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Artist/Naturalist Pages
Kelly Finnerty
1952 -


 Kelly Finnerty has been opening the possibilities of art to children and adults for thirty years.

Kelly is a visual artist and educator with an M.A. in creative arts from San Francisco State University. As an artist in residence in inner-city San Francisco schools, she did groundbreaking work with such bookmaking projects as field guides to saltmarsh wildlife, all based on kids' own responses to nature.

Kelly has received an  International Partnership Among Museums grant to develop an exhibit of children's culture with Museum Siwalima, Bali, Indonesia. Kelly was formerly the Science Museum of Minnesota's Program Coordinator for the Museum Magnet School in Saint Paul. She is currently Director of Education and Exhibets at the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, MN. Kelly also teaches for The Center for Environmental Education at Hamline University Graduate School.

Self-Portrait with photo of mother as girl Snake Series 1
Snake Series 2
Snake Series 3


Eco-Principle Series: All Lives Seek Balance
Eco-Principle Series: Life Lives in Circles
Eco-Principle Series: Energy Flows From the Sun
Eco-Principle Series: All Lives Transform
Eco-Principle Series: We all Belong to the Biosphere
Cover Illustration for John Caddy's "The People of Glass"
Fox Woman


In Her Own Words

I like to draw whatever is right in front of me when I'm sitting near water or beneath trees. I don't really see until I begin to draw. Drawing helps me understand what I'm seeing. It seems to untie knots of confusion within my mind as I work.  

Watercolor pencils are my favorite for outdoor drawing.  

I like drawing the stuff that gets left behind after something has gone through a great change--shells, seed pods, bones, snakeskins, cicada shells. I consider these things treasures.  

Human faces are interesting to me; they mirror the whole world. They contain mountains and oceans, flowers and storms. I draw and paint and sculpt faces. 

Now I'm beginning to work with clay. I love the feeling of working with the earth directly. I'm planning to make some masks of clay soon that will speak for the prairie and for the ocean. I know the ocean best since I come from California, but I'm beginning to learn the prairie. Artmaking will help me learn it better. 



Go to Kelly's Tips for Teaching Art

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