KCC to exhibit photographer Cara Lee Wade’s “Legacy: Alzheimer’s Stories” exhibit Feb. 26-March 21 in Battle Creek

Kellogg Community College will exhibit nearly three dozen works by Indiana photographer and arts educator Cara Lee Wade in February and March on campus in Battle Creek. 

Wade’s exhibit, titled “Legacy: Alzheimer’s Stories,” explores themes of memory, family and the impact of Alzheimer’s and will run from Feb. 26 through March 21 in the KCC Davidson Visual and Performing Arts Center’s Eleanor R. and Robert A. DeVries Gallery, on campus at 450 North Ave. in Battle Creek.  

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular gallery business hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.  

A closing reception – also free and open to the public – will be held with the artist from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in the gallery. 

In an artist’s statement, Wade says the images that make up her “Legacy” exhibit were inspired by her grandmothers, who were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1999 and died in 2004.  

“As a result, I have become obsessed with absorbing my grandmothers’ and consequently my own past,” Wade says. “As they struggled to retain their identity and their memories, I am now determined to gather them and add them to my own. The result is this imagery.” 

Wade began working on the “Legacy” project as part of a graduate school assignment in 2000 as a way to cope with her grandmothers’ illness, adding images to the series every few years. The images feature items and locations belonging to or inspired by her grandmothers, as well as “my own physical and mental inheritance,” she says.   

All images were captured with a large-format 1947 4- by 5-inch Graflex “press camera” using sheet film, then scanned and archivally printed on watercolor paper in editions of 25.   

“Using myself and these everyday things along with my memories and those given to me by members of my family, as well as a vast collection of family photographs, I have built narratives within the frame,” Wade says. “Through the years and through the course of creating, some of the narratives have strayed, making this work a reflection of myself to a much greater extent than I ever could have imagined, and I have realized just how deeply rooted in my ancestry I am.” 

Born in Oklahoma but calling coastal Georgia home, Wade’s military father took the family to places all over the country, igniting her interest in diverse subjects. During her academic career she majored in many things, from Musical Theatre to Archaeology, ultimately receiving undergraduate degrees in Education and English. Wade took her first photo class as an elective during her senior year of college and from her first experience in the darkroom, she knew her world was changed.

Wade later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004 and began teaching the following fall at University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, where she is Professor of Photography and Digital Imaging.

Wade exhibits regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2024, she has solo exhibitions planned at the First Presbyterian Art Gallery in Fort Wayne; Jasper Arts Center in Jasper, Indiana; the Rosewood Arts Center in Kettering, Ohio; and Sinclair Community College in Dayton; in addition to KCC. She’s also participating in group shows at the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart and the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. 

For more information about the artist, visit caraleewade.com. For more information about the exhibit or other KCC arts events and initiatives, contact KCC’s Arts and Communication Office at 269-965-4126. 

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