Kathy Kelsey Foley | wisconsinacademy.org
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Kathy Kelsey Foley

Wisconsin Academy Fellow Induction Year: 2014
Arts Administrator
Area of Expertise:

Kathy Kelsey Foley has the distinction of having twice served as director of Wausau’s Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, her tenures separated by seven years. She returned to the Woodson in March 1998 and considers the time away from Wausau and the Museum “an extended sabbatical and important learning period.” 

Foley received her undergraduate degree in art history from Vassar College and a master’s degree, also in art history, from The Johns Hopkins University. Her museum training and experience include stints at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; The Dayton Art Institute; Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, where she was the founding director; and The Gap Inc., where she served as manager of corporate internal communication. 

Foley’s community and professional involvement includes prior service on the Boards of United Way, Wausau’s Performing Arts Foundation, and the Wausau–Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau. She currently serves on the Boards of Aspirus Wausau Hospital and Aspirus Clinics Inc., and chairs the Aspirus Wausau Hospital Accountability Committee and the Aspirus Inc. Quality Committee. Her involvement in the broader museum field includes a lengthy tenure on the Board of the Association of Midwest Museums, and service as an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant review panelist, American Alliance of Museums accreditation site visitor, and Smithsonian–Metropolitan Life grant reviewer.

Foley has been an advocate for the arts at both the federal and state levels, and was recognized by the American Alliance of Museums as a 2013 Star Advocate. She is passionate about her work at the Woodson Art Museum, and, like the museum, strives to “enhance lives through art” in the North Central Wisconsin community.

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