Alumni Profiles

It's a lifetime experience.

For every graduate of KCAI, there's a fascinating
story to tell. Here are just a few examples of how our alumni are change agents:

Sarah Jaeger

In addition to her B.F.A. from KCAI, Sarah Jaeger ('85 ceramics) holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and has taught ceramics at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, the University of Nebraska and Pomona College. In 2006, she received a $50,000 unrestricted grant from United States Artists. Considered one of the leading studio potters in the United States, she served on the board of directors of the Archie Bray Foundation for more than 10 years and has received numerous honors, including a fellowship from the Montana Arts Council and an Emerging Talent Award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.

Ming Fay

Sculpture and installations by Ming Fay ('67 sculpture) have been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Recent one-person exhibitions include Shanghai MOCA, Butters Gallery in Oregon and Ramapo Gallery in New Jersey. Profiled in 2003 in Sculpture magazine, he has completed several public art commissions in New York, including sculptural benches for the Staten Island Terminal in New York and glass mosaic murals for the Delancey Street MTA terminal. He is a professor of sculpture at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Robert Parke Harrison

A 1999 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Robert ParkeHarrison ('90 photography) and his wife, Shana, construct fantasies in the guise of environmental performances for a protagonist who interacts with the landscape in their images. Tapping into their surreal imaginations, the artists combine elaborate sets within vast landscapes to address issues surrounding man’s relationship to the earth and technology while additionally delving into the human condition. Their collaboration developed organically over many years, and since 2000 they have publicly claimed co-authorship of their images. Works by the ParkeHarrisons are included in numerous collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.

Eric Sall

With work in the Saatchi collection, Eric Sall ('99 painting) creates brash, vividly colored abstract paintings that have gathered attention from curators and collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. He has shown in Miami, Chicago, London and New York, and in 2004 he won the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Program Award. Two years after graduating from KCAI, he had his first solo exhibition at the Joseph Nease Gallery in Kansas City, and the same year he received a 2001 Charlotte Street Fund Award, which bestows no-strings-attached grants to outstanding Kansas City artists, strictly on the merits of their work. In 2002 he spent a year-long artist residency in Roswell, N.M., culminating the experience with a solo show at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Sall had this to say about the foundation program at KCAI: “From the very beginning you are introduced to an intensive and demanding practice in the studio. Everyone has their own space to do the work, which is critically important in developing a serious work ethic.”

Cat Thomas

“Kill Bill,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and “27 Dresses” have one thing in common besides being box-office hits: costumes designed by Cat Thomas ('93 fiber), who received two Costume Designers Guild award nominations for “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” Thomas has worked with some of Hollywood’s highest profile directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Robert Altman, Neil Jordan, Richard Shepard, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Edward Burns. After leaving KCAI, she moved to New York and worked as an intern in the costume department at the The Juilliard School. There she made the contacts that allowed her to find work in film, and in 1995 she began designing for motion pictures. Thomas said she gained valuable insight into group dynamics during her studio courses at KCAI. “Having a critique and being analyzed by a group of peers is probably the hardest thing for anyone to do,” Thomas said, noting that the experience taught her how to be open to modifying her ideas.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave ('82 fiber), who received a $50,000 United States Artists grant in 2006, creates fantastic, almost ritualistic costumes for performance and exhibition as sculpture. His Soundsuits, which rustle, swish, whoosh or crackle as they move, are in many private and museum collections. A professor in the fiber department at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cave said, “What I learned at KCAI was the importance of being able to allow yourself to explore the possibilities and to know that if I were to fall, I would still have the support of my professors. They challenged me, which allowed me to build trust in myself and to have a point of view — to have the confidence and the belief that I could turn this into a serious career.” (Photo by James Prinz)