Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts Awards $65,000 Grant to Kansas City Arts Institute (KCAI)

Kansas City Arts Institute (KCAI) was recently awarded a $65,000 grant from the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts to support the ceramics department’s curricular and professional practice initiatives.

KCAI’s ceramics program has been providing an in-depth technical, visual, critical and conceptual foundation for the education of ceramic artists. The curriculum begins with fundamentals and progressively promotes experimentation and risk taking in technique, vision and concept to push the boundaries of what it means to be a ceramic artist. In FY 21, the ceramics faculty at KCAI plan to pilot a curricular change to increase underclassmen’s technical and theoretical skills. Sophomores will be grouped into two cohorts, each taught by a ceramics faculty member. Each cohort will go through the “Sophomore Studio” and an auxiliary materials/process course together. The two courses will overlap one day per week with the intent of deepening the curricular linkage between process, product, and professional practice.

At KCAI, process, form, and professional practice are the grounding principles of the ceramics major. Students are encouraged to take risks and develop a highly personal approach to their work while mastering ceramics techniques. This year, the ceramics department has identified a need for increased curricular linkage between the areas of process, product, and professional practice. Faculty will implement new electives, pilot new course delivery methods, and will engage alumni in the learning process. Ceramics will provide all in person studio courses and will incur additional costs to provide the curriculum in a safe environment for students with the addition of outdoor classrooms. Ceramics purchased three tents that have been installed on the lawn to comply with social distance guidelines and keep in person instruction possible.

Founded in 1885, KCAI is a nationally recognized four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Art (B.F.A.) degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, digital filmmaking, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, product design, sculpture, and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. The college offers a minor in social practice and entrepreneurial studies and a certificate program in Asian studies. KCAI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. KCAI offers art and design classes for children, youth, and adults through its School of Continuing Education. Additionally, KCAI serves the broader community through public programs that include Current Perspectives, a free artist lecture series, as well as free exhibitions at the H&R Block Artspace and the KCAI Gallery.