Vanderslice Hall, 4415 Warwick Blvd., houses the college’s admissions department and a variety of administrative offices. Located here are the president's office, admissions office, vice president for academic affairs, financial aid, communications (marketing/PR), security and the chief information officer. Also located in this building is Cafe Nerman (see below). Extending behind Cafe Nerman are the J.C. Nichols Patio and the Janet K. Meyer Miller Terrace.
Built in 1896, the three-story red-brick mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered an outstanding example of 19th century Flemish Queen Anne-style architecture. Built for the August Meyer family, who lived here for a number of years, the building is named for trustee Howard Vanderslice, who in 1927 arranged for the purchase of the home and surrounding 8.5 acres as a new location for the Kansas City Art Institute. (The campus has since expanded to encompass 15 acres.)
Café Nerman, offering espresso drinks, sandwiches, muffins and pastries, is located in Vanderslice Hall.
Completed in 2003 and named in honor of Margaret and Jerry Nerman, longtime supporters of the college, Café Nerman opens onto the J.C. Nichols Patio, which was dedicated in 2004. The patio garden, made possible by a gift from the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation, is named for early-day trustee and real estate developer J.C. Nichols, who helped to ensure that the Art Institute would be located adjacent to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The Janet K. Meyer Miller Terrace, dedicated in 2013, further completes connection between Cafe Nerman and the Irving Building to the east. The terrace is named in honor of the late Janet Miller, a former chair of the KCAI board of trustees and was made possible through a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee, in memory of William T. Kemper Jr. (1902-1989), financier and philanthropist, whose leadership and many gifts helped to sustain KCAI during his lifetime and provide for its excellence into the future. The terrace fulfills the vision of Jonathan Kemper, a nephew of William T. Kemper, and his wife Nancy Lee Kemper, a member of the KCAI board of trustees, who envisioned an attractive, tree-shaded area to attract students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. A focal point is a Wallace fountain, a 10-foot tall, elaborate cast-iron structure named for Sire Richard Wallace of London (1818-1890). In 1872, Lord Wallace donated 50 such drinking fountains to Paris for refreshment for all cizitens. Jonathan Kemper thought the ornate Victorian appearance of the fountain had much of the same sensibility as Vanderslice Hall and would serve as a possible subject for sketching, set in the middle of a formal grid of shade trees and brick pavement.
Adjoining Vanderslice Hall is Epperson Auditorium, scene of lectures and presentations by visiting artists and scholars as well as KCAI faculty. Funds for the building were donated in 1930 by Mrs. U.S. Epperson in memory of her husband. A major renovation of the auditorium was completed in 2004.