A Conversation with Kay Leach ’15

By | February 8, 2022

Kay Leach

Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) alum Kay Leach ’15 returned to Daemen last year to serve the department in a new role as administrative coordinator.

Kay holds an undergraduate degree in art education from Daemen and a Master of Fine Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

At Daemen, she serves as the liaison between VPA faculty and the community and campus. She builds relationships in the region and coordinates events with local high school teachers, artists, and more.

Currently, Kay is coordinating the department’s new initiative, EMERGENCE – a two-month celebration featuring art shows, performances, lectures, and panel discussions recognizing early career artists who make an impact on culture in Western New York.

We spoke with Kay about her connection to Daemen, her interests and what she looks forward to as she progresses in her new role. 

What brought you back Daemen’s Visual and Performing Arts Department – this time as an employee?

In a way, I am coming home. I’ve worked for four years as a teacher and after earning my master’s degree in 2020, I wanted to come back to Daemen and apply my new skills to give back to and help better this community. 

What is something you wish you had access to when you were a student at Daemen that is now available?

When I interviewed for this position, I learned about the new Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts program.  

Although I graduated with an art education degree, I know I would have pursued this program as a Daemen undergraduate – because it allows students to straddle entrepreneurship, academics and the arts all at once. There are so many opportunities in that space.  

Kay Leach’s store I Am Magick

What inspires you to pursue your field?

As a visually literate person, I’m passionate about using my talents and abilities to create bridges between concepts that aren’t typically connected – or coming to conclusions in a creative way. 

This form of expression and communication has always been easier for me than speaking or writing.

Tell us about an experience you’ve had that combines entrepreneurship and the arts?

I own my own business called I am Magick. I have a storefront in Buffalo.

It’s a space where people can access mind-opening tools centered around mindfulness practice – including crystals, taro and overall spiritual items. My main goal through my shop is to encourage individual mindfulness for conscious communities, in order to encourage inclusivity and collaboration.

Also, I launched a buy-,  sell- and trade-based project to redistribute art supplies throughout the arts community during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a convenient resource for artists looking to obtain supplies and resources they needed while shops were closed. This allowed them to continue creating their work at home. 

What teacher made the most lasting impression on you at Daemen?

My former professor Mary Wolf went the extra mile in encouraging me to take my learning experience outside of the classroom walls and into the real world.

She gave me the push I needed as a college student to explore and learn through work in the community. For example, my class went to local arts studios on Saturday morning to teach classes.

I’ve always been an advocate for Daemen because of this emphasis on having one-on-one experiences with faculty and mentors. It’s what made my experience as a student so impactful to what I do today. 

What’s next for you in your work?  What are you looking forward to?

My main goal is to help Daemen become more of a resource to the broader community, as well as fostering more interest from community members about all we offer as an institution. 

I believe that increasing the college’s interaction with community members and organizations is mutually beneficial for both parties.

Above all, I want to grow our connections to expand the reach of our programs. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.