A North Dakota native, she’s lived in Newport since 1979. “One of the first things I did [when I moved to Oregon] was join OCCA, which was pretty new then, and I went to plays at the Naterlin Center,” she reflects.
Kay emphasizes that her childhood access to the arts developed her love for them: “My childhood in rural North Dakota was filled with books, hours at the piano, the writing of little stories, collecting insects (for a while I was pretty sure I was going to be an entomologist) and my pet cats, dogs and rabbits, drawing and watercolor painting and puppet theaters made in empty tissue boxes.”
Interest in mathematics took over in high school and, at university, led to a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in public policy economics. “Now that I am retired, I look forward to working with the ... federation of artists that is the OCCA,” she says. “No matter how much one may love the symphony or theater or chamber music, it all has to work together. No one element can survive by itself; the economics of singularity simply doesn’t work in the arts.” While living in the Midwest, Kay was active in the arts. She attended the Metropolitan Opera’s Midwest Week each year in Minneapolis, and through her husband, met many speakers, musicians, theatre groups, dance artists, etc., at the college where he worked. “I was ‘hostess without portfolio’ for that 10-year period,” she recalled. In Los Angeles, events at the Music Center filled her arts needs. Kay worked for nearly four decades in the energy industry, in utilities and consulting for a multi-state electric cooperative utility. Her work here at Central Lincoln PUD required much time in regional policy meetings in the valley, but she still found time to be a 1998-1999 OCCA board member. Kay observes, “In order to have genuine local access to the arts for everyone we must maintain a joint effort of creation, maintenance, financing, sharing and sometimes just paying attention. The future of the OCCA is what we make it,” she continued. “We have so many events and opportunities right here on the coast. It’s really amazing. Much of what we have is due to the generosity of individuals who have chosen to share their good fortune. We have the PAC at Newport and all the HD reception equipment and underwriting support, and donations for the various member organizations that are under the OCCA umbrella all up and down the Oregon coast. Now we begin the important job of fund-raising for the PAC expansion and upgrade so it will be ready for growing audiences and those future generations of young aspiring artists who will launch their arts careers from the coast,” says Kay. OCCA thanks Kay for also being an Opera Host and Jazz Club member. Welcome to the arts leadership team.