Work of Native American Artist to Open in Museum Oct. 8


Artist Reception planned for Oct. 22


Sept. 24, 2004 – An exhibit of Native American art titled “Kay Walkingstick: Mythic Dances. Paintings From Four Decades” will open in the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum Oct. 8.

An opening reception is planned for 4 p.m. Oct. 22 when visitors may greet the Cherokee artist in the museum gallery, located in 122 Memorial Hall. Walkingstick will present a gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. The reception will precede a 5:30 p.m. ceremony planned on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University to retire the use of Native American nicknames at the University.

Walkingstick, of Ithaca, N.Y., is currently a professor of art at Cornell University, where she teaches undergraduate painting and drawing. She has had 30 one-person exhibits nationally and internationally. Her work also has been seen in many group exhibits. Last year, her work was displayed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York, as part of an exhibit titled “Continuum: 12 Artists.”

Walkingstick has spent extended periods of time working in Rome. In the summer of 1999, her work was seen at the Venice Biennial in an exhibit called “Ceremonial.”

She began painting landscape in the mid-1980s. Several years ago, she began including figures in her work. The theme of her work, however, has been constant and remains focused on the unknowable – the mythic.

Her emphasis on touch remains a constant in her artwork. In her early work, she used a dense acrylic and wax surface on one side and oil on the other, both of which she painted with her hands. Today, she is using a loose oil paint applied with brushes.

Walkingstick has said that her paintings “take a broad view of what constitutes Native American Art. My wish has been to express our Native and non-native shared identity. We humans of all races aremore alike than different, and it is this shared heritage, as well as my personal heritage, I wish to express. I want all people to hold onto their cultures – they are precious – but I also want to encourage a mutual recognition of shared being. My goal has always been to paint about who I am as a 20th/21st century artist, and also as a Native American.”

Walkingstick’s thoughts on native history filled her work for many years. Today, she deals with feelings and thoughts common to many.

“I would hope that these paintings encourage the viewer to see our shared humanity in all of its gritty, frightening, awkward, sexy, funny and beautiful commonality,” she has said.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., she holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Beaver College in Glenside, Pa., and a master of fine arts degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is affiliated with the June Kelly Gallery in New York, and her work often can be seen in Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., and the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, N.J.

Walkingstick received the 2003-2004 Distinguished Artist Award, Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Arts, from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. She was honored by the Women’s Caucus for Art in 1996 with the National Honor Award for Achievement in the Arts. She also has won the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting and the Florsheim Art Fund Award and received a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts to participate in a residency at the Rockefeller Conference and Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and New York and New Jersey Council for the Arts grants.

The exhibit of work in the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum will remain on display through Nov. 21. These events are free to the public and are supported by a congressionally directed grant administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. For more information, call Stanley Grand or John Adamik at (573) 651-2260 or visit