Kappa Pi: The International Art Honor Society

Kappa Pi: The International Art Honor Society

Melissa W.

We’re all stuck inside a bit more right now and looking for things to do to occupy our time. Art is a great outlet for so many and craft stores have been seeing items fly off their shelves, presumably by those of us looking for a relaxing pastime or something enriching to do with the kids in between virtual learning. Unsurprisingly for Kappa Pi members, art is often seen as a therapy, which is perfect for 2020!

Founded in 1911 at the University of Kentucky, Kappa Pi was originally meant to be more of a social/study group for students to discuss and critique their own visual artwork than the honor society it is today. The small group of students started Kappa Pi as more of a casual thing because they were more interested in their own art than going through the proper channels of forming an organization. It was so casual in the beginning, in fact, that in the early days, it wasn’t even a requirement to be a student. Members who had an interest in art and/or wanted just to be a friendly person go out and paint with were welcome.

The organization states on its website that “For 100 years now, Kappa Pi has offered thousands of art students and professionals a group to call home and an umbrella under which success, talent, creativity, and scholarship can be covered. In hundreds of chapters around the United States and abroad, students and professionals with a similar passion for visual art are today enjoying the excursions, lectures, exhibitions, and companionship that comes from being part of a group of like-minded individuals.”

Today, membership requirements for Kappa Pi are a little more strict. Anyone interested in joining the organization must now be a student who studied a minimum of 12 semester hours in art with an overall B-average in those classes. Additionally, students must hold a minimum of a C-average in all other courses and produce “outstanding” work. Once students meet the minimum requirements, they must then be nominated by several faculty members of their art department and/or be chosen based on a portfolio review of their work. Each chapter has its own requirements for membership above the minimum requirements.

There are currently 360 Kappa Pi chapters internationally and you’ll recognize members on graduation day by their purple and gold honor cords.

purple and gold honor cord from senior class graduation products

Are you a member of Kappa Pi? What form of visual art do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!


Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

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