Non-credit Fine Arts Certificate

To better address the needs of students, this non-credit program has been organized so that it can be completed in a little over one year. Certificate courses circulate each session, providing flexibility for students to individualize their plan.

General guidelines

Students enrolled in the program should follow the recommended course sequence in order to complete this 10-class certificate. The program consists of three tiers with classes that build upon each other.

Individual certificate program classes are open to all students. Anyone interested in taking these classes for personal development is welcome.

Program features

A variety of classes are offered each session. Students may enter the program with no previous art experience. 

Students in this program will:

  • Build confidence in their artistic skills
  • Learn to uncover the language of historical and contemporary art
  • Play and experiment with new mediums
  • Deepen their understanding of visual art
  • Develop foundational skills in a variety of art forms

Students enrolled in the certificate program have certain KCAI library privileges. Students also will receive discounts with presentation of a KCAI student ID at select art supply stores in Kansas City, Mo.

Registration and tuition information

Because class enrollment numbers are limited, students are strongly encouraged to register for new classes as soon as registration opens to ensure a place in the course of their choice. Course listings are available online at here.

Courses may fill early and therefore close for enrollment before the registration period ends. Conversely, a course may be canceled due to lack of enrollment, and inquiries for the course often come after the cancellation; timely registration helps keep a chosen class open. Cancelled classes will be called five business days prior to the classes starting date.

Step 1: Create an account online

Before enrolling in classes, students must create an account.

Step 2: Complete an the certificate program application

Beginning students must complete the Fine Arts Certificate Program Application and submit a one-time, non-refundable $35 application fee.

Step 3: Enroll in classes!

Once an account has been created, students may add classes to an online cart. Adding classes to a cart does not ensure enrollment. Payment of all fees associated with each class is due to ensure enrollment and before a student can attend class.

Tuition reimbursement

Tuition reimbursement may be available through your employer. Consult your human resources/benefits department or supervisor for more information.

Lifetime learning tax credit

This tax credit applies to tuition and fees for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education course work. Students may be able to claim this credit if enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. The Kansas City Art Institute is an eligible institution. Amounts paid for any course that helps the student acquire or improve job skills are qualified expenses. In order to qualify for the lifetime learning credit, you must provide your legal name and social security number. Check with a tax professional to insure your eligibility for this tax credit.

Required classes

The Fine Arts Certificate program is organized into a three tier system, totaling ten classes. As students advance through each tier, classes become more focused giving students the freedom to build their schedule to fit their individual interest. Students working toward a certificate must complete all core classes within the first tier before moving onto the next.

Tier one

Elements and Principles of Design or Fundamentals of 2D Design (for-credit)

This course will introduce students to the elements of design, color, line, shape and form, space and texture, and the principles of design, balance, variety, proportion, emphasis, movement, harmony and rhythm. Students will learn to better understand their own artwork as well as other artwork. Students may choose between a non-credit or for-credit option. Register now.

Color Theory (NC/for-credit)

Color is an essential tool in the art and design field. This course will build confidence and skill through mixing exercises, lecture, demonstration, critique and practical application. Fundamental principles explored will include tone, value, contrast and hue. We will use simplified painting projects that incorporate color theory and a variety of painting styles. Students may choose between a non-credit or for-credit option. Register now.

Art Sofa

Welcome! Grab a seat, get comfortable and join us for a fun, informal examination of art history. This is the perfect class for anyone who has felt like an outsider to the art world but would really like to gain a basic understanding of key artists, movements and ideas throughout history. This course is designed with the "everyman" in mind. The instructor will distill information into manageable bites while encouraging an engaging, interactive, informal learning environment. All opinions and ideas are welcome in this class! Each block of classes will focus on key messages, ideas and stylistic hallmarks pertaining to western or non-western art throughout history. Handouts and materials will be provided for students to keep as reference. Register now.

Discover Drawing

This visually oriented class will consider the aesthetic and technical aspect of each medium through study of the figure, landscape and still life. An intuitive approach with an emphasis on process will be presented. Formal elements and contemporary concerns will be addressed through lectures, individualized instruction and group critiques. Register now.

Tier two

Students are required to complete three courses from the Discover Series in tier two of the Fine Art Certificate program. Each class is open to beginners who wish to experiement with multiple mediums. Play and experimentation are the keys in these classes, leading to a basic understanding of each medium. The Discover Series options are: Ceramics, Digital Media, Fiber, Painting, Papermaking, Photography, Printmaking, Sculptural Welding and Woodworking. Register now.

Tier three

Once Discover Series classes are complete, students are encouraged to deepen their understanding in a medium that appeals to them individually. Whether interested in 2D or 3D, or if you are a generalist who wants a little more of everything, our electives provide variety for all. These are the final recommended courses in the sequence.

Credits and transferring

Students may request a substitute class due to prior coursework or experience. Requests and approvals must be submitted to the adult studies program specialist. Documentation or a portfolio supporting the experience, or transcript, should be submitted to the Continuing and Professional Studies office prior to beginning the certificate program. Courses in this program are non-credit.

Certificate Completion

A certificate is issued following fulfillment of program requirements and after students have made a written request to the adult studies program specialist for the certificate and completed necessary paperwork. For more information, contact Hannah Lodwick at

CPS Enroll

Click here to enroll today in a class at the School for Continuing and Professional Studies at KCAI.

Spring 2019 Brochure

Download a PDF copy of the spring brochure. 

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