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 is an artist, Professor and Co-chair of the Painting Department at the Kansas City Art Institute who explores native plants, motherhood, and the act of cultivation in the context of ecological crisis  n mixed media studio artwork and community based painting projects. She creates public facing artwork in her Flowers For Marlborough Project that confronts neighborhood blight by sharing the beauty and function of native plants through large scale painting, free workshops, and giving away free native plant seedlings to the Marlborough community. Her oil paintings on panel, including her new Wildflower Revolution series that explores the intricate forms of the native plants of the Midwest, are represented by Zg Gallery in Chicago. Julie Farstad was born and raised in Elmira, New York. She earned her BFA in Painting at the University of Notre Dame and her MFA in Painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband and two sons.



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.