CV for downloadDreaming in Public video

Kay Westhues was raised in Indiana and her art practice has been based in the Midwest for most of her life. She studied art at Rhode Island School of Design, and earned an MS in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University and an MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY. Her work includes several long-term photography projects that incorporate video, sound, drawing, and ethnography.

Her art explores the ways in which rural tradition and history are understood, acted on, and recreated in everyday life. She approaches her projects with a sociological and narrative lens, and seeks not the most literal content but the most human and personal.

Solo and two-person exhibitions

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

Selected group exhibitions

Verde Variants, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL 2024

30th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Art Barn School of Art, Valparaiso, IN 2024

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, 30th Annual Juried Art Exhibition, Art Barn School of Art, Valparaiso, IN 2024

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, “Six Pieces.” The Glacier, edited by David Dodd Lee and Austin Veldman, Indiana University South Bend, 2023,  https://theglacierjournal.com/issue-two/

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.

Bibliography / Media

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 PlaceNo 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, “Free and Clear: Gathering at Artesian Wells” Daily Yonder, May 11, 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

Professional Memberships


Women’s Caucus for Art