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Kristan McKinsey knows art and loves it with all her heart. She makes the tri-county area a more beautiful place to live by sharing her passion and expertise. As a citizen of the world (she grew up in India, and travels and studies widely) she embraces the diversity, meaning, and beauty of art from all its creators and shares it with others. She leads and creates, tries new things, and helps people succeed.

Under McKinsey’s leadership, the Fine Arts Society of Peoria delivered programs via Zoom and posted recordings to over 2,000 people during COVID. She worked 32 years as curator and art historian and produced over 150 exhibits (including several that won Illinois Association of Museums awards) and more than 30 museum articles. She served as the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at Lakeview Museum (1996-2012) and was the founding curator at Peoria Riverfront Museum (2012-2016). As Director of the Illinois Women Artists Project at Bradley University, she organized and led every Midwest Women Artists Symposium from 2011 to present. McKinsey also hosted two major exhibitions of Illinois Women Artists’ work prior to becoming project director.

One of her nominators, Ann Kenney Lynch, President of the Fine Arts Society of Peoria, noted: “She is my colleague and more than that, a friend. She has been an excellent advisor for me as her successor as Fine Arts Society President. Let me assure you, she is a tough act to follow. Working together with the rest of our Board we have made our organization stronger with an even greater sense of our mission to ‘explore, expand, and enliven the arts’ here in Central Illinois.”

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