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

Julie Farstad

Professor & 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.


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

Assistant 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.


Jessie Fisher


Jessie Fisher received her BFA from the University of Minnesota and her MFA with a minor in printmaking, from the University of Iowa. She has studied at the Scoula Internationale della Grafica in Venice, Italy, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and with Studio Balma, Minneapolis. Fisher has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Weisman Museum of Art, the Des Moines Art Center, the American Museum of Art, the Guilin Museum of Art in China, the Palazzo dei Cartelloni and Maidoff Center for the Arts in Florence, Italy and the International Center for the Arts in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy. Fisher has been an artist-in-residence at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, the Visual Arts and Design Academy in Santa Barbara, CA and the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy where she leads a KCAI summer program. Fisher is a recipient of the Ohio Young Painters Prize from Miami University and is a visiting critic at the International Center for the Arts. Curatorial projects include, the Dialoghi dell’Arte International Tour and the Disegno traveling exhibition series. Fisher is a member of the Studio Nong International Sculpture Collective and has been teaching sophomore painting, life drawing and sculpture classes at the Kansas City Art Institute since 2005.

S.E. Nash

Visiting Assistant Professor

S.E. Nash bases their art practice around the symbiotic relationship between humans and microbes. Nash collaborates with microbes to make edible fermented foods that are displayed within sculptures and installations. The sculptures correlate with vessels of food fermentation experiments, calling attention to the visual and gustatory field marks of the microbial world. Nash’s recent solo show titled They/ Them/ Their included a kimchi demonstration, community fermentation shelf, and closing tasting event.

Nash received an MFA from Yale University (2005) and a BFA from the University of Tennessee (2003). They have exhibited nationally and are the recipient of a Charlotte Street Foundation Studio Residency for the 2016-2017 year. Nash moved to Kansas City from New York City in 2016.


James Woodfill


James Woodfill is a 1980 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and has taught in a variety of capacities at KCAI since 1998. His work is primarily concentrated on installation art and has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the region. He has worked extensively in the public art realm along with privately commissioned outdoor sculptural installations in public spaces. Several of his pieces have received awards and recognition. In 2000 he served as Visiting Assistant Professor, Experimental Mixed Media, at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was a Charlotte Street Award winner in 2000, and in 2005, he was awarded a studio grant from Reviewfund.


Adjunct Faculty

Julia Cole


Julia Cole is an artist, an educator and a community strategist who lives and works in Kansas City. With a first career in science, she is part of a collaborative team that makes ecologically and community-oriented artwork for public spaces ( Julia also works with the Charlotte Street Foundation, running a program called Rocket Grants (, and teaches cross-disciplinary social practice classes at KCAI. Her work in community settings includes building creative partnerships around issues of affordable housing in Kansas City neighborhoods (, and cofounding a collaborative art and design agency to serve rising organizations and programs (

Lacey Dickerson



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

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.