April 26, 2022

Zahner competition gives students valuable fabrication experience

Working with fabricators to execute an artistic vision is usually reserved for architects and artists with big budgets. Thanks to the Zahner Art Competition, 14 KCAI students are getting the chance to collaborate with the nationally renowned metal fabricator. The sculptures they’re creating will be auctioned at the Art & Design Auction on June 4th to benefit student scholarships.

“To be competitive and successful on the global stage, young artists need to learn how to work with fabricators. It’s an incredible real-world experience,” said Zahner Art Business Developer Sean Kelley.

In the first step of the competition, 20 students presented 3-D or sketched concepts for art that could be made from a 3’ X 3’ sheet of metal. A committee of seven, which included several Zahner employees who are KCAI alumni, interviewed students and chose 14 winning designs.

The students work with Zahner engineers to ensure their design fits production capabilities. The final product sometimes looks different than the original vision, but it’s a collaborative effort between the artist and Zahner.

“The Zahner competition gives me a chance to create work in a new way, and it is also an amazing opportunity for the future. I have many projects and ideas that I want to explore that are larger and include architecture, so this creates a personal connection to a company that has worked on some of the most advanced buildings in the country,” said Kobi Nolan (Junior, Painting).

Zahner has a long history of supporting KCAI. CEO Bill Zahner served on the Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2012 and was chair from 2010 to 2012. Zahner’s eclectic, show-stopping metalwork can be seen around the country on installations like the Bloomberg Center, NYC, Peterson Automotive Museum, LA, and the Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago, among others.

“It is an exciting opportunity to work with young artists at the onset of their careers.  It is also an enriching opportunity for my firm.  Here we have the interaction of our engineers and craftspeople with the creative minds of this amazing institute,” said CEO Bill Zahner.

This year’s Zahner competition winners are Evan Nadeau (Senior, Sculpture), Mary Margaret Sims (Senior, Ceramics), Jessica Barbosa (Junior, Sculpture), Warwick Laing (Junior, Ceramics), Zachary Comstock (Senior, Sculpture), Aleah Washington (Senior, Fiber), Andrea James (Senior, Graphic Design), Cole Vacek (Sophomore, Fiber), Randi Bachman (Senior/Ceramics), Loren Vladem (Junior, Ceramics), Rory Collins (Sophomore, Ceramics), Kobi Nolan (Junior, Painting), Miles Callahan (Junior, Sculpture), and Mariya Slipych (Junior, Sculpture). In addition to the professional development experience in fabrication, each student receives a $200 award.  You can see and bid on the Zahner student pieces at the Art & Design Auction on June 4th. , All proceeds benefit student scholarships. Tickets are $125.

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…