Meet the Riverkeeper

About the Riverkeeper.  Pat Banks is an artist, mother, grandmother, and environmentalist and is the Director or the Kentucky Riverkeeper. It is a 501©3 organization. Its mission is to serve as educator and citizen-based advocate for the responsible stewardship of the Kentucky River watershed for present and future generations. As director she had a vision to build awareness of the river and foster stewardship. She called it the “big idea”. She has worked with great people, organizations and agencies working on one part of the river or one problem. Many of these groups and organizations did/do not communicate or partner with each other. As an artist this did not make sense, so by building networks and partnerships, the “Big Idea” has developed into; documentaries, been accepted into the National Park Mentoring program for developing “the Kentucky River Water Trail”, organize and exhibit “Shaped by Water”, work by artists/activists to raise awareness of our water, enforcement actions of the clean water act and developed educational materials to use in the class room. She was appointed to the board of the Kentucky River Authority by Governor Brasher and served 10 years. The KRA is the governing body of the Kentucky River and maintains the 14 lock and dams and other properties along the river.


About the Artist. Pat works primarily in watercolor. Her fascination with the medium, combined with her studies and travels, has given her a unique lens to interpret the world, especially eastern Kentucky, her home. The beauty of the hills, valleys and rivers inspires the expression of an artist and the concern of an environmentalist. Taking the time to walk paths in the woods and fields, float down the eternal streams, and study the “wild things” brings the realization of the fragility and preciousness of this wondrous place. Pat works from her studio in Northern Madison Country. Special commissions include work for University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, St. Joseph Hospital, Louisville Zoo and many more. She has illustrated three children’s books and is working on the third book in the Appalachian series for the University Press of Kentucky. She is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and a juried exhibitor with the Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Crafted. She is a veteran teaching artist for the Kentucky Arts Council and the Berea College Promise Neighborhood program. She is a founding member of Richmond Community Galleries and is the current president.