Art critic Jerry Saltz to speak at KCAI commencement

30 March 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 30, 2011) — Noted art critic Jerry Saltz will be the featured speaker at the Kansas City Art Institute’s 2011 commencement ceremony. The event will take place at 2 p.m. May 14 at the Unity Temple on the Country Club Plaza, 707 W. 47th St. Approximately 117 seniors will receive their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from KCAI.

Since 2006, when Saltz was named “Best Art Critic” by Time Out New York, he has been senior art critic and a columnist for New York magazine. Previously he was senior art critic for The Village Voice. He has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Saltz was the sole advisor for the 1995 Whitney Biennial and has served as a visiting critic at The School of Visual Arts, Columbia University, Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2010, he addressed graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute during the college’s annual Alumni Weekend, when KCAI was celebrating its 125th anniversary. Also in 2010, Saltz served as a judge on the Bravo channel’s hit reality TV show, “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,” in which artist Peregrine Honig, who studied at KCAI, was a finalist.
Kathleen Collins, president of KCAI, announced that Saltz will be presented with an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree during the graduation exercises.
“Jerry Saltz is one of the most influential and spirited voices in the art world,” Collins said. “He has enjoyed clout as a writer in the arts community for more than 20 years, spreading his ideas by writing for well-known publications such as The Village Voice, Frieze, Modern Painters and Art in America.”
She noted that his columns from The Village Voice were compiled and published in two volumes as “Seeing Out Loud: The Voice Art Columns Fall 1998 – Winter 2003” and “Seeing Out Louder.”
Active in the arts for decades, Saltz founded N.A.M.E. Gallery in 1973 in his hometown of Chicago. One of Chicago’s first artist-run alternative spaces, N.A.M.E. is a not-for-profit organization specializing in emerging and innovative art, and he has curated more than 75 of its exhibitions.

Two former trustees of the Kansas City Art Institute also will receive honorary doctorate of fine arts degrees during the commencement ceremony: Charles S. Sosland and Charles J. Egan Jr.

“I can’t overemphasize the value of the contributions Charlie Sosland and Charlie Egan have made over the years to the Kansas City Art Institute,” Collins said. “They have been tireless advocates for the college, and we are deeply indebted to them for their wise counsel and devoted service.”
Since 1999, it has been a KCAI tradition for the president’s office to commission a sash from a fiber student to be worn at commencement. This year’s sash has been created by Amanda Ross, a senior majoring in fiber. It will be worn by Mark Salmon, vice president for academic affairs. Sashes from previous years are distributed to senior faculty to be worn during commencement; then the sashes become part of the college’s permanent collection.
The Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. The college also offers certificate programs in Community Arts and Service Learning and in Asian Studies for students enrolled in the B.F.A. program. KCAI hosts “Current Perspectives,” a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at the H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes in art, design, multimedia studies and desktop publishing for children, youth and adults. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. For more information, visit KCAI on the Web at
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For more information, contact Anne Canfield, 816-802-3426 or