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Davis, Kathryn


Kathryn Davis

DAVIS, Kathryn (1951-2010)
Museum and Art Gallery Administrator

Kathryn (Kate) Anne Davis was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1951. She attended Bradley University from 1969 to 1973 where she graduated with an undergraduate degree in art history. From 1974 to 1976 Davis attended the University of Chicago for graduate studies in art history, with a focus on contemporary art. From 1977 to 1980 Davis attended the University of New Mexico. After finishing her graduate studies she moved to Canada in 1981 and in 1982 she got job as Registrar at the Edmonton Art Gallery. She later advanced to the role of Photography/Curatorial Manager. It was here that she realized her calling as a museum administrator and started her successful and fulfilling life long career.

Davis moved to Calgary in 1986 after accepting the Director of Programs job at the Glenbow Museum. In 1993 Davis moved to Manitoba where she worked as the Deputy Director at the Winnipeg Gallery. In 1997, Davis became the Director of the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina. During her twelve years working there, Davis transformed the traditional art gallery into an institution not only of excellence and high quality, but also a gallery with strong community and local cultural connections. An example of this is the artist-led programs directed at youth in the inner cities and reserves.

From 2000 to 2004 Davis served as the President of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO). Davis was a board member for the Canadian Museum Association and for the International Council of Museums. Davis also belonged to many professional committees and juries related to the art community.

Davis received several honours for her work; the highest was being inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association in 2009. She also received many awards over her life including: the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005), City of Regina’s Mayor's Award for Business and the Arts (2006) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (2010).

Davis retired from the Mackenzie Art Gallery in 2008. In 2009 Davis took a special assignment at the Art Gallery of Ontario, hoping change in career would bring her personal growth. However, Davis became ill with a progressive cancer and died in October 21, 2010.

Written by Amanda Chiddenton
Photo credit: Don Hall, Audio Visual Services,
University of Regina

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)


2011-12 - Professional Papers. 1974-2010