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 17-29, 2022

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.

During the two weeks, students study life drawing, plus their major studio. Weekends are devoted to introducing students to workshops exploring a variety of disciplines and the local Kansas City arts scene. Studio options for 2022 are Animation, Illustration, Painting and Sculpture.

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: $2,300 includes three college credits, housing, meals and supplies.

Due to a record-setting level of interest in the program, we currently have a waitlist. We encourage you to complete the inquiry form below, so we can reach out with a link to the application if space becomes available. Please contact us at (816) 802-3423 or with any questions. Thank you!


PCAL Course Descriptions

Animation – Students will explore the processes of motion-based storytelling using stop-motion and experimental animation.

Illustration – Students will investigate how to tell stories through text, image and character using a variety of materials.

Painting – Students will create multiple paintings, while utilizing both representational techniques and personal ideas.

Sculpture – Students will use a variety of materials to explore sculptural processes with a range of equipment, including the cutting-edge emerging technologies of KCAI’s fabrication laboratory, the Beals Studios for Art & Technology.

Art Educators

Educators ArtLab (EAL)

July 10-15, 2022

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 2022 are Ceramics, Illustration, Painting, and Printmaking.

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.

Apply by March 1st to ensure scholarship consideration. Applicants are accepted until the program is full.

Please contact us at (816) 802-3423 or with questions.

EAL Course Descriptions

Approachable Printmaking
Printmaking is a rewarding medium with endless possibilities for experimentation often leading to pleasantly surprising results. During this class, we focus on two different processes, linocut and silkscreen. First, you will learn carving techniques to create linocuts that can be printed by hand or by using an etching press. Then be introduced to the art of silkscreen printing while discovering how to break down what you draw into translatable graphic elements. Throughout this course, we will learn how to approach these processes in various ways to gain an understanding of how it can be applied to your studio practice as well as how to manipulate the two processes based on your own availability of materials and facilities.

$30 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)

Painting with Native Plants
In this era of mass extinction, native plants play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity on earth. Artists can help people connect with native plants by showing their dynamic beauty and material richness. In this course, we will make our own inks and watercolors from native plants we find on and near campus. Using these inks and watercolors, we will make works on paper that explore the ways we are individually inspired by these plants, their histories, functions, and forms. Every morning we will start several new batches of inks made from plants we find. Early in the week, we will visit the Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center to observe and photograph the range of native plants from this ecoregion. We will look at how other artists make and use natural inks, as well as how they reference plants in their work. Each student will explore the aspects of native plants that interest them while responding to material and conceptual prompts from the instructor.

$25 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)

Expansive Ceramics
The focus of this workshop will be to explore basic ceramic skills and simple ways to expand them into larger projects. Our week will start with wheel throwing. We will learn to alter forms through stacking, shaping, and combining. Our approach to hand-building will take the same attitude – how can a simple approach be built upon over several short class periods? We will decorate using underglaze techniques, including paper resist, monoprinting, and layering.
$45 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)

Illustration: The Six-Word Memoir
Illustration plays a vital role in narrating the editorial of newspapers and magazines, book covers, graphic novels, advertising, and other forms of media or written communication. Illustrators create imagery that provides a visual indicator of what is being communicated from the written word. In this course, we will use a variety of conventional materials to execute thumb-nail ideas, final sketches and a final execution of an illustration that solves the assignment prompt, a six-word memoir. Each student will explore the aspects of illustrating their ideas for a client, to material and conceptual feedback from the instructor who will act as an Art Director.

$30 supply fee (students will be provided a list of additional personal supplies to bring)

EAL Pre-Session: The Art of Kansas City
We invite you to join us on Saturday, July 9th for a special pre-session for art educators. After an optional breakfast, we will join KCAI’s Art History faculty, Rebecca Dubay, The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History; Jan Kennedy, Associate Professor & Program Head of the Asian Studies Certificate Program; and Loren Whittaker, Lecturer in Art History, for three 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. We will be on our 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.

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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