Gould Evans’s recently completed addition to the Kansas City Art Institute will be the star of a forthcoming PBS show. The semiannual Make 48 competition was recently held, and filmed, in the new David T. Beals, III Studio, where 15 teams had 48 hours to plan, prototype, and present their ideas for prices and potential licensing. The event will be edited into eight half-hour episodes, which will be aired sometime this summer.
The David T. Beals, III studio adds 5,000 square feet to the KCAI’s Volker Building, which houses the school’s sculpture department. The simple structure, clad in black matte metal paneling, is intended to stand as a counterpoint to the school’s original home, the 1896 Vanderslice mansion. The new building is filled with bright open studio spaces and the latest in fabricating technologies: laser cutters, engravers, eight types of 3-D printers, CNC routers, cameras, scanners, touchscreen interfaces, and a digital loom allow students to create and collaborate on projects of varying sizes and complexity.
“Our goal in the design process was to create a clean, blank slate with abundant light that would be flexible, both as a daily workspace and over time as educational programming and technology evolves,” explained Mark Wise, project designer at Gould Evans. “The space needed to provide an efficient, comfortable space for students to work, as well as a home for the cutting-edge technology the KCAI offers, so we designed the studio to be scalable, offering ample space around the equipment for students to move and gather in.”
The project also adds a new gallery and critique room to the school. Students at the KCAI study everything from ceramics and sculpture to animation and graphic design. The school, a private independent four-year college of art and design, provides Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 13 majors, and a post-baccalaureate program in art education, certificate programs, and continuing education courses. The new building represents the intention of the school, as the oldest arts organization in Kansas City, to prepare its students for the future.
“Building a printing and prototyping studio that specializes in digital input and output means that the KCAI is preparing tomorrow’s workforce,” said Tony Jones, president of the KCAI. “We’re teaching advanced skills, while providing a valuable asset to our local community.”
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