May 24, 2022

Two festive ceremonies celebrate graduates

After two years of virtual commencement ceremonies, we celebrated our accomplished 2022 and 2020/2021 grads with two in-person ceremonies on May 14. As they move on to professional careers, graduate schools, fellowships, and studio practices, we can only imagine what the world has yet to see. 

Class of 2022
After inspiring words from Board Chair Sue Nerman, the graduates and their guests heard from Jedel Family Foundation Commencement speaker Randall Griffey, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts Eleanor Lim-Midyett, and student representative Aidan Powers (Painting and Creative Writing).  Family and friends cheered as 131 graduates walked across the stage at Unity Temple.

It was a pivotal moment for a class that experienced the unprecedented challenges of navigating most of their college experience during a pandemic. “Lots of people talk about the growth you experience without realizing that growth is rarely, if ever linear, or parabolic. Growth is a function of the way we interpret and respond to change, and there is no way to grasp that emotional experience. We can only gesture to its shadow…,” said Aidan Powers. 

The shared struggles of mask-wearing, remote learning, and endless Zoom presentations brought the class closer. “I doubt I’ll have memories as good as the ones I made here. Janet Jackson said it best. I don’t think nothin’ can compare,” said Aiden.

Class of 2020 and 2021
Forty alumni from the class of 2020 and 2021 and their families enjoyed a long-awaited in-person commencement “redo” at a festive ceremony in Epperson Auditorium. 

Nerman Family President Tony Jones shared stories about the wonderful and unpredictable nature of a creative career. “Keep an open mind, an open heart, and open hands and take the opportunities that are a great surprise, because you cannot predict  what will happen to you,” he said.

London Williams (’21 Painting) represented his class with a motivational talk about thriving in the spaces we create. “I invite you all to take your gifts and find special ways to embrace the world for its shadowed past and remarkable future,” he said.  

He went on to entertain the crowd with his passion, voguing. 

View the 2022 Commencement and 2020/2021 Ceremony. 

Commencement was dedicated to Professor Emeritus of Painting Wilbur Niewald, who recently passed away at 97. Wilbur had a lifelong relationship with the college and influenced generations of painting students.

August 8, 2022

KCAI Names Allison J. Puff Executive VP of Academic Affairs

Allison J. Puff has joined KCAI as Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. An accomplished academic and administrative leader, a professor of visual communications, and a lifelong artist, Puff joins the college after more than two decades at Farmingdale College in New York. Her most recent position was Academic Program Manager, where she created and revised academic programs and initiated community college admission agreements that helped to increase enrollment. Prior, she was Associate Provost, Associate Dean of Business, and Chair of the Department of Visual Communications. In her new role at KCAI, Puff will have primary leadership responsibilities for planning, implementing, and shepherding academic programs. She’ll execute strategic plans and create transformational initiatives to further strengthen academic excellence. “I have admired Allison’s career as a practitioner, educator, and leader and relied on her as a member of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Education Board. Her track record positions her to make an immediate and lasting impact on the college,” said Nerman Family President Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar. Puff has an AST from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, a BA in English and Communication Arts from Ursinus College, an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts, and read more…

June 21, 2022


Artwork by Sarah and Colin Walsh We’re showing off our beautiful campus and welcoming 300 visitors from throughout the globe next Wednesday and Thursday, June 29 and 30 for ICON11: The Illustration Conference. KCAI is a Platinum sponsor of the event. ICON workshops will be held in the Tony Jones Studios, Epperson Auditorium, William T. Kemper Painting Studios, and Printmaking in the East Building. The Painting Studios are the setting for an Education Symposium happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday and for coffee on Wednesday and Thursday from 7-8 a.m. Additional seminars are at the Nelson-Atkins Auditorium and other locations around town. The ICON11 Exhibition will be on display at Studios Inc July 1-29. One-third of the workshop presenters are KCAI faculty members including Illustration Lecturer Elizabeth Baddeley, Professor of Printmaking Laura Berman, Illustration/Printmaking Lecturer Michelle Dreher, Professor of Illustration John Ferry, Chair of Graphic Design Tyler Galloway, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Lisa Maione, Illustration Lecturer Dean Kube, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Adam Lucas, Illustration Lecturer Frank Norton, and Associate Professor of Illustration David Terrill. Assistant Professor of Illustration Hector Casanova is presenting at the Educational Symposium and 20 KCAI students are volunteering at the conference. Bravo read more…