Kansas City Art Institute

Missouri Department of Tourism, via flickr

An anonymous donor has given the Kansas City Art Institute a gift of $25 million. It's the largest in the school's history and believed to be one of the largest donations to any arts college in the country.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation presented the record-setting donation to the school at a private ceremony Tuesday. Debbie Wilkerson, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a press release, "The gift comes from a donor who has the highest confidence in the Kansas City Art Institute, and therefore, wants to demonstrate that support financially."

Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute's ceramics department dates back to the 1960s – and has a storied history, with larger than life professors who shaped the program like Ken Ferguson, Victor Babu and George Timock. 

This summer, Kansas City firms Helix and McCown Gordon Construction collaborated on a $750,000 renovation of "the old kiln room." 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

For centuries, scientists have looked to artists to help visualize the complexities of the human body. The techniques have changed — from wood engravings and copper plate prints to microscopic photos and digital animation — but the focus on storytelling is the same. It’s a profession known as medical illustration and there’s an effort to cultivate more of it in Kansas City. 

Mixing art with science 

The illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute is tucked into a former grocery store at 43rd and Oak. At two long tables near the entrance, a handful of students quietly surf the Internet or eat a snack just before the start of a biomedical visualization class.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR

Graduating seniors — more than a hundred of them — from the Kansas City Art Institute have crammed every usable floor, wall, hallway and corner of the H&R Block Artspace for the 2015 Annual B.F.A. Exhibition. Their work radiates the exuberance of accomplishment, the energy of youth about to break free into the world beyond school.

courtesy: Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, KCMO

This week, colleagues and friends marked a ceremonial passing of the torch as Warren Rosser stepped down as chair of the painting department at the Kansas City Art Institute. 

"After 28 years, I think it was time to pass it on to someone else, so to speak," he says.

Rosser's tenure as chair of the department is reportedly the longest, to date. He's taught at the Art Institute for 42 years, and says he will continue to do so. 

Ayah Abdul-Rauf / Kansas City Art Institute

Film and animation students at the Kansas City Art Institute get some big-screen time – and a chance to see how their work goes over with a live audience – at their end-of-semester show on Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

James Prinz / Courtesy: Kansas City Art Institute

The Kansas City Art Institute Thursday announced new leadership — at least for the next 18 months. Starting Dec. 3, Tony Jones, chancellor and president emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will step in as interim president. 

Stephen Metzler, chair of the KCAI board of trustees, has served this role since August, when former president Jacqueline Chanda retired. 

Kansas City Museum

The Kansas City Art Institute doesn’t offer degrees in fashion design, but students in the fiber department spend plenty of time thinking about clothing, costumes, performance and the human body as a means of expression, says Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, the chair of the department.

So when she got a call from Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera about co-curating a show called Rituals and Celebrations: Exploring Meaning Through Dress, she was up for it.

Mark McDonald / Kansas City Art Institute

Updated: 5:30 p.m., Monday

The Kansas City Art Institute has announced that President Jacqueline Chanda is retiring, effective Monday.

In May, the faculty sent the board of a trustees a "no confidence" vote for Chanda. 

The board distributed a letter this morning to faculty, staff, and students including the following: 

"Jacqueline Chanda, president of the Kansas City Art Institute since 2011, has informed the board that she plans to retire on Aug. 4, 2014." 

The chair of the board, Steve Metzler, will step in as interim president. 

Art of the Car Concours

Hot rods first hit the scene in the 1930s. Their enduring popularity drives owners and fans to preserve and enhance these mobile pieces of history. This Sunday, The Kansas City Art Institute once again transforms the campus into a classic-car lover’s dreamland for its Art of the Car Concours event. On Friday's Up to Date Steve Kraske talks with the event organizer and an automotive expert about the rare autos at this event and the long road of hot rod history.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At the Kansas City Art Institute, a sale and exhibition of student artwork at the end of each semester is a nearly 45-year tradition for the ceramics department; some of the other departments, such as painting, printmaking, and sculpture, have also opened their doors for the past 20 years. This weekend, the fiber department showcases student work in a new location called the Warehouse. 

Art in a gallery context

Courtesy of the artist

A traveling exhibition at the H&R Block Artspace, Performance Now, includes performance art from the last decade, with work by artists spanning generations, such as Marina Abramović, Yael Bartana, and Clifford Owens.

There’s a 12-hour performance of a 3 ½ minute aria; a slightly-scripted soap opera filmed in Ikea stores; and a Claymation film about urban violence. There are also re-performances, or re-creations of famous works from the past.

Performance art, then and now

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Project Wall, a temporary site for public art at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, currently features Seven by conceptual artist, Luis Camnitzer. This large image of eight ivory dice on casino green felt - spelling out the number seven - is simple yet striking; it draws the attention of those passing by, in cars or on foot, to the exterior of the Artspace, a boxy gray building at the intersection of 43rd and

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Seventh Annual Art of the Car Concours showcases vintage and classic cars and gives visitors the chance to meet some of the men and women who raced them during the 1950s and ’60s.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City Art Institute students experienced cross-cultural communication through art during a Sunday workshop with visiting artists at the H&R Block Artspace. As part of their 1o-day residency in Kansas City, the Xijing Men led the students through activities designed to inspire them to use their skills as budding artists.

The historic Donaldson House in Kansas City, Mo. is slated for demolition on December 19. It's something that's been in the works for at least a decade.

Kemper ARTcast: Interview with Angela Dufresne

Dec 4, 2012

A 1991 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Angela Dufresne paints loose figurative works that evoke works by seminal artists of 19th-century Europe and America, such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church as well as French painters Jean Corot and Gustave Courbet. Dufresne manipulates idyllic scenes to rewrite history in her works.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Kansas City Art Institute is taking a southern California couple to court. The issue is stirring up a lot of controversy and national -- and international -- attention.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

At the new South Branch Library in the Argentine district in Kansas City, Kan., nine 700-lb. bronze panels flank the entrance, some with images of vertical stacks of library books.

From the book Silkworms by Sylvia A. Johnson

Alison Heryer and Jason Kovac started hosting Nerd Nites in KC this past April.  Nerd Nites have been described a lot of ways, like where whiskey meets wisdom, and The Discovery Channel with beer.

They were first started in the Boston area in 2003 and have grown to be hosted all around the world.  They even publish their own Nerd Nite Magazines which dives into a diverse array of nerdy topics.

Best & Worst All Nighters From The Art Institute

Aug 27, 2012
Tomeka Weatherspoon / KCUR

Students often describe being up all night as “the all-nighter.”  And who among us who’ve faced a deadline of any sort can’t relate to being awake until 5 a.m. doing something you intended to finish the day before.  We stopped by the Kansas City Art Institute for some stories from students who’ve been up all night creating art.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Crossroads, a once blighted area in downtown Kansas City, is now a thriving arts district. 

Chad Chambers

Each year the Kansas City Art Institute hosts  the Art of the Cars Concours, a gathering of exotic vehicles whose purposes extend far beyond transportation.

Prompted by a recent visit to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens with her family, an area resident has started circulating a petition to remove one of the sculptures. The work is called "Accept or Reject" (note: a brass plaque also lists the title as "Choice") by sculptor 余畅 Yu Chang, an artist who also reportedly directs the Guangzhou Sculpture Academy. Overland Park officials say that, at this time, there are no plans to remove it from the Arboretum.

Courtesy of Kansas City Art Institute

This time of year marks a flurry of commencement speeches at academic institutions around the country.

courtesy of the artist

Kansas City artist Wilbur Niewald has been associated with the Kansas City Art Institute for 76 years, and claims it has changed, “but not as much as you would imagine…it's always been like an oasis.”  In this Kemper ARTcast, Dr. Jacqueline Chanda, recently inducted President of the Kansas City Art Institute, asks Niewald about the changes in his painting over his career in conjunction with the Wilbur Niewald: The Studio Portrait, now on view at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

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  • Painting What He Sees

Artist Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, draws and paints from direct observation – what he sees around him.

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Artist Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, began his year-long Guggenheim Fellowship on May 1.

One of Kansas City's most respected artists Ken Ferguson passed away in December. In April, a memorial service was held in his honor.

Kansas City, Missouri – Memorial service for Ken Ferguson, Saturday, April 2, 2005 at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City, Missouri.