photo3 Discover the KIA: Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
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Discover the KIA: Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Since 1924, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo Michigan has been one of Southwest Michigan’s finest cultural havens. As a community art school and museum, the KIA strives to “cultivate both the creation and appreciation of the visual arts.”

Start planning your trip to this Michigan museum today!

About the KIA Kalamazoo Art Museum

Located at 314 S Park St near Downtown Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a destination for local residents and tourists alike.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ staff and board believe that the visual arts are for everyone, that they inspire, fulfill, and transform individuals. The KIA is a private non-profit organization that has provided opportunities for community members and tourists from all around the world to experience and produce art since 1924.

The KIA houses the KIA Gallery Shop, which features artwork by local artists and international artisans. The KIA hosts more than 5,000 fine artworks in its permanent collection, hosts touring and collection exhibitions in ten galleries, offers four terms of art classes at the Kirk Newman Art School, and hosts the Kirk Newman Art School.

Its impressive permanent collection features works from many celebrated artists, including Alexander Calder, William Merritt Chase, Andy Warhol, and Helen Frankenthaler. The front entrance holds a massive, vibrant, red-orange glass chandelier created by none other than Dale Chihuly.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts - Art Classes, Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts | photo via @ironside_eyes

Exhibits at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Original exhibits exploring the depths of its permanent collection and the range of cultures represented in the United States are presented by the KIA through a vigorous program of exhibitions organized by partner institutions from throughout the country.

During 2022, some of the exhibits include:

  • Unveiling American Genius
  • Vistas: Visions of Chian, Japan, and Korea
  • Arty’s Zooseum
  • Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review
  • Africa, Imagined: Reflections on Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Lingling Lu: Musical Meditations
  • Colors! Shapes! Patterns!
  • Young Artists of Kalamazoo County & High School Area Show
  • West Michigan Area Show

As these exhibits change frequently, it’s easy to enjoy multiple visits a year to the Kalamazoo art museum! Check the KIA website for the current exhibits.

Art Classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

The permanent collection and exhibitions are only half the fun. The Kirk Newman Art School offers over 300 art classes, enjoyed by over 3,000 students every year. Courses include ceramics, sculpture, jewelry making, printmaking, photography, fibers, and glass fusing. Their facilities are top-notch and provide cutting-edge equipment.

Students are able to explore art in ways they might not otherwise be able to.

  • The ceramics department houses electric, gas, salt, and raku kilns, as well as two off-site, wood-burning, anagama kilns.
  • If you are interested in sculpture, you can employ the use of clay, metal welding, and wood and bronze casting foundry.
  • Printmaking covers Intaglio, photo etching, woodblock, lithography, and serigraphy.
  • In Fibers, play with 20 floor looms, spinning wheels, and use equipment for felting and dyeing.

The list goes on and on!

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts | photo via @jenslenskzoo

Meader Fine Art Library in Kalamazoo Michigan

The institution is also home to the Mary and Edwin Meader Fine Art Library, open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The library offers books, exhibit catalogs, DVDs, art-related periodicals, and artists files.

Anyone is welcome to peruse the resources and KIA members can check materials out.

Fun for Kids at the Kalamazoo Art Museum

If you are looking for fun, free activities for kids, take them down to the lower-level galleries to visit the recently renovated UpJohn Mason Grandchildren Interactive Gallery.

There are games, puzzles, and books available. Grab an activity bag and enjoy and learn about the art by completing a scavenger hunt!

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts | photo via @kalamazooinstituteofarts

More to Explore at KIA in Kalamazoo

Museum tours, exhibitions, and workshops are just a few of the activities offered by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

The KIA also offers art camps for children, team-building workshops, certificate programs, and even scholarships. Over 200 awards are granted annually. They cover half or all of a child, young artist, or adult’s tuition.

There are two types available, merit and need-based. One can apply via the kiarts.org website.

Finally, the museum’s Gallery Shop is a great place to find unique gifts. Buy cards, jewelry, clothing, sculptures, and ceramics from your favorite Michigan artists.

The gallery shop is currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm.

Thanks to Lindsey Hinkel for her contributions to this article.

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