Why Should You Consider Staying in Kansas City After You Graduate?

 Straight up, it’s hard to start all over again, so why stop the momentum?

What a lot of recent grads fail to realize as they vacate the KC city limits, for either a bigger metropolis or more familiar spaces like home, is that they just spent 4 years making art and networking in a very supportive art community.  As a KCAI student you have already met many of the heavy hitters in this art scene. Consider the relationships you have built during your time here like your peers, faculty, Pro practice presenters, internship sites, the collectors who attend the end of semester exhibitions, and the list goes on. All of these groups could continue to support you whether you choose to stay in Kansas City for the long-term or interim. Kansas City’s art scene flourishes because of the contributions made by KCAI alumni who continued to call KC home.

In addition to all the art happenings in town (check out our list of links) and generous supporters, the best part about living in Kansas City for me is the low overhead! I live in the kind of neighborhood downtown I have always wanted to for very low monthly rent. I don’t need to deal with the high cost of living when I’m just starting out, and with a Sallie Mae bill arriving every month. What I need is space to make more work, and lots of it, for cheap. We’ve got the web to take care of networking outside of the city.

Recent graduate, Molly Kaderka, agrees. Here is what she has to say about her decision to stay in Kansas City:
I have chosen to stay in Kansas City because the community is extremely supportive of the arts. Between KCAI, the museums and many of the galleries in Kansas City there is quite a large network of people who want to support Kansas City artists.  I have found so many opportunities in Kansas City specifically for emerging artists- which is unique. I think Kansas City is also beginning to raise its national profile, which makes it a fun and exciting place to be as an artist. 

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2 thoughts on “Why Should You Consider Staying in Kansas City After You Graduate?

  1. After graduating from the KCAI, it’s hard to know what to do next. Kansas City is a great place to figure that out because the affordability allows one to have the time and space necessary to experiment with different art practices. I stayed because of this and because of the great community here that is not found in many other cities. Organizations like the Charlotte Street Foundation, Urban Culture Project, and Artist Inc help people find a way to connect with each other within our art community and it’s only getting stronger as time goes on (not to mention with the help of those of us who have chosen to make Kansas City our home). I’m a big supporter which is why I’ve chosen to make my studio a permanent resident of this city.

    • KCAI Case Study says:

      Thank you for contributing Michelle!
      Michelle (KCAI Design & Illustration 2001) is the founder and owner Two Tone Press. Two Tone Press is also a internship site for KCAI students! Currently Kendell Harbin (junior in printmaking) works with Michelle and is having an awesome time.

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