Sponsored Studio Program
Real-World Experience Sponsored By Local Businesses
We recognize the importance of providing students with real-world, hands-on experiences and enhanced training for successful careers.
Sponsored Studio creates partnerships with local businesses to provide unique educational experiences for students while also assisting business partners with a fresh approach to their research and development, creative communications, and business challenges.
Micro is a student design firm here at KCAI that provides freelance illustration and design work to our business partners through the Sponsored Studio program. Studio visits, production tours and off-site research are all important components that contribute to the success. Here are examples of student work produced through our Sponsored Studio and Community and Business Partnership Programs.
“"We are proud to be involved with educational endeavors like this that support the arts and the education of young people who we hope will someday join our industry."”Norm Young
President and CEO, Weld Racing,
Monarch Bar's Chandelier Project
When our friend and world-famous architect David Manica wanted to create a cocktail bar reminiscent of the great ones in London and Moscow, he turned to KCAI. He knew that the extraordinary creative talent of our students and the high-tech capabilities of the Beals Studios were the perfect combination to realize his vision of the chandelier. The shimmering chandelier made with over 1,000 acrylic butterflies is the first thing to catch your eye over the main bar. The butterflies were all laser cut and kiln formed, heated and melted to give them shape, then sand blasted and etched to catch the light. They were hung in columns on a grid to give the illusion of butterflies in flight. Specially-designed lighting changes the colors of the butterflies. The result is an exquisite, unique chandelier. This collaborative project is just one of many that our students are doing with the Kansas City business community through our Sponsored Studio program. This marvelous installation was designed and built by Studio Coordinator Nathan Neufeld and a team of students in our very own David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology. The Monarch Bar is on the Country Club Plaza at 4808 Roanoke in Kansas City.
Kansas City Streetcar Poster Design project
When you traveled down Main Street in downtown Kansas City last spring, you saw a colorful streetcar poster hanging at every stop along the new streetcar’s two-mile route. The commemorative streetcar poster was a partnership between the Streetcar Authority, KCAI’s Sponsored Studio and MICRO Agency, a KCAI class that functions as a design studio/advertising agency. Junior Madison Crabtree’s design, which features iconic KC landmarks like the Western Auto sign and Union Station, was chosen from six entries. “It’s my first real break as a student. I’ve never really had my work out there. It’s kind of surreal actually,” said Crabtree. You can purchase the poster online in the KC Streetcar shop here http://kcstreetcar.org/kc-streetcar-posters/
Children’s Mercy Hospital – Medical Illustration project
KCAI’s course on biomedical visualization is a three-credit-hour elective offered through the college’s illustration program and taught by Stan Fernald. Fernald (’94 industrial design), is a research associate at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Fernald said he is excited about the potential for linking KCAI with Kansas City’s burgeoning biotechnology sector.
Incorporated into the class was a Sponsored Studio project in partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospital, which contacted KCAI for help in visually interpreting medical research concepts for low-literacy and illiterate populations in the U.S. and abroad.
“The No. 1 goal of all medical illustration is to convey abstract technical concepts to a public that may not know very much about the topic,” Fernald said. “It’s exciting to work with students to produce solutions for real-world applications — communication that goes beyond language and cultural barriers.”
Fernald noted that the field widely known as “medical illustration” has evolved beyond just drawing from observation, although drawing is still important. Tools of today’s medical illustrator include animation, vector art and 3-D printing, among others. According to Fernald, the successful medical illustrator needs to be adept in a variety of disciplines: graphic design, photography and illustration, to name a few.
“KCAI has always had a nice mix of fine arts, applied arts and conceptual thinking,” Fernald said. “When I am working with someone from this kind of fine arts background, compared to someone who has only been technically trained, I find they produce a deeper, richer, more nuanced solution.”
Over the last three years, students have worked on various projects with Children’s Mercy Hospital, including creating visuals to break down cultural language barriers. As they look to the program’s future, the students are up to the challenge, according to Fernald.
Lead Bank - Public Art Project
The Lead Bank Community Art Wall is a rotating exhibit of artwork expanded to a large format for outdoor display in the bank’s parking lot. The artwork changes four times per year and features student work for different areas of the college. It is even featured at First Friday. Image of the Community Art Wall featuring the work of Gabbi Brandini, currently a senior in Illustration.
Image: Artwork courtesy of Gabbi Brandini, KCAI senior in Illustration.
Keepers of the Sandlot Book Illustration Project
“Donuts, Diamonds and Dreams” was a book illustration project with KCAI’s illustration majors and the Keepers of the Sandlot nonprofit organization. More than 35 illustrations were selected for this children’s book written by retired Major League Baseball player, Bill Severns. The book cover photo was created by Mackenzie Fulmer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW KCAI STUDENTS CAN BRING CREATIVITY TO YOUR BUSINESS CONTACT RWILLIAMS@KCAI.EDU OR 816-802-3527.