Community Engagement

Creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum—it thrives on human connection. 

More than a college, KCAD strives to be a conduit through which individuals, organizations, and communities can collaborate across the barriers that divide us and leverage the transformative power of creativity to not just envision a better future, but make it a reality. 

Read on to learn more about some of the ways we're engaging with our surrounding community of West Michigan and beyond, and contact us if you have an idea of your own you'd like to discuss. 


Cultivate @ KCAD: Community Art Classes for Youths and Adults

Immersive and enriching community art classes have returned to the KCAD campus through collaboration with Cultivate, an independent, artist-run arts organization based in Grand Rapids. Cultivate's holistic and inclusive learning model is designed to educate and develop fluency with art tools and language, practice with critique and conversation, and uplift and support in a safe space for experimenting and creativity. Courses meet students where they are, providing a slow, intentional, and gentle learning environment that inspires, challenges, and empowers. 

Explore a wide variety of course offerings for youths ages 6-12 and adults, and get registered today!

A woman teaching a young girl how to draw with markers


The Spark: A Creative Retail Space

The Spark extends the creative community of KCAD into the wider community of West Michigan. Our collaborative and publicly-accessible retail space invites visitors to shop KCAD merchandise and handmade goods from a diversity of local artists and makers while providing events and opportunities that inspire creative connection and nurture professional growth. 

Whether you're an artist, designer, or maker looking to sell your goods in our large, naturally-lit, and highly visible storefront (on the corner of Division and Fountain), or just a lover of all things creative looking for unique handmade gifts, come check out The Spark today!

Visit The Spark

A store full of handmade creative good




Wege Prize International Student Design Competition

Organized by KCAD with support from The Wege Foundation, Wege Prize is an annual competition that ignites game-changing solutions for the future by inspiring college/university students around the world to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries to accelerate the transition to a sustainable circular economy.

Competitors apply as transdisciplinary teams of five, representing different academic disciplines, institutions, and degree levels. Teams contend for $65,000 (USD) in total cash prizes, all while learning—and helping to show the world—what the future of problem solving looks like.

More about Wege Prize

A group of young people huddled together showing off a trophy




Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio

Building on the successful framework of Wege Prize, the Wege Prize High School Collaborative Studio is a free two-week program that gives West Michigan high school students the chance to collaboratively learn design thinking and creative problem solving strategies and employ them to envision solutions to real-world challenges faced by people in their own communities.


A group of people gathered around a table looking at notes on a piece of paper