M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1988
B.F.A., Herron School of Art, 1982
B.A., Indiana University, 1976


After studying biology at Purdue University, Kathleen O’Connell received a B.A. in biology from Indiana University, a B.F.A., magna cum laude, in visual communication from Herron School of Art, and an M.F.A. in illustration from Syracuse University. She joined Herron’s faculty in 1983 as a visiting lecturer. O’Connell has participated in numerous invitational and juried exhibitions throughout the country, including Hoosier Salon’s 93rd Annual Exhibition; “America’s Parks II,” a national traveling exhibition; and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles’s Annual Exhibitions. She retired in January 2020.


O’Connell is the recipient of several awards including the IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Award (2009-2010), a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship (2005-2006) from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and awards of merit from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.


  • Member, Watercolor Society of Indiana, 2005-2019
  • Member, Hoosier Salon, 2007-2019
  • Member, Kentucky Watercolor Society, 2006-2010
  • Member, Indiana Heritage Arts, 2006-2009
  • Member, Southside Art League, 2006
  • Member, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, 2000-2001
  • Member, Graphic Artists Guild, 1999-2001
  • Member, Indiana Wildlife Artists, 1995-1998
  • Vice President, Indiana Wildlife Artists, 1997
  • Exhibition Committee Member, Indiana Wildlife Artists, 1995