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Kansas City Art Institute

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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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KCAI provides great opportunities on many different levels-tQuite Bright
KCAI provides great opportunities on many different levels-the departments are so different philosophically and historically it would be a mistake to sum up the school as either good or bad.The school, like many, is also in a transition as older professors are retiring and a new crop of contemporary, energetic young instructors take their place. I majored in Sculpture, and quickly learned that if you just stay sequestered in your department and traditional medium you will miss out on what is going on in contemporary arts.I took painting, new media and inter-disciplinary electives-which really informed my approach. Students do not have to paint in the painting department, it is anything goes as long as it is intelligent, well crafted and conceptually compelling and sound. The same goes for other departments, although Ceramics and Sculpture continue to be quite traditional (i.e. object oriented). The greatest development at KCAI is the 3 year old Interdisciplinary department-it is the most contemporary and cutting edge, students have to apply to get in, they only take a few students each year.They are making great work there, and the head of the department is amazing.The way to get the most out of KCAI is to get out of your department, create as many relationships with instructors as you can, take electives-Instructors teach there not because of the low pay scale but because the students are so amazing-they could make a lot more $$ at a state school. One other thing, the art history department is exceptional-very diverse and lots of committed, enthusiastic instructors.If you think you just want to do studio and skip art history, DO NOT ENROLL AT KCAI! Go to a state school and let someone who cares come instead. The world does not need any more artists that do not know their predecessors.
4th Year Male -- Class 2008
Individual Value: A+, Faculty Accessibility: F
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Decide if you fall into 1 of 2Quite BrightArt & Design Department
Decide if you fall into 1 of 2 art camps. The first, that art is a romantic expressive experience, and the artist is an exalted and detached special being that should be compensated and supported by society-that way they can remain isolated and produce work at will, presented to the world when ever they need validation.

The second, is one where the traditional role of the artist is challenged; art is about a conversation with the viewer, and about participation, involvement, and most importantly about questioning where art resides in contemporary contexts.

At KCAI, you will find that professors most often choose sides, but there are a few that are in the middle. Sculpture is a bit antiquated; the chair is a hardcore romantic that does not really get contemporary practice, and they just retired their reigning abstract-expressionist hold-over whose mantra is "just make some art, you'll figure it out later!" But even this department is in transition, they are supposed to hire someone new next year.If you like to think about art in terms of of ideas or concepts, find the programs and departments that support that type of art. If you just want to participate in keeping some romantic tradition alive and not question where that tradition sits in these contemporary times, you can find instructors that will support that also.

4th Year Male -- Class 2008
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Extracurricular Activities: D-
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