An interview with featured artist and AiA alum, Krista Skehan

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With our upcoming fundraising event, OBJECT:ART, less than one month away, Art in Action wanted to take an opportunity to highlight one of the artists we will be featuring in our art auction. However, Krista Skehan is more than just an artist, but is in fact an Art in Action alum, having received the program in her own classroom as a child. We took time to speak with Krista about the impact arts education has had on her life, as well as the numerous ways she has stayed involved with the organization over the years. 

 

When reflecting back on her first exposure to AiA, Krista recalled being taught lessons by her mom while attending Laurel School in the 80s, saying “I remember feeling AiA classes went beyond my love of drawing make believe landscapes full of rainbows, bunnies and balloons. I remember my mom wanting to teach me about how to draw a turkey NOT using my hand as it’s typically done but rather drawing circles and shapes that would form together to create the shape of a real life turkey.” Such a memorable moment stuck with her as she grew in her artistic abilities and was exposed to more mediums of art. When speaking about the program, she stated “most might think how can a child learn from something as advanced as Michalangelo or DaVinci? AiA breaks down the concept to be digestible for a young artist to grasp the concept and create their own expression using different materials, brushes, shapes and most importantly an appreciation of the process to a finished frameable work of art.”

 

Krista creating art with her two daughters

In her adult life, Krista became involved with Art in Action again, joining our Board of Directors. She provided valuable insight as not only the youngest member on the board, but as a past student of AiA. While on the board she assisted with many different visual components of the brand and website, and enjoyed working with the staff to see through ideas and implement new communications to schools and parents in the community. Krista highlighted that her full circle moment with AiA came about a year ago:

“My daughter’s friend (age 8) told me she loves art in school and that it’s Art in Action. While sitting in my home art studio, I told her I was one of the first students. Her mouth widened and she said ‘wait, is Art in Action the reason you are an artist?’ So cool! She felt so empowered that maybe someday she too would be an artist. For a child to translate something they are doing now in school to what that would mean when they got older was very impressive.”

 

During our discussion Krista was quick to emphasize the importance of having an arts education as a child. She feels lucky to have a mom who not only taught her art at a young age, but encouraged her to explore her creative side throughout her life. Krista values arts education in the classroom, saying: 

“Art education is ESSENTIAL for kids (& adults for that matter) – it uses a part of your brain that fires creativity, freedom of thought, expression and decision making. It’s a gateway to imagination, it’s a fast track to happiness. I think we are born with an innate sense to create and dream, it’s as we get older and gain responsibility we start to prioritize our actions with tangible, practical use of time. We begin to focus on worksheets in school and race from activity to activity to hurry up and excel so we can get higher scores, gain more likes and seek fulfillment outside of ourselves. We fall into what’s next for us in the world vs allowing ourselves to relish in a solitude of creative thinking – getting to know our authentic selves. I think our schools have the opportunity to provide this outlet, this continuing education for our minds and better, our souls.”

 

Krista primarily creates her works using acrylics and water-based oils. She says she finds daily inspiration to paint in “texture, color, light and pattern. As a graphic designer, I am passionate about composition. At every given moment I probably have about 20 ideas of things I want to paint be it inspired by a color or a viewpoint.” 

The piece Krista has donated for the OBJECT:ART auction is a coastal landscape created during her time in Hawaii. Describing the work she said “when I am on an island there is a very calming feeling in my soul and I think this particular one came from a place of true relaxation and restoration.”

What advice did Krista have for aspiring artists young and old? 

“Play, create, be silly, make a mess, get dirty, put yourself out there. Art awakens every sense. When you activate your senses in a tangible way that evokes emotion and that feeling has power. I believe art, creating art, touches our souls in a bucket filling, fuel generating, sustainable way.” 

To see the coastal landscape piece by Krista Skehan and many other beautiful works of art up for auction, please join us at our annual gala, OBJECT:ART, on March 12, 2020. 

Get your tickets here!