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Kansas City Art Institute

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I decided on the Art Institute primarily basedQuite BrightVideo/Media
I decided on the Art Institute primarily based on the campus visits and the facilities I was shown, which included painting and sculpture primarily, as well as foundations and Ceramics, you know, the departments they WANT to show off. My foundations year was absolutely stellar, the teacher I had was tough and demanding and treated me like an individual and actually helped me with a couple of family crises I was enduring during that year. I had decided to pursue Illustration with a plan to transfer into Interdisciplinary before they dropped the Illustration Department (much to the chagrin of well, everyone who was planning on going into said department.) But I shrugged it off, because I was going to go into my second choice department, New Media, or as it became known, Digital Filmmaking.

Let me put out the good points about the school before I get any further. The Campus is very nice and the facilities for painting and sculpture and ceramics are great. Some departments are absolutely amazing as seen from an outsider and I dont doubt they are great place to go. The faculty, when you can get a hold of them, are very helpful and responsive. The campus is well located and central to many things in Downtown Kansas City. Some artwork is very experimental in nature and really does try to push the limits of what can or can't be done.

Now, onto the bad:

The faculty are a joke. They really are (at least in digital filmmaking) Some of them are NEVER in their offices and getting ahold of them via email is next to impossible, I often have to wait days for a response. The head of Digital Filmmaking Track has turned a department that could have been a great expiremental media department into a bad film department with no film facilities whatsoever. I question his skill with software that is required for video editing. He pushes his own aesthetic to the detriment of anything else and he has, on many occasions, taken equipment from the media center without checking it out or even telling anyone for weeks on end. Another faculty member does not even challenge students to hold themselves to a high standard. He will validate a video or photo that is complete shit and villify anyone who disagrees. He also holds an unrealistic schedule in his classes and ends up having to cut everything at the end of the semester due to lack of time.

The department has gone through a major paradigm shift recently and favors more cinematic film and squashes experimental video. This department used to be a mesh of multiple medias where one student could work on experimental animation, another could work on database video, another on audio, etc. Now, because of the main teacher, that is all gone or disappearing. The Most expiremental students are Seniors, the Juniors are sort of on the fence, but the sophomores are 100% cinema driven (though some fight against the teacher's whims, which I applaud.) Two students were convinced to come into this department based on complete lies (that we had a full experimental video suite, we don't.)

The workload in our department is inconsistent and the grading is erratic and based entirely on a) what the teacher thinks of the aesthetic of your work or b) if you have the easy going teacher, you'll get an A anyway. The assignments dealing with concept are far to vague and forced down the throats of students who are still trying to learn the software, and while this isn't a technical school, some students do need help with the software, help which is not available through the faculty.

The facilities were nonexistent until this semester, and they're still terrible. I have a laptop that I do my video work on. My $2000 laptop out rendered a $10,000 Mac Pro. I want to repeat that. my LAPTOP out rendered a computer built SPECIFICALLY TO RENDER VIDEO!!!!! The computers are run by a tech crew that doesn't know dick about video or how to run a server. The computers in our lab can not run dvds, software constantly crashes or doesn't work at all because students lack admin rights, software is missing key plug ins. There is no good HD workflow, cameras are constantly broken or being mishandled, we recently got 3 brand new 1080p monitors and we aren't allowed to use them because the department chair wants to permanently mount htem on the wall instead of making them available to students.

The school is also not well protected, people are assaulted regularly, though they are trying to figure out. The student body in general is a mix of rich kids who have everything handed to them or disillusioned students like myself who feel generally stuck.I would suggest skipping this school entirely. My list of greivances isn't even halfway over. The administration will lie to you completely to get you to come here and then, unless you're a painter, sculptor, or ceramacist, end up in a department with bad facilities and fickle teachers. Go somewhere else and thank me later.

4th Year Male -- Class 2008
Campus Aesthetics: A, University Resource Use/ spending: F
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KCAI is not a school for the timid.Quite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
KCAI is not a school for the timid. The coursework and studio work is very demanding. Working a part time job and going to school full time is almost impossible.

I went though KCAI on the Montgomery GI Bill and Army College fund. I also had the KCAI scholarship that kept the cost lower as long as I kept my GPA above 3.0,(I graduated with a 3.6 in the top 10% with 18 credit hour semesters... I transfered in with the 4.0 club from a JUCO.)

Your professors at KCAI know your name and your art work. When I attended classes at KCAI, it was one of the top four art schools in the nation. Most of the professors are nationally/globally recognized artists/art historians/writers. Most of the classes applies to art or feeds back into your own art work in some way or another.

If you want to party and dream about sex, go to a state university. (It's a lot less expensive and the selection of the opposite sex is much larger.) If you want to party every night, have more ass than a toilet seat, see the world, blow stuff up and get paid at the same time, join the military. HOWEVER, if you are dead set on doing attending art school, I am letting you know that this school is not easy. The graduation rate has been very low for this school (Less than 25%.)There are a lot of people who fail out or drop out before or during the hazing period. If you are an independent self starting type and know how to let stuff slide off your shoulders, you can probably make it though 4 years of KCAI. (Good luck getting in...)

If you get accepted, your typical day will be spent on campus from sun up to sun down, and at the Nelson Atkins, the Kemper, Crossroads Art District, the library.

Good Luck...

4th Year Male -- Class 2005
Education Quality: A, Extracurricular Activities: C
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I honestly don't know where all the moneyBrightArt & Design Department
I honestly don't know where all the money students pay toward this school goes. Must be the painting and sculpture departments because the digital art, animation, and illustration departments sure saw none of it. The animation building, which has expensive electronics, leaks from the roof when it rains, and students don't have nearly enough space to work. It's just atrocious. But I guess our sucky working conditions bring us together as a department haha. While I've heard horror stories of other students destroying each others' work in other departments, I can say that you'll find a community of your peers in illustration and animation. We sort of suffer together through the incredible work loads, and seniors and juniors are more than happy to reach out to sophomores because they know what it's like.

If you're not in painting, sculpture, or ceramics, you're going to have a rough time your Freshman year. Foundations is essentially boot camp year to see if you can survive the toils of their work load. You won't learn much of value unless you're an abstract artist. But you'll either scrape by or drop out, it happens a lot. Once you're in your actual major I think the school becomes much more enjoyable.

At least in your major classes. The liberal arts classes that were taught by crusty, close-minded old men were atrocious. I would suggest taking some lib. arts classes during summer at your local community college because you won't want to have an 18 hour semester anyway, and that's what they like to tell you to do to graduate on time. Don't. It's awful. You'll spend 12 hours a day at school and hate it. Stick with 15 a semester and it will be manageable.Unlike the administration, which is garbage. If you want any information about enrollment or fees you owe or scholarships or ANYTHING, you need to take the initiative to contact them first because they will not. A lot of stuff is just plain on you.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2016
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Perceived Campus Safety: F
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