A Standing Ovation for a Shining Career

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on October 14th, 2020

After years of deflecting the spotlight away from herself and, instead, toward the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, director Kathy Kelsey Foley is being ushered to center stage.

Kathy is receiving the Association of Midwest Museum’s Distinguished Career Award for her significant contributions to the museum field.

AMM is hosting a virtual community celebration and awards program honoring Kathy on Friday, November 13, 1 p.m. CST.  Register for the free program, open to all.

As throughout her twenty-eight years during two tenures at the Woodson Art Museum, Kathy continues to passionately advocate for the Museum and for making visual arts experiences accessible to all.

It’s a joy to share the news of this well-deserved recognition. An exemplary leader, Kathy models the professionalism and drive to exceed expectations that she expects staff to emulate. She pursues projects with determination, stamina, and tenacity. Supercharged with energy and brimming with an optimistic outlook, she enthusiastically champions the Museum’s mission to enhance lives through art.

Serving on various museum and community boards throughout her career, Kathy is generous with her time, talents, insights, and wisdom. She maintains personal connections infused with her trademark attention to detail through handwritten notes and email messages to artists, volunteers, members, and community partners.

A self-described “nurturer by nature,” Kathy takes great joy in seeing others grow and succeed professionally and personally. She consistently shines the spotlight on her staff team, which is an example of how she engenders such loyalty and longevity at the Museum.

At a time when strong leadership is crucial, she resolutely perseveres in rising to the many challenges presented by Covid-19. As a precaution, the Woodson Art Museum proactively closed temporarily, effective October 9 until further notice, due to the recent regional surge in Covid-19 numbers and to help slow the spread. For virtual sources of diversion and inspiration, explore the Museum’s website for online options and activities. “As we continue to navigate the pandemic’s uncharted waters,” she said, “we witness and foster the power of art to lift spirits.”

As Kathy continues her distinguished career, she’s not likely to linger in the limelight; she’ll continue to be a dynamo, pressing onward and upward. Here’s hoping she pauses to take a bow and bask in the glow.

Kathy Kelsey Foley, director, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum


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