What Sustains Us

photographs by Kay Herbst Helms in the Lower Level Gallery

Kay Helms is a photographer who lives and works in Mankato, Minnesota. She has sustained an interest in photography for over twenty years and has taken numerous classes and workshops throughout her life. Since retiring, Kay has become more serious about her career as a photographer. During the last three years, she has exhibited and sold her work at multiple venues and outlets across the state.  In addition, she has contributed artwork to three Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council (PLRAC) Juried Exhibitions.

In 2010, Kay photographed and interviewed 13 retired School Sisters of Notre Dame for her first solo exhibit, Blessed Are the Hands that Have Served.  Following her exhibition, she was awarded a PLRAC fellowship grant to continue her series with a new group of subjects. This led to her current series, a collection of words and photographs highlighting individuals who worked the land in south central Minnesota.

Referencing her current body of work Kay says, “If you held a drop of water in your hand, you would be holding the brief moment written of each person’s life.  If you study each hands photo, you will get a fleeting glimpse of a moment of their story.  Learning how the people in the exhibit have used their hands throughout their lives has been a gift to me, as I hope it will be to you.”


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