase. Each sale constituted a vote for that design during the month-long competition.

The winners were:

  • First place: Sarah Dean (junior, graphic design)
    Sarah will receive a cash award of $550 and a $250 KCAI Art Store gift card.
  • Second place: Grace Gittleman (foundation)
    Grace will receive a $300 cash award and $100 KCAI Art Store gift card.
  • Third Place: Rory Frazier (junior, illustration)
    Rory will receive a $150 cash award and a $50 KCAI Art Store gift card.

The three winning tote designs will also be offered for sale through the KCAI Art Store for up to one year.

Cash awards were provided by the graphic design and illustration departments, and KCAI’s Office of Alumni Relations, while the KCAI ArtStore provided the gift cards and facilitated the printing of the totes. The competition sold 99 totes, with 50-percent of each sale going to the KCAI Annual Fund to provide support for student services, financial assistance, campus technology and equipment.

IMG_6124Cary C. Goodman Graphic Design Project Awards 

Isaac Carlos (’17 graphic design) and Debbie Dixon (senior, graphic design), are recent recipients of the Cary C. Goodman Graphic Design Project Award.  With their award funds, the students will complete their senior thesis, explore new areas, mediums, or techniques of their practice and create something entirely new that they might not otherwise be able to do without these funds.  The fund was created in memory of Cary C. Goodman, a renowned Kansas City architect who had a passion for creativity in all forms. Pictured left to right: Kristin Goodman, Glenda Goodman, Isaac Carlos, Tyler Galloway and Debbie Dixon.