Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas City, MO, USA

Reviews

Kansas City Art Institute
3.58 Average Rating

Nina from Irving, TX

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The professors are great people and are nothing like high school teachers. The dorms aren't too bad, the RAs are awesome but the food can be iffy sometimes. The campus is beautiful and small so it doesn't take long to get to class.
Tips for prospective students
The freshman year starts out with foundations and spring semester is when the students declare their major because it may change through out the foundation year. There are also different activities that help the student decide what their major is. After first semester, the students get to pick the schedule they want. It is a lot of work and studying to keep up the grades but that is what art school is. I have learned a lot freshmen year, foundations was a blast and my lessons will help me out in my future major.
Academic Rigor
The professors and academic advisers that I have encountered have always encouraged me to work harder. If you slack or get a low letter grade on a test or exam then they normally send you an email stating that there are ways to help improve the grade and get what you want. The foundation teachers want you to work hard in studio and can tell how long you worked or if it was a last minute thing. Everything counts at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Dorm Life
The dorms are nice, they may not be the best but they are more for relaxing, sleeping and sometimes studying. Studio is a big part of art students life and it may take up most of your time so the dorm is a great place to be at when you are tired or worn out. The dorms are divided by north and south tower, and there are co-ed floors, all boys or all girls floors and even a neutral gender floor. Each floor shares a community bathroom with about five stalls and showers each. There is also a washer and dryer on each floor each a dollar and 25 cents. Each floor also has its own lobby with couches and tables to hang out at, it is also the place where we meet for floor meeting, which are once a month. The main floor has the cafeteria, a fitness room, conference room which is normally used for study groups, and a gallery. Below that there is the art store, for convenience which also has our mail boxes and any packages we get. The building has key card access so it is secure and there are also security guards that will help you if you need it. Each dorm room comes with two beds, two desks and 2 wardrobes, even if you apply for a one person room. There are the opportunities to have a single, double or triple room. The dorms is supposed to be getting Google fibers soon. Overall the dorm is my second home.
Food and Dining
The cafeteria is the perfect size for the amount of students that live on campus, when applying for a room there is also the food service. Monday - Friday has breakfast 7:15 to 9, lunch 11 to 1, and dinner 4:45 to 6. On Saturday and Sunday, there is brunch from 11 to 1 and dinner from 4:45 to 6. Breakfast is generally the same with a few changes. Lunch is Mystery Meat Monday, not knowing what lunch is ever going to be, Taco Tuesday, Wok Wednesday for stir fry or other Chinese food, chicken strip Thursday and sometimes fish Friday. The food has its off days but sometimes the food is great.
What to do for fun
In the middle of campus there is a big field, during the spring and fall time when the weather is perfect, the students are playing outside. The is also a bunch of people that play video games together or watch movies. The plaza isn't too far from campus so a lot of kids walk or drive there to hang out or go eat or watch the newest movie. There are many things that the students do for fun but it all depends on the people you become friends with and what you like to do.
Bang for the buck
For the art students, even though we have the art store down stairs, there are other art stores with usually better prices that are in the area. Creative Cold Snow gives KCAI half off if we have our ID with the year sticker on it. There is a Starbucks down the street from campus and a lot of students go there on free time or just to relax.
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Taylor from Kansas City, MO

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Studio classes are make it or break it; they will redefine your work ethic and build you into a better artist. The people are some of the most friendly, accepting, and interesting individuals you will ever come to know (I've only been here for two months and I've already made lifelong friends). The professors are amazing, not only for their extensive knowledge on subjects not limited to the one's they instruct, but also for their willingness to help pupils develop their interest in art/art history/writing.
Tips for prospective students
Prepare a well-rounded application portfolio that exhibits your technical abilities as well as conceptual works. Don't be afraid to contact KCAI's financial aid office for tips on how to save money, earn scholarships, and get student loans before applying, because, let's face it, art school is expensive and you're going to want to leave the school in the least amount of debt as humanly possible.
Academic Rigor
Studio classes aren't you're run-of-the-mill high school art intro courses; they're rigorous, demanding, and sometimes infuriatingly difficult. Professors will have you working your rear off to finish assignments in time, as well as teaching you valuable art lessons ,all the while improving your personal artistic style as a whole.
Dorm Life
Sometimes gross, but what college dorm isn't? Depending on the floor/tower you get placed on, dorm life can either be hermit-living, or a social experience. I live on a very bubbling, sociable floor, where people always have doors open, and are having fun, whether that means the occasional grilled cheese/waffle party, study sessions, or movie nights.
Food and Dining
Coming from a boarding high school where dormies got to enjoy the luxuries of over-salted meat patties and lukewarm carrots on a daily basis, this cafeteria has many delicious options for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike.
What to do for fun
Clubs, city life, and the local arts and music scene make for a college experience unique to Kansas City.
Bang for the buck
Totally worth it, I'd reccomend this school to any hardworking artists ready and willing to improve themselves.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
First Fridays: every first friday of the month all the cities' galleries open their doors for free.
Great for these types of students
Hard. Working.
Clubs and Activities
Lots of various arts clubs and extracurriculars to keep you busy if you somehow miraculously have time outside of studio to do anything.
Greek Life
There isn't any, and nobody minds.
Campus Safety
One of the most friendly security departments ever.
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Britney from Hannibal, MO

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The teachers are really into their work. The love the subjects they teach and thus I feel like I'm really learning a lot about the subjects. Everything is clear and straight to the point, yet very in depth.
Am enjoying being here
Great enviornment. Everyone is super nice and they work their hardest to make it feel like home. The staff is very friendly and hardworking. I love the campus and the location, within walking distance of the plaza shopping district and right between the kemper and nelson atkins museum.
Bang for the buck
Its pretty expensive...though that is to be expected from a private art school. I feel like I am getting my money's worth though. The housing situations cost a bit but I get a room and meals so its a good deal.
Tips for prospective students
KCAI is very welcoming for new talent. Just make sure you have a good strong portfolio for review and make sure you know exactly that this is what you want to go into. Other than that just be ready for a great college experience in art!
Great for these types of students
Anything that has to do with art. Painters, drawers, sculpters, animators, design, photographers, printers, art historians, and writers.
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Mittens

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This is a small school, with a tight knit community. Everyone is very accepting. This school is in the middle of a city that loves art, and has many awesome opportunities!
Tips for prospective students
The Jannes library has two fireplaces that you can request to have turned on for instant warmth, and lots more computers.

I would recommend buying the tool/supplies kit they offer over the summer, because you will use everything in it many times over.
Academic Rigor
All the teachers like to be called by their first name and are pretty friendly. Freshman year you have your foundations class which is 4 hours long, either in the morning or afternoon, and also a writing class once a week and art history twice a week.

The studios are open 'til 1am except for mid terms and the end of the first semester when they're open until 3am. The foundations building itself has many good-sized classrooms for the class sizes, which is about 13-15 students. You'll want to get to know your studio buddies 'cause you'll be spending a lot of time working together and in crit.

Your first semester in foundations is split 3 ways between observational, design, and 3D- each studio does them at different times. The teachers have a lot of flexibility over what they think each section means, with some classes making cardboard boxes and drawing them for weeks on end. Lots of people come in with very specialized skills for the major they want to go in, but foundations gets everyone to learn some important basic skills for all those areas. There is also a woodshop workshop where they will have you make a stool using all of the tools in the shop, which is quite a lot. You do get an entire Adobe package from the school, so you get Photoshop for free! Plus all the school computers have it and Word. Second semester is also split up three ways, but you have a different teacher for each and you get to choose things you are more interested in, such as ceramics, calligraphy, architecture, photography, etc.

Most people (depending on their schedule) have no classes on thursday, which gives you some much needed time to work on projects from your studio class or some of those big essays.
Dorm Life
The area around the school is mostly apartments, which is nice because after freshman year you have to live off campus. In the middle of campus is a big green grassy area with pathways and nice shady trees to nap or read under. The dorms themselves are decent-laundry and bathrooms (that are cleaned everyday!) on all floors. Each student gets a bed that you can easily loft, a big plain desk with two drawers, and a wardrobe with two drawers on the bottom and hanging space (with enough space to stack more clothes). Carpet, and a window- but I wouldn't plan on bringing a plant until you know it's facing the south (i've heard many a sad tale from friends about some precious potted plants). If you go with a triple room, you'll be on the corner and get three windows. Doubles are pretty decent with plenty of space for my stuff, but triple rooms seem huge. Single rooms are the same as double rooms, minus the extra furniture. Each floor also has a hang out room with two comfy couches and a low table. There are two towers in the dorm building, with the first floor having a security desk, lobby with a nice tv, the cafeteria, really small gym room, conference room for clubs or study groups, info office, and student art gallery. The RAs are all pretty nice and will help with any questions or complaints. The basement of the dorms is where all the mailboxes are, as well as an art store with some basic snacks, necessities, and textbooks.
Food and Dining
There's a gas station and food/health store within easy walking distance. Catch a car ride to go to the Plaza, although it isn't such a bad bike ride- and it's where most of the shops and restaurants are.

The cafeteria food is pretty good, but not the best. However, they have a really good salad bar, as well as vegetarian, and vegan options for all the meals.
What to do for fun
On first fridays, all the galleries open for free at the Crossroads art district. You have to take a car or ride the bus to get there, but it's great and there are different shows up every month, as well as great funky food places to eat at while your out and about. Lots of people go, especially from KCAI, so it's not very hard to find a ride if you ask around. Even with only 3 classes you'll be really busy most of the time, and everyone looks forward for the opportunity to take a break en masse!

It's true the school is pretty small- most of it is on one block, with the Kemper Museum of Modern Art across the street. On the other side of campus, also literally across the street is the Nelson Atkins Museum- and it is huge!! Both have free admission!
Bang for the buck
While many think that the facilities should be better because of the tuition cost, lots of people are on scholarship and there really aren't that many students.
Greek Life
Nope.
Campus Safety
I do feel safe in the area and especially on campus. They have security around at night on campus. You still don't want to go walking too far at night alone of course- but with a friend or on a bike you'll be fine.

All the buildings on campus have an id lock that you just wave your card over, and in the dorms there is another to ride the elevator or take the stairs, so it's very secure.

One minus, however, is that there are problems with theft sometimes- not within the dorms or studios, but the surrounding area around the school.
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Brent from Kansas City, MO

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
My education has been very thorough. KCAI's foundations program is great at pounding in the basics and getting you prepared for the years ahead. Teachers truly care about your work as they will give in depth critiques and suggest tips to improve your pieces.
Am enjoying being here
I love the atmosphere and student body. Though this obviously doesn't apply to every member of the student body, most people I've encountered on campus have been generally open and friendly. The campus is a bit small but active and is in a prime location that gives students the chance to interact with the surrounding city.
Bang for the buck
I'm enjoying the experience but there is no doubt in my mind that this school is over priced. Students are constantly getting nickel and dimed and sent out to buy more of their own supplies. Considering how pricey the tuition already is, I can't help but feel that a lot of these costs should already be taken care of.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure you get as much financial help as possible. This school is going to cost you. My choices for schools with my major were very limited and I'm loving this school overall but I was not prepared for the extra little prices they'd be throwing in. I was able to keep my head a float but just be prepared.
Great for these types of students
Students looking for a thorough art education in a great city will love KCAI. It's a great experience for an art student and even though there are very few clubs, there is always something to do.
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B from Kansas City, MO

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am enjoying being here
The campus is beautiful, plus being next to the Nelson Atkins Museum is a huge plus.
Bang for the buck
Freshmen get their moneys worth in wisdom, not supplies and work spaces.
Tips for prospective students
Be ready to work, the school has a fairly high drop rate because kids don't expect to have to work.
Great for these types of students
Hard working, inspired, put their futures before parties.
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