President's Message

KCAI Wins Two Architecture Awards!
We are tremendously honored to have received a Major Award of Excellence in Best Preservation Practices from Historic Kansas City, for our recent restoration of the 1895 Vanderslice Hall.  And, what an amazing coincidence – the very next evening, we were presented with a Kansas City Business Journal Capstone Award for the best new industrial building in the region for the David T. Beals III Studios for Art and Technology. These awards endorse our belief that we respect and preserve the past, and build the future.

Our magnificent Vanderslice Hall, which is listed on the National Historic Registry, underwent major renovations last year to the exterior of the mansion, led by Kirk Gastinger of KC architectural firm GastingerWalker&. Now we are going to restore the inside of this Queen Anne-style masterpiece, and are using archival photographs as a guide to bring back the south terrace as a functional social gathering place on campus. The restored terrace will provide beautiful views of the campus green and will be named in memory of Mildred Lane Kemper. New French doors will connect the Vanderslice reception rooms to the outdoor terrace to create a natural flow in and out of the two spaces.

The Beals Studios represent the best in functional industrial design. Located in the center of campus, this facility includes a digital fabrication studio and new sculpture facilities. It has become a truly collaborative space for students and faculty from all departments to share instruction and explore ideas. It was designed by Kansas City architect Dennis Strait of Gould Evans and built by McCownGordon.

For two successive nights, we celebrated the public reception of our buildings, and it’s fitting that this historic mansion and amazing modern structure sit right across from each other – a beautiful contrast of the old and the new.



Enrique_Martinez_CelayaFoundation Sponsors FATE Conference April
FATE members will gather as leading voices in fundamental art and design instruction at Beyond the Core, Biennial Conference April 6 – 8 in Kansas City. KCAI’s Foundation Department is sponsoring the event.

Enrique Martínez Celaya is the conference keynote speaker. Martínez Celaya is an artist and author who, along with training as a physicist, has developed a practice influenced by and in dialog with literature and philosophy. Martínez Celaya’s practice mines the complexities of personal artistic pursuits, and quickly moves past art and design disciplines to better understand one’s quest for meaning in the many reaches of life experiences. Learn more at


Student News

2017 BFA Opens at H&R Block Artspacekruger, marina
The H&R Block Artspace is pleased to present the 2017 Annual BFA Exhibition from April 8 – May 6. This invitational exhibition presents new work throughout the Artspace galleries created by 89 graduating seniors earning their bachelor of fine arts degree from KCAI.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, April 7 from 5 – 7 p.m. and the closing reception will be on Friday, May 5 from 5 – 7 p.m. In connection with the exhibition, curator Jennifer Baker will lead public gallery walks at noon on Fridays, April, 14, 21, and 28.  Co-presented with the department of liberal arts, a public program on Fri., May 5 at noon will feature art history and creative writing students reading from Compendium 2017, an anthology of their writings.

Public hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. To schedule a group visit or gallery talk with Artspace staff, call 816-802-3571. For more information about the Artspace and public programs, visit




prINTERPOLATION is April 7-26

The KCAI printmaking department exhibition takes place at Centric Projects in the Downtown Crossroads. This is the third time Centric Projects has hosted a group exhibition of current printmaking students from KCAI. The students are exhibiting new and recent work and will present a live printing event during the opening reception. Proceeds from the live printing event will be donated to the KCAI Print Club, a student-run organization that funds printmaking-related research projects and conference participation for KCAI students. (Read more)


Senior Filmmaking & Photography Spring ExhibitionLeech_Esther_Exposure04
Students are celebrating their upcoming graduation by having exhibits and installations all around Kansas City. See below for more information.
New Variables (Installation)
Secura Hatch (senior, filmmaking)
April 5
7 – 9 p.m.
Night Blooms, 529 Southwest Blvd

One Fifteenth
Esther Leech (senior, creative writing and photography)
April 7 & May 5 Opening Receptions
2016 Main Event Space, 2016 Main

Postsystematique Cybernetique
Cory Ferreira (senior, filmmaking) & Ryan Jaramillo (senior, photography)
April 7 Opening Reception
8 -10 p.m.
April 8 & 9
5 – 9 p.m.
Doc’s Caboose, 1400 Union Ave

Afro-Jamaican American
Imani Nixon (senior, photography)
April 7 Opening Reception
7 – 10 p.m.
April 16 Closing Reception
Front Space, 217 W 18th St

The Angel Project
Lucas Wagner (senior, photography and art history)
April 7 & 8
5 – 9 p.m.
Chequers Apts, 4235 Walnut St.

Dream Of Me (Performance)
Johana Garcia (senior, filmmaking)
April 15
10 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Location – TBA

Gala Bizarre & Her Final Decision (Joint Screening)
Denay Barnhizer (senior, filmmaking) & Hannah Novinger (senior, filmmaking)
April 23
2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Durwood Film Vault, Kansas City Public Library, 14 West 10th Street

Delta Phi (Screening)
Ayah Abdul-Rauf (senior, filmmaking and creative writing)
April 25
7 p.m. Theater 3
Alamo Drafthouse Theater, 1400 Main Street

Bloodshot Cartography
Kyle Souryasack (senior, filmmaking)
April 28, 29 & 30
5 – 9 p.m.
1422 St. Louis Ave.

Acid Reflux (screening)
Simon Williams (Senior, filmmaking)
May 4
7 p.m.
Tivoli Theater, 4050 Pennsylvania Ave

Take Care
Alaina Abplanalp (senior, photography)
May 5
Location TBA

End of Semester Sale is April 28-30SS36562_36562_35519685
Art lovers and art collectors don’t miss KCAI’s End-of-the Semester Exhibition and Sale, April 28-30. Find a treasure trove of original artwork and goods made by KCAI’s talented students in animation, ceramics, filmmaking, fiber, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, graphic design and sculpture. All proceeds benefit individual students and KCAI studios. Read more.


Faculty and Alumni News


KCAI Faculty and Alumni Named Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellows
Sculpture Professor Karen McCoy, Samara Umbral (’09 painting) and Stephen Proski (’10 painting and creative writing) have been named 2017 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellows. Each artist will receive an unrestricted cash award of $10,000. In addition, Samara is the recipient of the Byron C. Cohen Award, which provides her with funding to attend a leading international art fair of her choice.

The 2017 Charlotte Street Visual Artists are selected through competitive processes which began with an open call for applications from artists based in the five-county Kansas City Metro area. Artist selections are made by a panel of jurors consisting of renowned and qualified arts professionals. Jurors participated in in-person interviews, presentations, and studio visits resulting in the selection of ten finalists for the Generative Performing Artists Awards and ten finalists for the Visual Artist Awards. Read more

creativpaper-issue-twoRebecca Miller Published in CreativPaper Magazine
A recent interview with Assistant Professor of Art History Rebecca Miller (’93 photography) in CreativPaper magazine, explores her creative processes and why she prefers film over digital photography. Read the interview here

Rebecca was recently promoted to Art, Art History and Arts Administration Chair at Drury University in Springfield, Mo.  She is also serving as the Gallery Director for the Pool Art Center Gallery and Drury on C-Street Gallery. KCAI alumni interested in applying for solo and group exhibitions can contact her at rmiller01@drury.

Paul Anthony Smith Featured in AlphasixtyPaul-Anderson-Smith
Brooklyn-based Paul Anthony Smith (’10 ceramics), ceramist, painter and photographer, has become internationally recognized for his use of picotage, originally a method for creating fabric designs that dates back to the 18th century France. Paul uses a ceramic needle to pick at the surface of his photographs, maiming an image until it shimmers. Read more in Alphasixty, the unconventional dossier by the Alpha Collection of hotels. Read more

unnamed-21Artwork by Howard Harris Chosen for National Juried Art Exhibition
Howard Harris, KCAI Trustee (’71 industrial design), has three pieces that were selected for this exhibition at Tomahawk Community Center in Overland Park, Kan. Trees in the Mist” 24”x20 was created using Mr. Harris’ patent pending, multilayered images printed directly on acrylic. Dimensionality, positive and negative space along with ever changing views highlight this process. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has published Mr. Harris’ application to patent this process. See more of Mr. Harris’ work at the exhibit, opening on April 7. Read more.


Wilbur Niewald Exhibit Opens April 7 at Haw Contemporaryunnamed
Two simultaneous exhibitions by KCAI Professor Emeritus of Painting, Wilbur Niewald (BFA ’49; MFA ’53 painting) will be opening Friday, April 7 at Haw Contemporary. A reception with the artist will be from 6-9 p.m.

Recent Paintings – The paintings of Wilbur Niewald have a deep and persistent connection to his lifetime home of Kansas City, and in a larger sense, to the history of painting itself. After developing a unique abstract language for his paintings in the fifties and sixties, Niewald began to paint in the representational style in 1970, and has continued exclusively in that vein in the decades since. His timeless still lifes, studio portraits, and landscapes are invariably executed through direct observation in an untiring endeavor to render familiar scenes with new clarity through repetition.

Works from the ‘50s and ‘60s showcases the early work of Niewald’s. In the ‘50s, he focused almost exclusively on the landscape, responding to basic forces and rhythms from his subjects. Creating gestural drawings with charcoal and crayon, he would return to the studio and use these drawings as source material for abstracted paintings in oil. He continued with this method in the ‘60s, but the work itself became more open and expansive, and the palette turned bright and primary in color. Read more.

Tiger Final 4x6 300dpi

Paintallica – Worst Show Ever Opens at Leedy-Voulko
Paintallica is a collaboration of artists, including Jay Schmidt (’74 sculpture) and former KCAI faculty member David Dunlap, who create improvised, site-conditioned installations incorporating drawing, painting, sculpture and more. The group’s project will culminate at the opening reception of their exhibition, Worst Show Yet, on April 7 during First Friday.

Paintallica’s installations emerge from a few days and nights of immense work, field research, discussion and play, and usually involve chainsaws, wood in many forms, drawing, paint, fire, a wide range of motor vehicles and occasionally neon. Their imagery and tools are remnants of the working-class, rural American roots of most of the members. Recent installations include Sensitivity Training and Double Vision Quest, which showcased intentionally confrontational and impulsive work. The raw and uncensored nature of Paintallica is integral to the mission of addressing sensitive, immediate and often taboo issues. Read more

Prairieside Outpost has First Open Call for Artist ResidenciesScreen Shot 2017-02-27 at 8.51.35 PM
Prairieside Outpost is a family-friendly artist retreat in Matfield Green, Kan. begun in 2014 by KCAI Professor Laura Berman and her husband Chris Akers. Prairieside Outpost is surrounded by the unique and majestic Flint Hills region and is short distance to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Prairieside Outpost hosts
two to four artists free of charge for a one-week residency each year. More information and application details can be found here: