Kansas City Art Institute
The campus green
|Type||Private, independent, four-year college|
|Affiliation||National Association of Schools of Art and Design|
|Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design|
|Students||678 (Fall 2017)|
The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is a private, independent, four-year college of fine arts and design founded in 1885 in Kansas City, Missouri. The college is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. It has approximately 75 faculty members and 700 students. KCAI offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, in which students undertake a comprehensive liberal arts program with a studio major in animation, art history, ceramics, creative writing, digital filmmaking, fiber arts, graphic design, illustration, interactive art, painting, photography, printmaking, product design, or sculpture. KCAI offers a minor in Art and Design Entrepreneurship, a collaborative program with University of Missouri – Kansas City Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The school started in 1885 when art enthusiasts formed the "Sketch Club" with the purpose of "talking over art matters in general and to judge pictures." Meetings were originally in private homes and then moved to the Deardorf Building at 11th and Main in downtown Kansas City. The club had its first exhibition in 1887 and 12 benefactors stepped forward to form the Kansas City Art Association and School of Design.
In 1927 Howard Vanderslice purchased the August R. Meyer residence, a Germanic castle entitled Marburg and its 8-acre (3.24 ha) estate at 44th and Warwick Boulevard adjacent to the planned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. A Wight and Wight addition was added to the building. The residence was later renamed "Vanderslice Hall" and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with another building on the campus—Mineral Hall. The campus has since expanded to 15 acres (6.07 ha).
In 1935 painter Thomas Hart Benton left New York City to teach at the school. Among the artists Benton influenced as a teacher at KCAI were Frederic James, Margot Peet, Jackson Lee Nesbitt, Roger Medearis, Glenn Gant, and Delmer J. Yoakum. Though Benton brought attention to the Art Institute, he was dismissed in 1941 after making disparaging references to, as he claimed, the excessive influence of homosexuals in the art world.
In 1992 the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened on the west side of the campus. On the occasion of its 130th anniversary in 2015, the Kansas City Art Institute received an anonymous donation of $25 million, one of the largest gifts ever to an American art school. The money will be used to bolster the school's general endowment, improve and renovate its campus adjacent to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and, in the form of a challenge grant of $6 million, sharply increase the number of scholarships the school is able to give out.
- Thomas Hart Benton – Leader of Regionalist art movement; KCAI teacher, 1935–1941
- Harold Bruder – Painter
- Elaine de Kooning – Painter, visiting critic
- Dale Eldred – Sculptor, environmentalist
- Ken Ferguson – Ceramist
- Glenn Gant – Regionalist painter, student of Benton, KCAI teacher
- Frederic James – Watercolor painter, KCAI teacher
- Cyan Meeks – Filmmaker and video artist, KCAI teacher
- Victor Papanek – UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) designer/mediator; author
- John Douglas Patrick – Painter, draughtsman, KCAI teacher 1909–36, member French Salon 1886–89, earned Bronze Medal 1889 Universal Exposition
- Stephen Sidelinger – Professor of design
- Martin Arnold – Filmmaker
- R. H. Barlow - Author and Anthropologist
- Eric Bransby – Muralist, Painter
- Paul Briggs – Animator, Storyboard Artist
- Nick Cave – Performance Artist
- Dan Christensen – Painter
- James Claussen – Lithographer
- Richard Corben – Comic Book Creator
- John Steuart Curry – Painter
- Marc Davis – Animator, Imagineer
- Marisol Deluna - Fashion Designer
- John de Martelly – Regionalist printmaker, KCAI Printmaking Professor
- Walt Disney – Animator, media entrepreneur (attended Saturday morning classes as a child)
- Karon Doherty - Ceramist
- Angela Dufresne – Painter
- Ellen Fullman – Inventor of Long String instrument
- Jon Gnagy – Nationally syndicated television art teacher
- April Greiman – Graphic designer
- Amelia Ishmael – Artist, art critic, curator
- Paul Jenkins (painter)
- Christian Holstad – Conceptual artist
- Dennis Hopper – Actor, attended Saturday classes during high school
- Suzanne Klotz – Painter, sculptor
- Barry Kooser – Artist, Painter, and Animation Filmmaker
- Arthur Kraft – Sculptor and Painter
- Frank S. Land, founder of DeMolay 
- Ronnie Landfield – Painter
- Doris Lee – Painter
- Jim Mahfood – Comic book and Graffiti artist
- Mercedes Matter – Painter, co-founder of the New York Studio School
- Louisa Matthiasdottir – Painter
- Christina McPhee – New Media artist
- Roger Medearis – Regionalist painter, student of Benton
- Cyan Meeks – Video artist and filmmaker.
- Robert Morris – Sculptor, performance and installation artist
- Jackson Lee Nesbitt – Artist known for his regionalist etchings and lithographs, student of Benton
- William F. Nolan – Screenwriter, original Twilight Zone co-author
- Theo Parrish – Musician and DJ
- Margot Peet – Painter, student of Benton
- Chris Pitman - Musician
- Donna Polseno – Ceramic artist
- Sam Prekop – Photographer, musician with The Sea and Cake
- Archer Prewitt – Illustrator, musician with The Sea and Cake and The Coctails
- Robert Rauschenberg – Painter
- Glen Rounds – Author and illustrator
- Mikel Rouse – Musician with Tirez Tirez, composer who developed Totalism (music)
- Eric Sall – Painter
- Nelson Shanks – Painter
- Marjorie Strider – Painter
- Jim Suptic – Sculptor, musician
- Akio Takamori – Ceramic artist
- Robert Templeton (artist) – Painter
- Christopher Willits – Musician, sound and multimedia artist
- Delmer J. Yoakum – Artist, set designer/painter
- Kathryn Zaremba, former Full House and Toothless star
- Arnie Zimmerman – Ceramicist
- Diaz-Camacho, Vicky (December 1, 2017). "Largest Kansas City-Area Colleges and Universities". Kansas City Business Journal.
- Under the Influence: The Students of Thomas Hart Benton. Marianne Berardi. The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art. 1993.
- "Benton Hates Museums". Time. April 14, 1941. Retrieved July 29, 2007.
- Randy Kennedy (August 18, 2015), Kansas City Art Institute Receives $25 Million Donation New York Times.
- "The New York Times Style Weddings". June 13, 1999. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- "Biography of Walt Disney, Film Producer – kchistory.org – Retrieved September 14, 2009". Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Kenneth B.Sawyer, Pierre Restany The Paintings of Paul Jenkins, Two Cities, Paris, 1961, 125 p. text in English and in french
- "Frank Sherman Land – kchistory.org – Retrieved September 14, 2009". kchistory.org. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- "Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center Broken Arrow, Oklahoma". www.brokenarrowpac.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
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