Community Arts & Service Learning

CASL students and faculty journeyed to Santa Fe, N.M., for a summer academic travel course "From Work to Text: Connecting Labor, History, Material and Place." The trip focused on the art, history and culture of New Mexico, including the Anasazi, Pueblo and Chicano cultures. The CASL service component was hands-on labor with a local community group that is restoring the San Miguel Mission, a traditional adobe structure in Santa Fe. 

 Pictured: KCAI students at Raven's Ridge, New Mexico

The CASL program encompasses a rigorous 15-credit-hour academic curriculum noted for its 3-credit-hour service learning internship. Students who complete the program will be eligible for a certificate in community arts.

Participating students will be required to take "The Artist's Role in Society," a liberal arts course; "Collaborative Art Practices," a studio elective; two additional studio classes and an internship.

Semester-long internships place students in community agencies as volunteers to develop skills they will need to become active, contributing members of their community -- skills that include planning, resource management, communication, evaluation and working independently and as a member of a team.

Just as their work supports the mission and goals of their community partner, the students' experiences expand and deepen their classroom and studio education. In a service learning internship, the students represent the college and may seek the resources of the Kansas City Art Institute -- facilities, faculty and programs -- to address the issues facing the community agency.

Students may become a service learning intern with a KCAI community partner in one of three ways: as a student enrolled in the CASL certificate program; as a service learning volunteer independent of the academic program; or through a service learning work-study assignment.

Pictured: Student Ericka Patterson and professor Reed Anderson mixing adobe at the San Miguel Mission site.

When Jon Dandurand's ('05 sculpture) summer school plans fell through in 2005, he went to the Academic Resource Center for help finding a way to earn the remaining three credit hours he needed to graduate. KCAI's community partner, Mattie Rhodes Counseling & Art Center, needed an intern for their summer art camp, and Jon was a perfect fit. The Community Arts and Service Learning program at KCAI was initiated and continues to pair talented students with KCAI's community partners.

Pictured: John Dandurand interning at the Mattie Rhodes Counseling & Art Center during the summer of 2005.

KCAI's community partners include:

  • 816 Bike Collective
  • Accessible Arts
  • Arts in Prison
  • Boiler Room
  • Berkley Child Development Center (UMKC)
  • De LaSalle Education Center
  • Kansas City, Kansas School District
  • Mattie Rhodes
  • Operation Breakthrough
  • Rose Brooks Center

For more information about the CASL certificate, contact Julie Metzler, director of special programs, at 816-802-3357 or

CASL certificate requirement sheet

The CASL certificate requirement sheet is available here (PDF).

Continuing Education

Continuing Education

Interested in continuing education classes at KCAI? Visit the School for Continuing and Professional Studies.

Student Life

Student Life

Want to know what life will be like at KCAI? To learn more about academic resources available to students, educational exchange programs, housing and dining and student groups and activities, visit the Student Life page.