Evans, Terry

Year Inducted: 
  • Photographer/ Artist
  • 2013: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans
  • 1992: Smithsonian National Museum of Art, Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary Landscape Photography
  • 1996: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship 

In her more than forty years as a professional photographer, Kansas native Terry Evans has captured the land and the inhabitants of the Midwest and the Great Plains, offering a unique perspective on the ordinary.   A proud Jayhawk, receiving her bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Kansas, she has, as a nominator stated, “…brought recognition and acclaim to the state of Kansas in a way that few have done through her art.”

Through her extensive exhibitions, public engagements, and commitment to the nurturing of new, rising artists, she has become recognized nationally as an artist of importance. Her work has explored the impacts of the oil industry, the fragile ecosystems threatened by the shrinking of the Greenland Glacier, prairie landscapes across the Americas, and poverty in Kansas. Through Evans’ work, there has been a strong link made between photography and ecological and environmental concerns, including the future of our national landscapes. In photographing a place, Evans’ work demonstrates that art has the power to actively define a place. Her large body of work examines landscapes, individuals, and the environment encompassing issues of broad social and political importance.

Evans’ photography has been featured in museums across the country, including the National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Chicago Art Institute; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Library of Congress; the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art; and the KU Spencer Museum. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman Award (challenging sexism in art), and an honorary degree from KU in 2016.  She also has published in many national publications, and produced the nationally acclaimed book, Prairie Images of Ground and Sky.

                Evans is also known for her work as an educator and mentor.  She has taught both formally and informally, serving as a guest lecturer at Columbia College in Chicago for the past fourteen years.  A nominator commented: “Terry Evans has inspired many artists…Of particular importance is her influence on students.  Students learn by exercising personal creativity in context of respect.”  Evans’ work in art not only helped to legitimize photography as a serious medium, but also to elevate women artists.  Her impact is described by one of her nominators: “By blazing a trail in an under-recognized medium, Terry Evans showed every female artist that she has the ability to forge her own path, regardless of those who may say otherwise.”  

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