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Hollywood animator founds trade school in Kansas City

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Gavin Dell
Hollywood animator Gavin Dell started out doodling in front of the television. Now the 32-year animation veteran is opening a trade school in Kansas City to prepare young artists for careers in the industry.

A one-of-a-kind animation studio is coming to Kansas City, allowing students the opportunity to learn from experts in the field and develop portfolios for careers in the high-dollar industry.

Animation is an in-demand industry, with some starting jobs earning as much as $100k. But colleges aren't keeping up, according to Hollywood animator Gavin Dell.

Dell has spent more than 30 years in Los Angeles as an animator and director for shows like "Scooby Doo" and "Family Guy." Now the Kansas native is returning to the region to create an education opportunity for young animators.

The Hollywood Animation Academy, founded by Dell, will be the first-of-its-kind trade school, allowing students to develop their skills in film, television and gaming animation—at a fraction of the cost of traditional colleges and universities.

Animation schools can be found on the coasts, but Dell said the Midwest was lacking opportunities, making Kansas City an "obvious, great place to start."

Classes are online until the academy finds a permanent location.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz