Mesa Historical Museum room pays homage to an artist | Our community

ART enthusiasts, and especially those who love cats, might be interested in a new exhibit at the Mesa Historical Museum

The museum’s executive director, Susan Ricci, opened an entire room dedicated to the work of Arizona artist Karen Kuykendall.

Ricci said that when Kuykendall passed away in 1998, she left her entire collection at what was then known as the Southwest Museum, which eventually became the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

“Now it belongs to the Mesa Historical Museum,” said Ricci, noting that the Mesa Historical Museum has over 1,000 pieces of Kuykendall’s paintings, costumes, jewelry and papier-mâché creations, which have been on display in the past. at the Phoenix Art Museum and at the Tucson Art Museum.

“It’s eclectic,” Ricci said.

One of Kuykendall’s most famous creations is a line of work featuring cats and people with cats.

“She was known as the Cat Lady because she created a line of fantasy sci-fi paintings that turned into books and then tarot cards that are still in print today.”

Ricci said.

“But she also created some amazing paintings that weren’t related to cats and we’re showing them for the first time in over 20 years.”

Kuykendall was a published author and teacher, and cats inspired many of his works of art, including dolls, sculptures and paintings, according to Ricci.

“Karen has developed several distinct styles of art over the course of her life,” said Ricci, adding that with over 1,000 pieces of her work it was natural to dedicate a room where museum visitors can enjoy.


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