Kathy Reddy White

The Friends of the Snite Museum of Art are very pleased to introduce you to board member, Kathy Reddy White! 

Kathy was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, and received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (BFA) from Saint Mary’s College in the 1970s, and her master’s degree in Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Notre Dame in the 1980s. With her MFA in hand, Kathy’s professional career brought her to Kirsch Company in the marketing department where she worked for nearly 15 years, then to Todd Allen in graphic design, and then something very significant happened! In 2001 and on her own in 2001, Kathy developed the concept and opened CircaArts Gallery. The gallery began as a part-time endeavor but within a year took on a full-time life. The 20th anniversary of CircaArts Gallery will be next year!

When asked about how she first learned of the Snite Museum of Art and how she became involved, Kathy replied, “As an artist, I was always aware of galleries in the area. My father, Charles Reddy, was the Insurance Officer at Notre Dame when the Snite Museum opened. He worked closely with Dean Porter and I would hear stories of the collaboration. I became involved with the Friends of the Snite through Pat Kill. My husband Gary worked for her husband Bob at Hacienda Mexican Restaurants, so we knew each other.”

Kathy’s own creative passion in the arts revolves around tiles and painting, and is what ignited her interest to open CircaArts to help represent local artists, including herself. Kathy also helped in 2003 to begin what has now become one of South Bend’s greatest signature artistic and cultural events – Art Beat. Art Beat is a signature downtown South Bend annual event (and the largest annual event in downtown), showcasing the work of over 800 local visual, performing, and culinary artists, drawing over 10,000 visitors annually!

CircaArts

Kathy has also been involved with Spring Art Walks, Holiday Art Walks, and has directly worked with and supported other events like the music Hip Pocket walks. Kathy reflected, “I devoted a lot of time to conceptualizing and coordinating events for a long time, but now I am devoting much more time to my own artwork. Even though I collaborate less now than I used to, I’m still fairly involved in work other than my own. For instance, I’m involved with a small group creating Curate South Bend, which is an effort to expose all the art spaces in South Bend. South Bend doesn’t have arts guild or easy way of showing off all that is going on here, so we are taking on the challenge as a grass roots group.” 

Kathy credits the Snite Museum of Art for sparking her own interest in what she calls “serious art”, drawing more of her attention to the Chicago Art Institute and South Bend Museum of Art. Kathy said, “CircaArts represents local artists, and the South Bend Museum of Art shows local and regional artists. The Snite takes us all over the world. The Snite also collaborates with the community and other kinds of art, like featuring local artists at their events with the music venue created in the Snite lobby area that showcases our great local talent like Merriman's Playhouse.”

Kathy’s own studies at Notre Dame back in the day allowed her to be a part of the graduate thesis exhibit, and seeing great exhibitions and events like the Maria Tomasula show. In fact, Kathy was the first female to receive an MFA degree in Industrial Design graduate department. Kathy sells many of her Notre Dame related tiles to the Notre Dame Development Department who gives them to certain level donors or as thank you gifts at events. “A couple of the tiles have made it to Rome!” Kathy exclaimed.

Kathy and her husband Gary bought the building where CircaArts Gallery resides when they visualized “the untapped potential of the East Bank Village. We were ahead of our time. The building is 1.2 miles from the entrance to Notre Dame and just over the bridge from downtown South Bend, and just a block from the river and the East Race Waterway. We rehabbed the building and it is now on the Historic Register. I’m happy we have been instrumental in waking up the energy in the East Bank Village –  we fought poor development and heralded good development. I have a reputation for being strong-headed, but that's what it takes!”

Kathy will have an exhibit at Colfax Cultural Center in the future focusing on her endangered species series she is creating on tiles. I plan on getting this important climate change message out to galleries across the country.

endangered species

Juliane Morris, Friends Board of Directors

September 2019