Kay Westhues is a photographer and folklorist who is interested in documenting the ways in which rural tradition and history are interpreted and transformed in the present day. Through her work she aims to describe the vitality and complexity of places and people whose lives are often overlooked and unexamined.
Kay has a M.A. degree in Folk Studies (2017) from Western Kentucky University, a M.S. in Instructional Systems Technology (1998) from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a B.S. degree in Photography and Ethnocentrism from the Individualized Major Program at Indiana University, Bloomington (1994). She is a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Communication and Creative Arts at Purdue Northwest.
Journey Through Indiana: The Photographs of Kay Westhues & John Bower, Midwest Museum of American Art (Elkhart, IN) 2022
The Specialness of Springs, Moreau Art Galleries, Moreau Center for the Arts, Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame, IN) 2021
The Portage Path: Returning to Our History, Snite Museum of Art (Notre Dame, IN) 2016
Sense of Place: Rural Narratives, South Shore Arts Center, Munster, IN 2012
Well Stories, South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN 2011
A Sense of Place: Rural Indiana Narratives, Noyes Cultural Art Center, Evanston, IL 2010
Fourteen places to eat: A narrative, Pictura Gallery, Bloomington, IN 2010
Fourteen places to eat: A narrative, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN 2009
Everyday Mysteries: Photographs by Kay Westhues, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN 2008
American Portraits: Identity, Persona, & Power, Midwest Museum of American Art (Elkhart, IN) 2023
Mark My Words, Chesterton Art Center (Chesterton, IN) 2022
Elkhart Juried Regional, Midwest Museum of American Art (Elkhart, IN) 2021-23, 2019, 2018, 2006-04
Alone Together: Visual Stories of the Pandemic, South Haven Center for the Arts (South Haven, MI) 2021
Reciprocity, Woman Made Gallery (Chicago, IL) 2021
Politics and Religion, Midwest Museum of American Art (Elkhart, IN) 2020
Gaia Weeps: Featuring Frederica Armstrong, Isabella La Rocca González, Carolyn Monastra and Kay Westhues, Aegon Gallery, Centre College (Danville, KY) 2019
Women, Home, and the Revolution of Memory, South Bend Civic Theatre (South Bend, IN) 2019
Laundry Days, Colfax Cultural Center (South Bend, IN) 2018
Stephen Takics and Kay Westhues, Krempp Gallery (Jasper, IN) 2016
MAN + LAND + WATER, Rutledge Gallery, Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC) 2015
South Bend Selfie, South Bend Museum of Art (South Bend, IN), 2015
The Blue Library, Press Street’s Antenna Gallery (New Orleans, LA), 2014
Portfolio Showcase: Rural Culture, Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY 2014
Water: A Universal Human Right, Robert Morris State Street Gallery, Chicago, IL 2014
SURFACE TENSION: The Future of Water, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada 2013-14
SURFACE TENSION: The Future of Water, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York, NY 2012
SURFACE TENSION: The Future of Water, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland 2011-12
The Project, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL 2011
Water/Rock/Wood, 2739 Edwin Gallery, Hamtramck, MI 2011
Take a Look: A Selection of Recent Photography Acquisitions, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 2010
Salon Show, South Shore Arts, Munster, IN 2009
Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2009 – 8th International Festival of Photography in Lodz, Poland 2009
Rockford Midwestern, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL 2008
“Beyond Bloomington” Atypical Urbanscapes, through the lens of 7 photographers, Prima Gallery, Bloomington, IN 2008
Focus: Midwest, Midwest Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, IN 2008
Joyce Elaine Grant Photography Exhibition, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX 2008
Mary Beth Creiger Memorial Photo Exhibition, Around the Coyote gallery, Chicago, IL 2007
Group Show # 19, Humble Arts Foundation (online exhibit) 2007
Salon Show, South Shore Arts, Munster, IN 2007
Biennial 24, South Bend Regional Museum of Art, South Bend, IN 2007
Merit Award - Photography, 45th Elkhart Juried Regional Exhibition, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN, 2023
Women of IU South Bend Grant 2021
Indiana University South Bend’s Center for a Sustainable Future Sustainability Fellow 2019-20
Project Director and Scholar, Indiana Humanities Action Grant, supported by the Calumet Heritage Project 2019
Indiana Arts Commission Arts in the Parks Grant, 2019, 2020
Kentucky Oral History Commission Project Grant, 2016
Puffin Foundation West Project Grant, 2013
Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Project Grant 2013, 2010, 2007
Helen V. Surovek Memorial Award, South Shore Arts, Munster, IN 2012
Indiana Artisan Project Grant, 2009
Past Presidents’ Award, Salon Show, South Shore Arts, Munster IN 2009
Best 2-D award, Rockford Midwestern, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford IL 2008
Merit award, 64th Annual Salon Show, South Shore Arts, Munster, IN, 2007
Westhues, Kay. “The Spring at Small Farms.” The Gary Anthology, edited by Samuel Love, Belt Publishing, 2020, pp. 86-94.
Westhues, Kay. “Flowing Well Park: Localized Water Knowledge, Community, and Stewardship as Expressed in Community Springs.” Southeastern Geographer, vol. 57 no. 2, 2017, pp. 107-109.
Westhues, Kay, Family Faith Food, edited by Shaun H. Kelly, STRANT, 2016, pp 11, 30.
PAN-O-PLY, Story & Art Michiana, Winter Release 2022, https://www.flipsnack.com/panoplymichiana/pan-o-plywinter-22.html
Art on The Air, Lakeshore Public Radio, Valparaiso, IN, October 30, 2020
YIELD Magazine, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, Issue 02, April 2016, http://002.yieldmagazine.org.
Grass Roots Media, Dreaming in Public, WNIT, South Bend, IN, June 26, 2015, https://vimeo.com/119558418 .
Robert Hariman, Photographer’s Showcase: A Sense of Place, No Caption Needed, September 3, 2010
Erik Eckholm, “Bubbling Up From the Earth, A Cool, Clear Gift” New York Times, June 7, 2010, A10.
Rhod Sharp, Interview, BBC Radio 5 live, London, United Kingdom, June 7, 2010.
Julie Audery, “Back Home in (Exotic) Indiana” Daily Yonder, October 17, 2007.
Interview, Vocalo, Chicago Public Radio, Chesterton, IN, August 3, 2007.
Photo feature: “Il fotoblog dei ristoranti Usa” La Repubblica.it, May 2006
American Folklore Society
Women’s Caucus for Art
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