December 14, 2021

KCAI Appoints Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar to be the next Nerman Family President

Following a unanimous vote by the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) Board of Trustees, Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, Acting Director of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design, was named the 25th President of Kansas City Art Institute and will begin her term July 1, 2022.

A proven administrator, educator, and thought leader, Ruki was selected following a seven-month national search by the firm Isaacson Miller. KCAI’s Presidential Search Committee was led by Trustees and Co-Chairs Herb Kohn and Laura Flanigan, who organized a diverse committee of 18 trustees, faculty, staff and alumni committed to finding the best leader for the college. Ruki will succeed Nerman Family President Tony Jones, who will retire on June, 30 2022.

Ruki currently manages more than 100 full-time employees and a collection of 215,000 designobjects spanning 31 centuries. She has previously served as the Director of Education for Cooper Hewitt, Associate Provost of Education and Access and the Acting Under Secretary for Education at the Smithsonian Institution. She led the Smithsonian’s response to the nation’s distance learning needs with a pan-institutional team. Prior to that, she worked extensively in  higher education at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma where she advanced from professor in graphic design to director of graduate programs and associate dean of the College of Arts & Design. Ruki is also an award-winning graphic designer.

“Ruki brings a tremendous amount of experience to the college,” said Sue Nerman, chair of the board of trustees. “She embodies a creative resiliency and dynamic spirit that is the essence of KCAI. Her innovative approach to learning and teaching, strong leadership skills, and commitment to community partnerships is exactly what KCAI needs to lead us into the next chapter.”

Following her appointment, Ruki said, “I am so elated to be a part of the KCAI community. The commitment of KCAI’s faculty, staff and board of trustees to nourish the bold ambitions of students to tackle the complex challenges of the world is inspiring. I am honored to take on the role that bears the Nerman family name and lead KCAI into its next phase of evolution.”

Originally from Chennai, India, she received her MFA in graphic design from Iowa State University and BFA in the history of fine art and drawing and painting from the Stella Maris College in India. Ruki also has an executive education certificate in business from Yale University and a certificate in museum studies from Northwestern University. She is married to Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, president of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Ruki has held multiple leadership roles at American Institute of Graphic Arts and was named an AIGA Fellow in 2015 by the Oklahoma Chapter. She has won numerous awards and recognitions including the prestigious 2021 Design Achievement Award from Iowa State College of Design.

Enthusiasm for this appointment was felt throughout the Board, and described by Chair Sue Nerman, who stated, “On behalf of the KCAI community, I want to take this opportunity to both welcome Ruki to Kansas City and thank retiring President Jones. For seven years, Tony has worked tirelessly as a champion for this college and led a complete transformation of the campus. Thanks to his efforts, the school is poised for great things ahead.”

January 26, 2022

Welcome Back, Students!

Here we go again!  This isn’t the way that we hoped to start the new year, but the highly contagious Omicron is bringing new challenges to our campus community. With precautions in place, we’re starting the semester cautiously optimistic. Our COVID protocols have been designed with one goal in mind – keeping our campus community safe.  Some of the spring 2022 guidelines include: Masks are required indoors on campus. Each student was given a K95 mask at the beginning of the semester.  KCAI strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated and boosted.  We will continue to offer free vaccine and booster clinics for our community.  Review all the current Covid protocols at Our current plan is to host two in-person graduation — one for 2022 graduates and another for the 2020 and 2021 graduates who weren’t able to graduate in person, due to the pandemic.  Both ceremonies will be on Saturday, May 14 and more details will be shared soon.  We know this hasn’t been easy, and we thank you for your diligence and patience. With your help, we’ve been able to navigate this ongoing , ever changing pandemic. We’ll continue to meet regularly with the  Kansas City. Missouri Health read more…

January 26, 2022

Join us on June 4 for Art & Design Auction

Art & Design Auction June 4, 2022 Visit the Event Page Fabulous art, festive food & drink, inspired entertainment, and the iconic KCAI campus will set the stage for the Art & Design Auction on June 4, 2022. Julia Irene Kaufman will serve as Honorary Chair while Meyer and Mindy Sosland are Co-Chairs of this signature fundraising event. Attendees will browse and bid on hundreds of live and silent auction items donated by faculty, alumni, and friends of KCAI. Through an exciting collaboration with A. Zahner, 15 student designs will be selected through a competition to have their concept turned into reality and auctioned that night. ADA also features a “Marketplace” shop featuring handcrafted jewelry, art, textiles, and ceramics available for purchase. And it’s all for a good cause!   “We are honored to serve as this year’s Art & Design Auction event chairs for this biennial tradition, which raises funds for student scholarships. The incredible work generously donated by KCAI alumni, faculty, staff, and friends represents some of the best artists in Kansas City. Along with Honorary Chair Julia Irene Kauffman, we can’t wait to welcome you to the KCAI campus for this special evening,” said Meyer and Mindy Sosland, read more…