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Kathy Bussert-Webb


Interdisciplinary art, installations, performance & socially engaged art


My interdisciplinary practice explores ecology, gender, and consumption, particularly animals, females, and meat. My refugee mother experienced food insecurity, which she projected by having us eat (especially meat) until we were stuffed. Growing up with a polyglot Hungarian mother and teaching literacy methods in the Rio Grande Valley, TX, inform my hybrid practices, such as creating assemblage, including poetry and dialogue, and translanguaging (combining languages, such as Hungarian and English). I invite participants to use their senses when interacting with my work, like smelling bacon, opening doors, rattling soft sculptures, and turning pages of a children's book the size of a twin mattress. I incorporate a range of materials for installations, performances, and socially engaged art. I also upcycle materials from urban and rural areas because I hoard and improvise, like my late mother. For instance, in the tapestry/banner Us, I incorporate leather from a ripped couch, which I had saved after we replaced the cushion 10 years ago. Like a magpie, I incorporate discarded objects to turn junk into art, a metaphor for childhood trauma.

As I've healed from these traumas through creating, I focus on being in harmony with nature. For example, I make natural dyes and pigments, hand-embroider, and create sculptures, assemblages, and tapestries from fabric, found objects, wood, handmade paper, & non-toxic glue. I harvest algae and other plants for papermaking. I also create nature scenes with native seed bombs for climate-resilient species. My interest in sustainability emanates from positive childhood experiences in nature. I felt peace by exploring woods with my older sister, caring for our poultry, and helping with our family gardens. As my practice has evolved, it has become more abstract.


Dr. Kathy, a full-time multimedia artist, received a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in  studio art from UT-Rio Grande Valley in May 2022. Kathy was a fellow at the Chautauqua School of Visual Arts (Chautauqua, NY), Azule (Hot Springs, NC), Art Farm (Marquette, NE), Elsewhere Studios (Paonia, CO), Joya Art+Ecology AiR (Andalucía, Spain), Homestead National Historical Park (Beatrice, NE), & Vermont Studio Center ((Johnson, VE). Kathy has exhibited in several national/international juried and non-juried shows and has initiated several socially engaged art experiences with children and adults. She had pop-up installations and socially engaged art at the Children's Museum of Brownsville (TX) in 2021 and the International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS, McAllen, TX) in 2022.  Her solo shows include her MFA exhibition at UTRGV (March 2022), the Art Hub (May 2022), and the Brownsville Performing Arts Academy (June 2022). She's won awards at five juried local and national shows.  She published a photo of her ceramic piece and accompanying poem, and an article about her practice in national, peer-reviewed journals; she published two art reviews and an interview in Glasstire, a Texas art magazine. Dr. Kathy holds a Ph.D. in Language Education from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is Professor Emeritus in UTRGV’s Bilingual and Literacy Studies Department, a Slemp Endowed Chair of Community Engagement, and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras). Her 2023 nature accomplishment involved walking over 200 miles on the Camino Portuguese (from Porto) and receiving a Compostela certificate in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

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