High School



High school courses and intensives
Pre-College ArtLab

High school courses and intensives


High school courses are offered year-round at the Kansas City Art Institute. All courses provide fine art instruction while working with students at any skill level. Courses align with the KCAI Foundation Year. Studio courses in ceramics, sculpture and woodworking take place in the collegiate studio space. 

Portfolio Preparation courses are offered every term for one hour of college credit. Students are encouraged to take credit courses in sets of three; three hours of college credit are typically equivalent to one college course. Courses taken for credit will appear on a student's transcript.

See a complete listing of courses.

Pre-College ArtLab 

July 12th - August 1st, 2020

Kansas City Art Institute’s summer residency program for high school students.

KCAI invites high school students to campus to participate in the Pre-College ArtLab. Accepted students will live on campus for three weeks to experience life as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. Course curriculum is designed by accomplished faculty to advance students technically, creatively and conceptually.

Studio options for 2020 include animation, design, illustration and painting with electives in a variety of mediums. Acceptance is competitive and space is limited. 

Residency Cost: $3,000 fee includes three college-level credits, campus housing, meals, supplies and more. For more details, please read Deposit + Tuition information below.

Applications are completed online here.

February 1st Application Deadline for Scholarship Priority

March 1st Scholarship Recipients Notified 


P: 816-802-3333 

E: pcal@kcai.edu



Pre-College ArtLab 2020 July 12th - August 1st, 2020
Every summer, high school students from around the country participate in the Pre-College ArtLab (PCAL) to experience life as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. During the three-week residency, students will work hand-in-hand with accomplished faculty to expand and challenge their creativity technically and conceptually through the college-level curriculum.

Participating students choose both a major studio and a studio elective course that reflect the majors offered in the undergraduate program at KCAI. In addition to their chosen studios, all students study Art History, Creative Writing, Life Drawing, and Portfolio Preparation. Students receive three college credits upon completion of the program.

Attending a pre-college program prepares a student for life beyond high school. PCAL students spend three-weeks living on our campus to expand their technical skills and build a body of work that stands apart in college applications. The college-level curriculum is designed by accomplished-faculty to best represent the rigorous, diverse life of an art and design student. All of the instructors are practicing artists and the majority teach for KCAI’s undergraduate program. During PCAL, instructors will provide students with skills that will deepen their art practice as well as guidance on how to purposefully prepare a body of work.

PCAL students will be exposed to artists, museums, galleries, and artist-run spaces throughout Kansas City. Our beautiful campus is tucked in midtown KCMO directly in between the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, two world-renowned museums. Students are welcome on the campus green to relax, play and work in their free time.


Who can apply?
High school students who are interested in expanding their technical, creative and conceptual skills. All participants must have completed their freshman year of high school and be between the ages of 15 and 18 by the program start date.

PCAL Schedule
PCAL is an academically rigorous program. Students applying for PCAL should be independently motivated and ready to perform at the college-level, assuming the responsibility required to be successful. Students should be ready to adapt to a busy schedule, on-campus housing, getting adequate sleep, eating well, attending to their own well-being and self-advocating for their needs.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

9 - 11 a.m. Art History

12 - 1 p.m. Lunch

1 - 4 p.m. Studio Elective

5 - 6 p.m. Dinner

6 - 10 p.m. Major Studio

Tuesday, Thursday

9 - 11 a.m. Creative Writing

12 - 1 p.m. Lunch

1 - 4 p.m. Life Drawing

5 - 6 p.m. Dinner

6 - 10 p.m. Major Studio

Saturday, Sunday 
Varying free time and group activities.

Studio Offerings
Major Studios: Animation, Design, Illustration + Painting

Deposit + Tuition

The full program tuition of $3,000 includes:

Three college-level credits


Meal plan


Excursions and weekend activities

Portfolio review

KCAI Scholarship -Students will receive an annual $1,500 scholarship applicable to KCAI tuition totaling $6,000. Scholarship dissemination is dependent on the completion of Pre-College ArtLab and acceptance into the Kansas City Art Institute.


All students who submit a PCAL application by February 1st will be considered for a scholarship. Scholarship recipients will be announced no earlier than March 1st. Scholarships are determined by the applicant’s portfolio. Unfortunately, need-based scholarships are not available at this time.



Tuition Payment
A non-refundable $300 program deposit is due no later than April 1st. Students are encouraged to pay their program deposit upon receiving their acceptance materials as their seat in their preferred major studio will not be secured until deposit payment has been received. The remaining program tuition of $2,700 is due no later than June 1st.

Campus Restrooms
KCAI has adopted the policy of gender-neutral restrooms on campus in a variety of buildings. Single-gender restrooms are still available at certain locations throughout campus including the Living Center. This has been done in an effort to make KCAI’s campus more comfortable, safe and welcoming. KCAI values and celebrates the individuals that come together to form this community and seeks to provide spaces that respect the honor and dignity of everyone regardless of sex, gender or gender expression.

Students are responsible for transportation to and from the program. Check-in on July 12th begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m. directly followed by a student-parent orientation. Late check-in can be arranged by emailing pcal@kcai.edu. Students arriving in cars will not be allowed to drive for the duration of the program.

Student Living Center
Students will stay on campus at the new, state of the art KCAI Residence Hall. Each student will live in a double-occupancy loft-style room with a semi-suite private restroom with another student. The Residence Hall includes the Wylie Dining Center providing breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the tuition cost. Students will have access to an on-site fitness center, shared space and gaming room.

A 100% refund of the program fee minus $25 processing fee is eligible if dropped one month prior to the program on June 12th. A 50% refund of the program fee minus a $25 processing fee is eligible after June 12th to the start date of the program. No refund is eligible if dropped after the first class session. The $300 program deposit is non-refundable.

Grades will be shared with students by August 30th.

Requesting Transcripts
Students may request a transcript starting August 30th through the National Student Clearing House.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

KCAI is committed to a campus environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, where each individual has the right to a positive atmosphere that promotes equal opportunity, KCAI prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, creed, religion, disability, marital status, parental status, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other factor protected by law. This policy has been developed to ensure that all members of the campus community can be in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that all concerned are familiar with this policy and aware that any complaint of a violation will be investigated and resolved appropriately.

Additional policies including campus security, severe weather and more can be found online here.

Waiting until next summer?
If you can’t make it to campus this summer, consider signing up for an upcoming course here. We offer courses for students ages 14-18 year-round!

If you have any questions about the Pre-College ArtLab, please contact the Continuing Education staff at 816-802-3333 or pcal@kcai.edu

Enroll Now

Click here to enroll today in a Continuing Education course at KCAI.


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