KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year after receiving a $25 million gift (fondly known as The Great Gift) from an anonymous donor via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is thriving. As part of the $25 million gift, KCAI successfully met a $3 million two-to-one (2:1) challenge grant 11 months ahead of schedule, which resulted in 10 new student scholarships, four endowed department chair positions and an endowed presidency.
"The Great Gift gave us a pillow to dream on, imagining where we want to go as a college. It has given us confidence and financial security, and a way to make our dreams come true – very quickly," said Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President.
Among the college's priorities are scholarships to help students realize their educational objectives. More than 90 percent of students receive some form of scholarship or financial aid at KCAI.
Artist and longtime supporter Jane Voorhees, who recently endowed The Jane Voorhees Scholarship in Printmaking, said, "Teaching as an adjunct instructor for 10 years at KCAI gave me a front row seat to the wonderful changes that were occurring there. I was especially moved by watching the growth in Miguel Rivera's (chair of printmaking) students and I wanted to endow a scholarship that would nurture artistic expression in printmaking."
Scholarships created from The Great Gift include funds for specific studio disciplines such as printmaking and graphic design as well as areas of enrichment in study abroad opportunities and campus diversity. With a wide range of support, the college is able to recruit the most talented students from around the world to study in Kansas City, one of the top 20 most vibrant arts communities in America.
KCAI also announced three of four new endowed department chairs: Michele Fricke, The Ray Beagle Chair in Art History; Steve Whitacre, The Sosland Family Chair in Foundation Studies; and Cary Esser, The Kathleen Collins Chair in Ceramics. A fourth endowed chair will be announced later this year. Finally, the college celebrated what is believed to be the first endowed presidency at a college of art and design–The Nerman Family President. Tony Jones currently holds this title.
Tony Jones credits the $25 million donation with giving the college a vote of confidence and encouraging other donors to give. "The donation was literally magnetic because it attracted other gifts, some quite large, for new buildings such as the stylish new David T. Beals III Studios for Art and Technology. The restoration of historic Vanderslice Hall and redesign of the college's main entrance happened due to generosity above and beyond The Great Gift," he said.
According to Tony Jones, "It's been an extraordinary year, but we have no plans to slow down. Our profile has been elevated. We must continue to deliver an outstanding and highly-relevant education by exceptional faculty members and dedicate our efforts to build state-of-the-art facilities for contemporary practice in art and design, media and technologies".
About the Kansas City Art Institute
Located in Kansas City, Mo. at 4415 Warwick, KCAI is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with 13 studio majors. KCAI also offers a post-baccalaureate program in art education, certificate programs and continuing education courses. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City's oldest arts organization. For more, visit www.kcai.edu.
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SOURCE Kansas City Art Institute