Developing a visual language

At KCAI, we develop artists whose bold and unfettered ideas dictate their materials, rather than creators who are defined by one chosen medium. Experimentation and risk-taking are encouraged, and you’ll participate in a high level of critical discourse.

We teach essential traditions, materials and methods. You’ll also have the opportunity to work within a wide range of visual media, from academic figuration to performance, video and installation. We don’t expect you to produce work within a specific style or genre. Instead, you are free to create your own lineage, adding your voice to a rich continuum.

Ultimately, you’ll cultivate a visual language based on your personal style and process – one that is enriched by a wide exploration of ideas, giving more depth and meaning to every stroke.

Full-time Faculty

James Woodfill

Professor & Co-Chair

James Woodfill has lived and worked in Kansas City since his graduation in 1980 from the Kansas City Art Institute. An interdisciplinary artist, his work is focused on direct experience through the composition of objects, occurrences and site. His artworks regularly blur boundaries in their execution, with installations and individual works bridging the fields of sculpture, painting and public art. His work in the public realm has extended into education and curatorial projects, writings and numerous urban planning projects and studies. Woodfill’s studio work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums, and his public works has been widely recognized, including numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects and Americans for the Arts/Public Art Network.


Corey Antis

Associate Professor

Corey Antis joined the KCAI faculty in 2010. His current work focuses on exploring the experience of space, architecture and time through paintings and objects. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including juried shows in New York City, Philadelphia, the United Kingdom and solo exhibitions of his work at the Booster and Seven Gallery in Chicago and the Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia. His group shows have included exhibitions at some of the most respected galleries and museums in the country. Corey received a B.F.A. degree in painting and a B.A. degree in English from Cornell University in 2003, as well as an M.F.A. degree in painting from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in 2007. Previously, he taught at the Tyler School of Art and Moore College of Art in Philadelphia.


Jonah Criswell

Associate Professor

Jonah Criswell graduated from KCAI in 2005 with a B.F.A. degree in painting. In 2008, he completed an M.F.A. degree in painting at Pennsylvania State University. He has exhibited in Kansas City, St. Louis, New York and Berlin. His current work focuses on the relationship between film, history and cultural psychological narratives.


Santiago Cucullu

William T. Kemper Visiting Artist Professor

Argentinean born Santiago Cucullu creates multi-media works, including spatiallyunified installations, wall-sized murals, sculptures and vibrant paintings on paper, soundscapes with the Ching Suru Radio Hour and video works. Cucullu emphasizes the subtleties of intuitive pacing and spatial orientation by creating works using a duality of materials and appropriation to trigger memories and experiences that we may encounter as rarified moments.

A Milwaukee resident, he has exhibited at a number of institutions including the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; The Whitney Museum, New York; MOMA, New York, The Walker Art Center; and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles among others.

Julie Farstad

Professor & Co-Chair

Julie Farstad joined the KCAI painting faculty in 2005, and she is primarily a painter who also works in photography, installation, watercolor, drawing and etching, as well as in collaboration with modern dance as an artist and set designer. Julie has exhibited her work nationally, most notably, in several solo exhibitions, including at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, and Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago. She received a B.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Notre Dame and an M.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating summa cum laude from both institutions. As a graduate student, Julie was named to the Incomplete List of Excellent Teachers and was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award.


Jessie Fisher


Jessie Fisher joined the KCAI painting department in 2005. She is a figurative painter influenced by the paintings and sculptures of the central Italian Renaissance, teaching life painting, drawing and sculpture and working with students in the United States, Italy and China. She received her BFA from the University of Minnesota and her MFA with a minor in printmaking, from the University of Iowa and has studied at the Scoula Internationale della Grafica in Venice, Italy and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She has been a visiting artist and artist-in-residence at the Visual Arts and Design Academy, Santa Barbara, CA, the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, the International School of Painting in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy and Studio Art College International in Florence, Italy. She is a recipient of the Ohio Young Painters Prize and a founding member of Studio Nong, an international sculpture collective and residency program based in southern China. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Minneapolis, Iowa, Ohio, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Italy and China. She is a visiting critic in the Painting Department at the GuangXi Arts Institute, Nanning City, China and an associate artist with Studio Balma, currently working in Terni, Italy, on a multi-year boun fresco project. Fisher lives and works in Kansas City, MO with the painter Scott Seebart and their son Valentine.


Once you declare your major, painting students take the following core courses as they progress from sophomore to senior year. For additional electives and liberal arts courses, download the complete Course Catalog.

Painting Major Requirements

Double Major Art History & Painting Requirements

Double Major Creative Writing & Painting Requirements

Student Work




Like What You See?

For additional examples of student-produced work that displays a wider range of styles, technique and subject matter, browse our expanded photo gallery.

View More Work

Professional Practice

Professional practice is a compulsory component of the KCAI program in which students benefit enormously from insights provided by world-renowned visiting artists, scholars and professionals.