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Kathy Liao

Kansas City, Missouri

Artworks shown are selected from works submitted by the artist in their grant or residency application. All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.

About Kathy Liao

A portrait of Kathy Liao with her hands resting on her lap as she faces the camera. She is a Taiwanese-American woman with dark hair pulled back, and wears a striped tank top with a bright multicolor pleated skirt.
Photo by Molly Stinchfield

Kathy Liao sees herself as a connector and bridge builder. Her practice exists in multitudes: as a visual artist, educator, arts administrator, advocate, organizer, citizen, and member of her community. Since moving to the Midwest eight years ago, Liao found belonging through facilitating and organizing spaces towards a more inclusive and equitable arts and culture ecosystem for creatives to thrive. As a Taiwanese American artist, Liao looks for patterns and repetitions that weave through the immigrant families’ experience in her mixed-media work. She is a recipient of various awards, including the 2022 21c KC Artadia Award, 2020 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award, and a public art commission for the new Kansas City International Airport. As a mentor and educator, Liao has lectured and presented at multiple institutions and conferences across the country. Formerly, Liao was Director of the Painting and Printmaking department at Missouri Western State University. She was nominated “Most Influential Professor” in 2019. Currently, she advocates for holistic support for artists’ livelihood in her role as the Access and Inclusion Program Officer at Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Program Participation

Joan Mitchell Fellowship, 2023

Website / Social Links

There are familiar rituals performed by many immigrant families, navigating the transient spaces of the in-between. My paintings and installations are populated by people en route, often migrants physically inhabiting transitional spaces such as airports, bus depots, and train stations. In my recent work, I am cognizant of the potential hazards of these gaps—separation, loss, marginalization; yet, I lean into the boundless depths of human conditions within these spaces.”