KCAI GALLERY: Center for Contemporary Practice

Launched in 2016 in the Crossroads District and relocated to the Tony Jones Studios on the main campus, the KCAI Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice serves the mission of KCAI through collaborative, curriculum-based engagements with students, faculty, community and artists in residence. Our new campus gallery presents curatorial outcomes of these engagements that include exhibitions, screenings, lectures, readings, and conversations. This site and related programs hold space for critical thought, reflection, and dialog about current social issues and global challenges in our world.

The KCAI Gallery will continue to work closely with all departments and explore new community partnerships. Our prime location will help facilitate a collaborative, integrated space for KCAI students and offer the public a new destination nestled between the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the H&R Block Artspace.


Upcoming Exhibition

Meltionary: heat, encounter or another friction

November 11 – February 27

On an uneven digital terrain made of rocky forms that are pink: wooden and resin wedges (doorstops) sit in upright and tilted positions. Some of the wedges have been burned to have words on them and they read “IS THIS DOOR OPEN FOR …?”, “WHO IS NOT HERE”, and “IS IT SEPARATE”.


As MELT, Loren Britton and Isabel Paehr are arts-design researchers who work with the potentials of heat, encounter and friction to set in motion transformative material-discursive processes. Boiling up insights from chemistry, crip technoscience and trans*feminism, they play with the methods of queer play, unlearning and leaking. Their work crumbles structures, unbounds materials, dissolves technology and makes collectivities. MELT is exploring how to make something but to keep it open to change, and is doing this through formats like video artworks, experiments with access, websites and workshops. MELT has been influenced by (melting) Ice, Freezers, Software, Signal, moving too fast/slow, Disability Justice, Digital Materialism, Decolonial thinking, Gifs, Climate Protests, Anti-Racism and Dancing. 

Reserve a Viewing Time

The Meltionary

The Meltionary is a growing experimental directory that investigates different materials, metaphors and modes of melting. The term Meltionary is a linguistic play on the English word dictionary; based on dictionary entries, it consists of Meltries, each beginning with a letter. The Meltries are playful instructions to unnerve definitions, videos of melting processes, photo series of how materials witness change, reports on failure, experimental instructions for generating chemical reactions, circuits for DIY measuring devices, and theoretical-poetic texts.

During the Fall 2021 semester MELT is engaging with KCAI students and conducting a virtual artist-in-residence at KCAI. This is a project of the Center for Contemporary Practice program at the KCAI Gallery. Sean Nash is the faculty organizer with support from the following programs at KCAI: Social Practice, Product Design, Graphic Design and the Jannes Library.

Visitors Guide

KCAI Gallery is open to the public with free timed-entry tickets. To protect the well-being of visitors and the KCAI community, the Gallery will limit the number of guests.

Thursday | noon – 5 p.m.
Friday | noon – 5 p.m.
Saturday | noon – 5 p.m.
Sunday | noon – 5 p.m
Other days by appointment, email gallery@kcai.edu.
KCAI Gallery will be closed November 25-28.

Protect yourself and others: maintain a safe distance of 6’ between you and other guests, use the designated entrance and exit, and follow the designated path that leads you through the exhibition. The path through the galleries is marked with arrows.

For your safety and ours, KCAI requires all individuals on campus to wear a mask during their visits. Please wear your mask both inside and outside of campus buildings. If you find yourself without one, KCAI and the gallery have a limited supply for visitors.

Surfaces are sanitized throughout the day and hand sanitizer is available at the front desk.

You can email us at gallery@kcai.edu if you have questions or need to make special arrangements for your visit.

Public Online Programs
The KCAI Gallery is excited to engage artists and audiences in new ways through a series of online programs. Please register for these programs here!

Past Exhibitions