President's Message

I bring you truly wonderful news! Following months of discussions and planning the college is overjoyed to announce that KCAI has received a gift of $10 million to build a new student residence hall on campus!

Today surely marks the beginning of a significant new chapter in the 132-year history of the Kansas City Art Institute. This visionary gift was made by an anonymous donor via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (GKCCF), to which we are deeply grateful. Thanks to this amazing generosity, we will design and build a state-of-the-art residence specifically for the contemporary student in art & design.

In June 2015 KCAI received a $25 million gift for our endowment, student scholarships, endowed faculty positions and campus improvements. We are humbled by this further outpouring of generosity and the confidence in KCAI that this gift demonstrates.  All of us at the college – the board, faculty, and staff – are inspired to do our best work and redouble our commitment to building a Center of Excellence for the students who come to study with us at KCAI.

News of the $10 million gift is the catalyst for a campaign to create the new residences, an elegant new dining hall, and substantial space for the academic program. It allows us to envision a bustling center for student life that will shape campus culture and provide a unique experience for all KCAI students.

As I consider the magnitude of this gift and what it will do for our students, campus, and community, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the anonymous donor, and our friends at GKCCF – mere words of thanks are inadequate. This is just the beginning; we have much work to do to turn our new residence hall dream into a real place – so we will be asking for the counsel and support of you, our friends, to help us build the future.

We will share more details as the plans develop, and I encourage you to visit us online at to follow our progress.


Alumni News

image1Join Us at the Next Alumni Gathering
The KCAI alumni office is headed to NCECA in Portland, Ore! Catch up with your fellow alums during our free gathering from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on March 23 at Reverend Nat’s Cidery and Taproom. RSVP at by March 15. For more info, contact

And just in case, you’re still deciding whether to head to the home of Portlandia, check out some trivia about this fabulous place to drink, eat, see and explore!

    From Nike to the open-air Portland Saturday Market to trendy boutiques, you’ll pay the price you see on the tag — and not a penny more.
    Portland is home to 70 breweries, more than any other city on the planet, and a full calendar of beer festivals.
    With more than 600 food carts, Portland has earned raves for having the world’s best street food.
    Many characters on “The Simpsons” were named after streets in Portland, creator Matt Groening’s hometown.
    Voodoo Doughnut offers up wacky creations — and legal wedding ceremonies — 24 hours a day.
    Join us at Future Flux and explore ways ceramic art and education will continue to matter.

Jack Perno Featured in MagazineJack Perno magazine2
The photography of Jack Perno (’00 photography) was featured in the winter issue of Art + Design magazine. The article titled Portrait Chemistry  – The Blurred Lines of Jack Perno, explored working with Polaroid, a vanishing medium.


Make 48 is back! June 15-17KCAI2.0
Make48 is back for another exhilarating live event this year at KCAI! Once again, the David T. Beals Studios for Art & Technology will be home to the competition.  Sixteen teams from 16 states will have 48 hours to plan, prototype, and pitch a new product idea within the event’s secret category (which will be revealed at the start of the 48 hours.) The three winning teams will get expert design and marketing support and Make48 will take their product to market! Apply here to compete

Last October Make48 hosted a competition at KCAI and our student team took home first place! You can see more about the competition on a television series airing his summer.


KCAI Fondly Remembers the First Female Chair, Board of TrusteesJeannette S Lee
Jeannette Lee, KCAI board of trustees member from 1971-1991, passed away on Jan. 28 at the age of 98. She was a pioneer for working women and during her six decades-long career at Hallmark, she divided her time between work and family. In 1961, Jeannette was named to the Hallmark board of directors, and she became the first female corporate officer when she was promoted to vice president and art director in 1967. In 1979, she became KCAI’s first female chair of the board of trustees.

There were many “firsts” during Jeannette’s career including that she was the first woman to wear a pantsuit at Hallmark. Back then, women wore pantyhose and skirts to work every day. She was nervous about wearing pants for the first time to a work meeting, so she let Don Hall Sr. know she was wearing pants. She said, “I’ll be wearing a navy pants suit.”  Don paused and then said, “And I’ll be wearing a navy pinstripe suit.” After that, women started wearing pants to work at Hallmark.

Thank you, Jeannette for your contributions to KCAI and trailblazing the path for all working women.


skyline1 hamburger marys 2HamBINGO for KCAI is March 15th
Join us from 7-9 p.m. on Wed. March 15 at Hamburger Mary’s for a fabulously fun night of bingo! Bingo cards are $10 each. All proceeds benefit student scholarships at KCAI. There will be plenty of prizes and everyone is invited to attend.



2017 Art in the Loop Project: Cue! Call for entries
The Art in the Loop Foundation in partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), KC Streetcar, and the Kansas City Public Library, is calling for Concepts for our 2017 Art in the Loop Project: Cue! Artists from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Art in the Loop is also collaborating with the City of Kansas City, Missouri to manage the Art in City Market Park project which will include 4 temporary art installations and 6 community performances throughout the summer. For more information on these opportunities, contact Jessica Borusky, curator,, or Ann Holliday, program director,

Student News

Isaac CarlosStudents to WatchGDUSA_portrait_isabellebrown-2
We’re so proud of Isaac Carlos (senior, graphic design) and Isabelle Brown (sophomore, graphic design) who were selected as two of GD USA Magazine’s “Students to Watch” in 2017. For five decades GD USA has been choosing a group of people to watch who embody the spirit of the creative community. GD USA Magazine.

Faculty News

“Rebel with a Cause” Misty Gamble featured in SpacesMistyGamble
Misty Gamble, foundations faculty member and sculptor, known for her social satire and feminist commentaries, was recognized for challenging convention in a recent article in Spaces.  Her latest exhibit Decades is showing now through April 1 at Leedy-Voulkos. Read more about Misty at