Professional Practice


Each major at KCAI has a dedicated three-credit hour professional practice course offered during the junior or senior year. This course is taught by qualified professionals from the specific discipline, and it is designed to give students the information they need to successfully enter their chosen career path upon graduation. Professional practice topics include how to prepare job search materials, including a resume and artist statement, how to seek freelance opportunities, how to work with a gallery, and how to propose an exhibition or collaborative project. Students learn about residencies and graduate schools and practice their written and oral communication skills by writing proposals and applications and preparing presentations. In addition, students have the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and financial matters for the artist and designer. This required course is complemented by workshops offered by Career Services.

Career Service Programming

Career services offers departmental programming, as well as all-campus programming and a “Life After KCAI” series for seniors and first year graduates. Common programming topics include:

What to Know About Taxes & the Arts with Dean Vivian
Description | This workshop geared to all students addresses the tough questions about taxes and the arts. Do you know what you can write off on your taxes? How about what expenses you need to be documenting? Dean Vivian, the tax guru to Kansas City artists, is here to answer all your questions.

The Artist Statement
Description | This presentation explores different writing exercises to develop your artist statement. We will explore a multitude of writing voices and writing styles that can best describe your art, process, and inspiration.

Approaching a Gallery/Exhibition Proposal
Description | This presentation focuses on the essentials for writing a good, standout exhibition proposal. Professionalism and clarity will be the primary focus, as well as how to create impactful visuals for your application. We will also talk about the basics of a press release and you will be given a KC Regional Media Contact list to use.

Knowing Your Money with Allison Becker
Description | This workshop is for students that want to learn more about the basics of finance, their credit, a loan, interest, and thinking about the future of their finances. We invite a financial specialist to come in to speak with you about your personal budget, saving, and the basics of interest and loans. The more you know about your money, the more inclined you are to succeed in the present and in the future.

Resumé and Cover Letter Workshop
Description | This workshop invites students from all majors to begin, edit and revamp their résumé. We will also go over the basic formatting of the cover letter and how it can translate into the introductory email. This workshop will help you to get your résumé to the top of the stack of applicants.

Speak Up: The Art of Getting Your Point Across Workshop
Description | The public speaking workshop helps students find their voice, calm their nerves, and stay focused when speaking in front of a crowd or talking about their art in a critique. This workshop is for students of all levels and areas of study.

Freelancing 101
Description | This presentation will give you everything you need to know or consider when it comes to freelancing. We will cover drafting a contract, working with a client, marketing your services, and tips on how to be professional and lucrative in the freelancing industry.

Contracts to Copyright | Ask an Attorney with Danielle Merrick of the KCVLAA
Description | Ever have an issue with drafting a freelance contract? Did you spot a clothing company using the exact same design as you? See someone illegally using your copy-written image? Bring all your questions to Danielle Merrick of the Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts. 

Building Your Community
Description | This presentation addresses the deficits in the Kansas City art community, how to build up the community, and the basics of starting an artist space or organization. We will explore the history of the Kansas City art scene and where the scene is going. This presentation is for those that want to make positive changes to the KC art community.



Time Management and Post Grad Prep (for current Seniors)
Description | Seniors will gain the basics of time management for their last year at KCAI. We will go over a shared timeline of what professional development milestones should be reached and when throughout the academic year. We will review general deadlines for grad school applications, residency applications, etc.

Resumé and Cover Letter Writing
Description | Seniors and recent grads will level up on their resume and cover letter writing skills. This workshop is designed to make the best resume and cover letter in your KCAI career. We will get your professional materials up to par in preparation for your various applications.

Money Management with Allison Becker
Description | Seniors and recent grads will gain expert knowledge on getting their finances in order for post-grad. Allison Becker, our Financial Guru, will discuss student loans, loan interest, and budgeting after college.

Getting the Job, Exhibition, and Residency
Description | Seniors and recent grads will learn how to actively pursue opportunities. With an understanding that sometimes opportunities come through ‘dumb luck’, but most of the time, opportunities come from the pursuit coupled with plugging into your homebased and network. We will explore ways to get your application to the top of the list and the top of the pile.

Public Speaking and Networking
Description | Seniors and recent grads will fine tune their speaking and presenting skills. We examine possible instances where they will use their public speaking skills and how best to appropriately address their audience. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to expand their network and how to be an artist ally in their community.

Life After KCAI Panel Discussion
Description | Career services invites four grads of KCAI, a second-year grad, a graduate five to ten years out, a graduate ten to 15 years out, and a VIP super grad. Students and recent grads will be able to ask the panelists questions about their careers, about obstacles and accolades since graduating, and gain insight on what life after KCAI is like.

Proposal Writing for the BFA Show (Featuring the H&R Block ArtSpace Staff)
Description | This presentation is for current seniors who anticipate needing special considerations for their BFA piece at the Artspace’s BFA exhibition. Students working in 3-d or needing special audio visual considerations are encouraged to attend this presentation to gain insight on writing a cohesive proposal for their piece.