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Member Spotlight: Kathleen Finan

Kathleen Finan has always been passionate about creating art. In the third grade she remembers the poster of ‘The Discovers of America by Christopher Columbus’, by Salvador Dali hanging in the art room. The huge work of art was amazing: the depth of images; the soft colors; Gala, Dali’s wife appears as a saint and responsible for his “discovery of America”; the image of the crucified Christ; Kathleen never knew a painting could say so much. She became HOOKED ON ART!

All mediums interested Kathleen, and she began to draw cartoon characters for classmates, and submitting art projects for assignments. Art supplies and art books were her favorite gifts and she created many crafts and paintings at home. Once she was in junior high she was able to take the bus and subway into Manhattan and often visited the MET, MOMA, and galleries with friends or by herself. She loved it all and returned home with her mind spinning ready to create.

Kathleen earned a BS in elementary education with a minor in sociology and an additional minor in studio art. She later got a Masters in Special Education and Teaching Art from College of William & Mary and VCU. Kathleen homeschooled her five children with a focus on the arts while traveling. While teaching special education in middle school she also taught art at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary. She designed and taught K-12 lessons that were inspired by the traveling exhibitions and permanent collection on weekends and summers. Kathleen loved teaching art so she started a new job teaching art at a Fine Arts Magnet in Williamsburg, VA and then after moving to Texas taught art at Amy Parks Elementary in Rockwall.

Kathleen felt a strong responsibility to expose her students to all the art forms in her classroom. They explored and created installations, encaustics, fused glass, book making, weaving, knitting, felting, silk painting, clay, printing, and many painting and drawing mediums. She continued to take graduate art classes and workshops to fuel her passion and knowledge. International travel has provided many rich experiences for Kathleen and her students.

After retiring in 2016 Kathleen has focused on exploring the fiber arts… silk painting and using Shibori techniques dyeing silk, cotton, and linen with fiber reactive and indigo dyes. She creates Shibori designs on tablecloths, napkins, placemats, throw pillows, tea towels, and clothing. She continues to paint as well as create yarn sculptures. Kathleen worked in glass for years and recently purchased a glass kiln and is now excited to explore this medium in more depth!

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