Baleja, Kathleen

Kathleen grew up on a farm on the Manitoba prairies. She began piano lessons in Winnipeg at the age of nine and still recalls the thrill of composing short four part works in Harmony classes. Dance lessons also began early and at age twelve she had the fortune to be asked to dance with a group of young dancers in a Royal Winnipeg Ballet production. This solid dance training would creep back into her life many years later.

She was always busy with her hands, creating, experimenting and improvising making pictures from dyed seeds, constructing miniature twig furniture and modeling animals from dried white glue.

Risk taking has been central to her life: In high school, she and a friend were the first females to take industrial arts; she was the first female hired as a grounds keeper at a golf club; in her late 30’s she began working collaboratively with a weaver and quilter creating multi media pieces of art; at age 39 she went back to high school to take welding; at 45 took up scuba diving and now has her advanced open water certificate; in her late 40’s she has taken up Liturgical Dance, yoga, Tai Chi and drumming.

Kathleen attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a degree in Human Ecology.  She went on to work in the Early Childhood Education Field directing a child care center, teaching at the college level and licensing programs for the Manitoba government. Kathleen pursued a Movement for Young Children certificate from the University of Manitoba and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet which melded with her academic career.

When Kathleen started a family she began working as a self taught visual artist doing stained glass. Her visual arts career has grown to include making lamp worked glass beads, sandblasted glass, copper jewellery and papier mache pieces.

Kathleen feels quite at home in Thunder Bay surrounded by boreal forests, exposed Canadian Shield and the many lakes of Northern Ontario. That landscape has crept into both her visual arts and dance work.

Kathleen works with students in the schools with the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts program as well as with the Community Arts and Heritage Education Project.

When Kathleen isn’t dancing or making art she is doing yoga, scuba diving, cross country skiing, kayaking, traveling, or cooking and eating ethnic foods.


University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Human Ecology, 1977


Artists in Education Certificate, York University, 2007
Lampworked Glass Beads, Grand Marais, Minnesota, 2005
Hammered Copper Bowls, Red Deer Art College, Alberta, 2002
Design, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 2001
Etching, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 2000
Drawing, Victoria, Australia, 1998
Welding, Victoria, Australia, 1998
Welding, Manitoba, 1997
Silver Smithing, Manitoba, 1996
Stained Glass, Halliburton College of Art, Ontario, 1994
Enamelling, Basketry, Fusing, Manitoba, 1981-1993


Michelle Siglay, Performance Art, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 2009.
Circus Yoga, Kripalu Yoga Centre, Stockbridge, Massachuesets, 2009
Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas, 2009
Astanga Yoga, Thunder Bay, 2005- present
Performance Art Rebecca Belmore- Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 2007
Motis O, Movement Improv workshop, Thunder Bay, 2006 and 2009
International Taiji Workshop with China’s leading teachers, Thunder Bay, 2006
Movement for Young Children Certificate, 1987,
University of Manitoba/ Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, 1963-1973,
(scholarship training 1965-1973)


Definitely Superior Art Gallery: “Grounded”, a response to Sarah Link’s installation 2007
“Sanctuary”, part of the Urban Infill 2009 and to open Solo exhibition December 5, 2009
“Nest” Various performance pieces in Thunder Bay, 2010
“Derelicht Fashion Show”, Definitely Superior Art Gallery, 2009, 2010
“Bird”, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Bird House Auction, 2010


Piano: Dianne Potts, 2008-present
Music Workshop: Drumming and percussion, 1999-2005
Royal Conservatory of Music: Grade Nine Honours Piano, 1973


Definitely Superior Art Gallery: “New Work by Kathleen Baleja”
December 5, 2009–January 16, 2010.


“Members Show”         Definitely Superior Gallery, 2010
“Crossing Borders”       Johnson Heritage Post, Grand Marais, Minnesota, 2009
“Heavy Metal”            Thunder Bay and Fort Frances Museums, 2009
“Communication”         Definitely Superior Gallery, 2008
“Changes”                 Definitely Superior Gallery, 2007
“Crossing Borders”        Art Studio Tour Duluth to Thunder Bay, 2000-2007
“Art In Motion”           Thunder Bay Art Gallery: Accessorized garments for Joyce
Seppala Designs, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
“Behold the Mug”         Sivertson Gallery, Grand Marais, Minn., 2005
“Northern Mosaic”         Artists Mercantile, St. Paul, Minn., 2002
“Songs of the Earth         Johnson Heritage Post, Minn., 2001
“Reflections”             Oseredok Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2001
“Northern Lights”         Sivertson Gallery, Grand Marais, Minn., 2001
“Regional Art Show”         Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario, 2001 and 2000
“A New Look At         Sivertson Gallery, Grand Marais, Minn., 2000
The North Shore”
“Piecing it Together”        National Exhibition Centre, Estavan, Saskatchewan, 1999
Three Person exhibition of collaborative work by Kathleen Baleja,
Judy Morningstar and Elaine Rounds
“Women in Agriculture’   Manitoba Arts Network touring show, 1999
Collaborative work by Baleja, Morningstar and Rounds
“A Natural Craft”          Invitational group show, Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon, 1994
“Piecing it Together”      Manitoba Crafts Guild, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1994
“Piecing it Together”      Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon, 1993


Ahnisnabae Gallery, Fireweed, Natural Habit, Thunder Bay Art Gallery; Minnesota and Manitoba


Ontario Arts Council, New Work Grant, Sculptural forms using wasp paper, 2009
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Video of performance of “Grounded” accepted into permanent collection, 2008
Ontario Arts Council, New Work Grant, “Grounded”: performance piece, 2007
1998 YWCA Women of Distinction Award for collaborative work with Judy Morningstar and Elaine Rounds combining glass, paper and fabric.
Manitoba Arts Council grant for advanced stained glass course at the Halliburton School of Fine Arts, Ontario, 1993
Manitoba Crafts Guild, collaborative piece purchased for permanent collection, 1993


Fibre Arts Design Book Five, Collaborative piece accepted for inclusion, 1995
Manitoba Crafts Guild 75th Anniversary Book, Collaborative piece chosen for inclusion in publication, 2007


Royal Conservatory of Music/ Learning through the Arts: Grades SK to 8 visual arts and dance
Community Arts and Heritage Education Program: visual arts and performance pieces
Willow Springs Creative Centre: Youth and adult correctional facilities
Thunder Bay Art Gallery


Ashtanga and circus yoga, kayaking, scuba diving, contemporary dance, drumming, travel and ethnic food.

Baby Torso with Pussy Willows

Baleja, Kathleen
Wasp nest and pussy willow branch
7 x 16

Heather and Benjamin

Baleja, Kathleen
Wasp nest, stone, driftwood
14 x 18

Medium Wasp Paper Basket

Baleja, Kathleen
Wasp nest & driftwood

Woman Friend

Baleja, Kathleen