Kay Smith Artist Laureate of Illinois Water Color ArtKay Smith Artist Laureate of Illinois Water Color Art
I have been an artist all my life.
Kay Smith is the foremost historical watercolor painter in the United States. For 50 years, she has traveled the country capturing landmark events and sites with her paint brush. Her body of work, named the American Legacy Collection, earned her the distinction of Artist Laureate of Illinois, a lifetime appointment.

Born on a farm in southern Illinois, she came to Chicago to study at the School of the Art Institute. While working as an illustrator, she received a commission to do a series of paintings on America’s Bicentennial. That series has grown to include over 250 paintings and sketches. Along the way, Kay completed her Great American Racehorses Collection, featuring triple crown winner Secretariat. And, her Hemingway Collection, celebrating Ernest Hemingway’s life and writings in Cuba.

Aside from being Illinois’ Artist Laureate, Kay was the first historical artist to be awarded the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Kay has exhibited in numerous venues, including the Executive Mansion in Springfield, IL, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, IL and Yorktown Victory Center in Virginia.

Now well into her 90s and still painting, Kay is a national treasure as an artist and historian.