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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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At KCAI, people will often (and do often)Super BrilliantArt & Design Department
At KCAI, people will often (and do often) say "this isn't for everyone." They are certainly correct. This school was challenging and pretty fun my Freshman year. I had excellent Faculty and an overall enjoyable experience. But after entering my Sophomore year I chose to major in Ceramics - perhaps the best and worst decision of my life to date.The Ceramics department is full of snotty brats who all think that their work is greater than the work of others around them. The students are competitive to the point of sabotaging other people's work purposefully and they rarely if ever will be helpful or discuss one another's work in a productive way. The competition is encouraged sadistically by the Faculty who are for the most part completely uninvolved until Critique when they tear you apart and degrade you. The students literally kill themselves over the ridiculous workload, staying up for days on end (I stayed awake for 6 days once), just trying to keep up with the work given. The expectations are unrealistic and harsh. The environment is not healthy, many students lose a lot of weight from not having time to eat and the others gain a ton of weight from stress eating. On several occasions people have mental meltdowns in class or studio: crying, screaming, throwing work... completely mental. The faculty recognizes that there is unhealthy behavior such as staying up and not leaving to eat happening and they seem to be supportive of such behavior. It is as if they care more about the ceramic objects a student produces more than the student themselves and what they may or may not be learning or gaining.
2nd Year Female -- Class 2013
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Social Life: F
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I should have looked deeper into these reviewsBrightArt & Design Department
I should have looked deeper into these reviews sooner before I came to KCAI. This school is set up for disaster. They were even put on academic probation. If my teachers had any ounce of respect for their students as the business office had, I might have stayed.

My instructor was so rude to me that I had to leave after only two weeks. I know that it's a very short amount of time but this particular teacher made the classroom an unbearable, hostile environment for me. My major was graphic design. I feel that I need to let people know exactly what goes on in that department because it was very misleading when I went into it and even though the administration tried to help me, I feel that they just wanted my money.

First of all, you need WAY more supplies than just a laptop, which is what they'll tell you you only need before class starts. Later they told me that you needed an xacto knife, scissors, etc. because SURPRISE, everything you do is by hand and needs to be cut out. But that wasn't the problem for me. Oh no, the problem was that the instructors expect all of your work to be completely perfect to the last detail even if you've never done it before, made a mistake or didn't have the right material; if it's not perfect, the instructors will shame you in front of the other students and they WILL NOT critique it! And this is only the first week of class. My instructor told me that I've seen what kind of quality work they expect from students and so I should work to those standards. That's like telling someone, "You know what Picasso's work looks like, do that."

The directions for projects are totally unclear and they are ONLY posted on blogs and e-mail, for which you have to check constantly, preventing you from having a social life. When I was struggling with my assignments, i.e. pondering over slitting my wrists with the xacto knife I never wanted to buy, all my instructor did was e-mail me a bunch of people I don't know to "talk to and converse with" about assignments instead of teaching me how to do things that I was stuck on. It's like the instructors try to be your best friend but at the same time berate you for not doing things their way. I think it's called narcissism.

Though we were required to bring our laptops to class, we were not allowed to even look at them and God forbid if you just have your cellphone out (they will personally e-mail you to stop). But then why does my other classmate get to take his sandals off and put his feet up on his desk? I understand they want you to work during class time, but they LITERALLY force you to work. If you're not doing something in the way the instructors want it, they go right up to you and tell you to do it differently. I couldn't even just sketch things out in my own process without being hovered over and being constantly told "no".

They told me that they encourage students to use the studio but I think what they really meant was "use the studio or FAIL". There were so many projects done in so many unnecessary ways because if the project didn't look good on the ceiling, the floor, or on the window in the studio then they also take off points. They care more about how well-crafted the project is rather than the idea or what you've learned from it.I feel bad for anyone who has to put up with instructors like this. They are obviously passive aggressive, immature, and self-absorbed. I never thought that I would ever write a bad review about this school because the staff was very nice and friendly... until I saw what they really were.

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Education Quality: F
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