Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas City Art Institute - Comments and Student Experiences|
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.
I'll be frank with you though. Some of the students, you wonder how in the hell they got there, but honestly I believe that those are the ones paying full tuition - most everyone that gets in gets some kind of scholarship, but there are a few students attending without scholarships. Also, the security guards are beyond ridiculous, I mean... as long as you're smart about your own safety, you'll be fine as long as you avoid the sketchy parts of town, but the security guards are really really stupid, and fall asleep most of the time. There was a stint at the beginning of the year where a few cars got stolen, and then it happened with a motor bike and then some more cars. If you come with a car, buy a club. I love the fact that it's a small campus, but I also hate it because of the limited people that I meet, and the fact that everyone knows your business, but it's also really nice because everyone knows your name, it's kind of like a large family, especially with the freshman class because we all know eachother. The teachers are really top notch (well.... the art teachers). The liberal arts teachers are TERRIBLE. But, that only means that their classes are really easy, which may be a good or bad thing to you. I've actually only experienced the freshman liberal arts teachers, and they were both adjunct, and recently hired so they shouldn't give the school a bad name, even though they really did suck.
However, the foundations program here... absolutely amazing. It was one of the first in the country and you learn SO much, its so comprehensive and challenging, I worked my butt off and managed to get an A-, they tell you at the beginning that they dont give out A's.
Stay away from the digital foundations class, those students are kind of isolated from the rest of the program both literally and fundamentally, so its best (even if you are a photographer or designer) to go through a traditional foundations education, because you will grow so much as an artist.
Extra Curriculars blow quite honestly. There's a cheerleading squad. They have some planned events that are kinda fun, but the town always has something going on, and you're right in the middle of the most exciting part of it. I've never been bored when I didnt want to be.
The location of the school is really quite unique and convenient. It's sandwiched between one sort of decent art museum and another actually quite nice art museum, there's the plaza (amazing historic shopping district) just a few blocks to the southwest, and the entertainment district, westport is just up the street, about a 10 minute walk or like 30 seconds in the car.
Kansas City really is a beautiful city, it's quaint but also very modern, very interesting and all about a clash between the old and the new, which is quite visually striking. The Kansas City Star Press Building and Union Station are two good examples. It's also on the banks of the Missouri river. I wouldn't call it a college town, I'd call it an art school town honestly. Every first Friday of the month, the community has an art "gathering" I guess you could call it, it's very popular, and all the galleries down town open with new art. The school had a parade in it, and we're usually very involved with "First Fridays" as they've christened it.
For designers, there's really a good surrounding design infrastructure with some downtown firms, as well as some firms that are linked tightly with the school and more local, such as hammerpress, a really interesting studio that uses old leadpress and woodtype and old ornamental press pieces combined with silkscreening and modern design; their style is so characteristic and iconic, it's really quite unique. An artist from Hammerpress also teaches at the design dept at the institute.
The institute (supposedly) has a good reputation as an undergraduate school, the reason why it never shows up in most rankings is mainly because it has no graduate program.
Oh. The food. It's really actually very hit or miss and usually miss. There are some days when it's good, but it's so limited and very repetitive. The staff is unhelpful, loud, and annoying, and for what you're paying for the food, it's NOT worth it. You only have to live one year on campus though. Oh, and living conditions are quite nice in my opinion. The rooms are bigger than normal dorms, well bigger than my experience with normal dorms, the furniture is old but useful, and the windows have pretty nice views of the green and vanderslice or the museum. Bathrooms are usually okay, you share one large bathroom with everyone on the floor and they're decent, not excellent. Really, that's everything I can think of. I hope it's helped somehow. Overall, I love KCAI and wouldn't go anywhere else, even the schools with more "prestige" because school is what you make of it.
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