Summer Programs

We offer summer programs to high school students, educators, visiting students, and community members by giving them access to the faculty and resources of KCAI through residencies, workshops, and classes. Whether you want to learn a new skill to teach your students, want to know what it is like to be an art student, or are interested in KCAI’s courses for the community, we have a program for you.



High School Students

Pre-College ArtLab (PCAL)

July 16-28, 2023

Every summer, high school students from across the country attend the Pre-College ArtLab to experience life as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. Students work alongside accomplished faculty to expand their creativity technically and conceptually.

In addition to their chosen studios, all students will participate in sessions in other areas, including art history and life drawing. Weekends are devoted to introducing students to workshops exploring a variety of disciplines and the local Kansas City arts scene. Studio options for 2023 are Animation, Illustration, Painting, and Product Design.

Students who successfully complete PCAL will be eligible for an annual $1,500 scholarship upon enrollment in KCAI’s degree program. This $1,500 scholarship is in addition to the KCAI merit scholarship and financial aid for which a student may qualify.

Residency Cost: $2,500 includes three college credits, housing, meals and supplies.

Applications are due by March 1 for scholarship consideration and priority studio placement. Applications are accepted until the program is full. Please contact us at 816.802.3335 or with questions.


In this studio, students will explore the processes of motion-based narrative and storytelling.  Participants will build an understanding of stop-motion and experimental animation processes through faculty-led demonstrations, self-guided exercises and faculty feedback. This studio is great for anyone interested in bringing their characters and ideas to life through the art of animation. Participants will work in a collaborative college animation studio and be inspired by their peers.  


In this studio, students will learn how to communicate various types of narratives through illustration. Participants will investigate how to express their ideas through text, image, and character using a variety of materials and processes. This studio is great for anyone interested in developing a strong visual and narrative language, and creating a studious drawing practice. Students will work in a community illustration studio rich with feedback and encouragement from instructors and peers.


In this studio, students will experience painting through a wide range of perspectives. Participants will learn about historical and contemporary practitioners, processes, and approaches. Through self-guided exercises and one-on-one feedback, students will build knowledge of tool handling, paint application and increase visual acuity through observational studies. This studio is great for anyone interested in exploring compositional strategies, color theory, and communication through the painted image. Each student will have an individual studio space where they will work and build community with their peers.  

Product Design

Product design is the art of creatively designing functional objects and environments. In this studio, participants will explore creativity, invention and new ways of making products that improve peoples’ lives. Students will learn how to conceptualize and build three-dimensional prototypes, using hand-skills and cutting-edge digital tools like virtual reality and 3D printing. This studio is great for anyone interested in exploring design, sculpture, architecture, virtual reality, or any type of public art. Students will work in a design studio and be guided by a professional product designer with a rich background in both art and design.


Art Educators

Educators ArtLab (EAL)

July 9-14, 2023

While spending one week dedicated to making art, educators will network with peers from around the country, have an opportunity for special tours of Kansas City’s galleries and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and learn first-hand about the Kansas City Art Institute.

Studio options for 2023 are Fiber, Mixed Media, Painting, and Printmaking.

EAL Pre-Session: The Art of Kansas City

We invite you to join us on Saturday, July 8th for a special pre-session for art educators. After an optional breakfast, participants will join KCAI’s Art History faculty for special tours of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art collection. We will have a catered lunch on KCAI’s campus with faculty to connect and share information related to education in the arts and meet in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District for gallery tours, including the renowned Belger Arts Center. Participants will be on their own for dinner, and KCAI staff will provide recommendations. $150, includes optional housing on Friday & Saturday nights, as well as breakfast and lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the Crossroads Arts District.

Residency Cost: $425 fee includes campus housing and meals. An additional $275 is required for residents wishing to receive two graduate-level credits for their work in the program.

Applications submitted before March 1 will be considered for a program scholarship and priority studio placement.

Please contact us at 816.802.3335 or with questions.


Fiber/Textile Construction: Weaving
Instructor: Pauline Verbeek, Professor and Chair of Fiber
$50 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)

This course has been specifically designed for educators and presents a unique opportunity for those interested in exploring the principles and potential of loom woven form. Basic weave structures as well as fundamentals of more complex patterning will be explained. A wide variety of materials traditionally used in weaving as well as options for the use of non-traditional linear elements will be covered. Participants will be encouraged to consider functional applications of woven cloth as well as non-functional approaches to woven form. Emphasis in this course will be on exploring ideas in weaving that could inform each participant’s personal artistic studio practice as well as suggesting ways of introducing and integrating the concept of weaving into the classroom. All students have access to 8-Harness floor looms in a well-equipped studio.

Mixed Media

Curiouser & Curiouser: Theatre of Imagination
Instructor: David Terrill, Professor in Illustration
$30 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)
Inspired by cabinets of curiosities, this assemblage-based workshop will explore mixed media to create unique Theatres of Imagination. Curious participants are encouraged to engage in playful exploration using diverse art materials; found 3-D objects, collaging ephemera material, drawings, and paintings. The work is assembled in the provided wooden box, acting as the theatre, showcasing the interdisciplinary work. Brief morning inspirational presentations get ideas flowing. Participants will choose their ideas and theme(s) to explore. Technique demos will find their way into the workshop as the ideas and themes emerge.


Drawing Refresh
Instructor: Julie Farstad, Professor and Co-Chair of Painting
$25 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)
In this course, we will be reconsidering the basic elements of drawing through a focus on plants. In the morning sessions, the class will work from formal prompts drawn from the elements of drawing, such as line, shape, color, and value, while using an installation of plants for visual reference. In the afternoon, following a lecture and/or group discussion, each artist will work independently in their studio space, expanding their use of material and thinking about different conceptual prompts, such as metaphor, interaction, and context. As the students work independently, the instructor will meet with each student to discuss their work. We will use dry and wet drawing mediums on different kinds of paper to revive our drawing practices. Students can work abstractly or representationally throughout the class.


Hand Pulled Prints: To Digital and Back
Instructor: Miguel Rivera, Associate Professor and Chair of Printmaking
$50 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)
Students throughout the week will explore the use of laser cut plates, hand drawing and print layering approaches as initial states to compare the possibilities of different media. These works will be later digitized (photographed) and will be printed using laser toner prints, altered chemically to be printed in a similar fashion as lithographs (Gum Roll Up Transfer), and direct transfers from laser prints to archival paper. The end products will be a series of intervened drawings with digital tools and a series of traditional prints with manual and digital conception. Though participants will have the opportunity to learn basic tools in the fabrication lab such as plate laser cutting, instruction and guidance will be given in order to make these approaches feasible and accessible to any class with limited equipment and space.



Summer Intersession Courses

Visiting students and community members are welcome to take KCAI summer courses for credit. Course offerings, schedules, and tuition information may be found here.

View Summer Courses