KCAI blog posts cool history lesson

The Kansas City Art Institute celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The school’s feed-worthy blog offers a short overview of the series of events that spawned KCAI. It started with a sketch club.

At first, according to the blog post, the art and artists centered on downtown:

The School of Fine Arts opened Jan. 2, 1888, in the Bayard Building at 1214 Main Street. Enrollment grew to 114 pupils in 1892, with members of the association numbering 264, and the school enjoying a reputation for providing fine facilities and equipment.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a story of turn-of-the-19th-century urban growth — when most structures were still wood-framed — without a little conflagration:

At some point in 1892, the school moved to 1012 – 1014 Walnut Street. This location proved to be disastrous for the fledgling art school. On the night of Jan. 12, 1893, all equipment held by the association was destroyed by fire.

The post cites as its primary source the three-volume 1908 title Kansas City Missouri: Its History and Its People, 1808-1908 by Carrie Westlake Whitney, specifically the chapter “Art Movements in Kansas City” by “Mrs. E. R. Weeks.” It’s way out of copyright, so you can read as much as your eyes can take here at Google Books.

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