WalkingStick to Receive Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 13, 2011

On Friday, May 20, at the Undergraduate Commencement an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be awarded to Kay WalkingStick ’59. An alumna of Arcadia University, WalkingStick is an award-winning artist whose paintings are owned by more than 30 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, N.Y., the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa.

Her paintings take a broad view of what constitutes Native American art and express a native and non-native shared identity. Many of her paintings and sketches are based on her travels while teaching and lecturing in the American Southwest and in Italy.

Since 1976 she has been featured in more than 15 solo exhibitions. In 1983 she was given a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Fellowship. Her work was included in Shared Visions: American Painters and Sculptors in the Twentieth Century, first shown at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. The National Museum of the American Indian is currently exhibiting a work in the Vantage Point exhibition. A retrospective of her work is planned for 2015.

After earning a B.A. degree in painting from Arcadia in 1959, WalkingStick earned an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute. She has received numerous awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts NYSCA grant, the Distinguished Artist Award, an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Artists at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, and a Rockefeller Foundation Residency in Bellagio, Italy. She also was honored recently with a three-year Lee Krasner Grant award for lifetime achievement by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Her work is included in H.R. Janson’s History of Art, fifth and sixth editions (1995-97).

In addition to being an artist, WalkingStick also taught at Cornell University for 17 years as a Professor of Art. She retired from Cornell in 2005 as Professor Emerita.