Springer alumna Caroline Feldhaus Harten encouraged students to let their personality shine through the mixed-media artworks they created during her stay as the 2016 Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence at Springer School and Center in March. Harten, a 2000 graduate from Springer, discovered her passion for art after pursuing a career in business. She oversaw classroom projects with each class at the school, and then worked more closely with a small group of seventh- and eighth-graders.
“The best thing about the program was the many new techniques and styles Caroline introduced us to,” said eighth-grader Kate Dwyer. “That was fun and exciting!” Harten offered the students a variety of art techniques such as the opportunity to create their own spray inks. They also worked with molding paste, acrylics, printing plates, water colors, water soluble media, stencils, journaling markers, calligraphy pens, and water brushes. Harten encouraged students to incorporate into their work a quote that has been meaningful to them.
Students shared their quotes with one another as they worked. “We got a chance to know different people through the program,” said eighth-grader Griffin Melson, “and to see how they do things differently.” Reilly Walter, also an eighth-grader, agreed that getting to know new people was a highlight of the program. “I also enjoyed trying new techniques in art,” she added, “and learning to use different tools.”
Harten will earn a BA in Business Administration from Wilmington College this summer and currently works as a Procurement Specialist for Abstract Displays Inc. “I wanted the students to understand that creating art is not just about the final product,” she said. “It is so much more than that. It’s about inspiring others. When we empower one another, we are also empowering ourselves. This, to me, is what art is all about.”
“Having an alumna as Artist in Residence is so thrilling for our students, because they can see themselves in the artist,” said Springer Art Teacher Corrinne Thaler. “Many alumni are so willing to talk about their struggles, their successes and their triumphs, not only in art but in life. And the students love that I taught Caroline once, as I am teaching them today.”
The Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence program was established in 1993 by Paul Wenker in honor of his late wife Maureen, a Springer supporter and volunteer, and mother of three Springer graduates.