Six Questions for the Partners of Art 71
Tell me about Art 71. Karen Hunter: Art 71 Studio is an art school that offers quality art classes to young people from kindergarten to 12th grade, as well as provides open studios for adults. Both Kaitrin and I are working artists as well as art teachers, so Art 71 is an opportunity to learn, create and make alongside artists. Kaitrin Mathew: Art 71 is also a mother-daughter team of art educators and like Karen said, artists as well. Art 71 is a lifelong dream realized. We always wanted to have a beautiful working space where we could create and help others do the same, and found a need in this community for a quality art program,”
Why did you two open Art 71? Karen Hunter: I can’t see myself not teaching art to kids. Teaching and owning Art 71 is a perfect mix of things for my happiness: to be inspire, to inspire, and to create. I love to see that bloom. Kaitrin Mathew: I had an amazing arts education experience by creating art with working artists, and to see art from a young age. It completely influences me both as an artist and teacher, and challenged me to look at the world in different ways.
Why the Hill Country of Austin, TX? KH: Your environment for creating is extremely conducive, and Spicewood does that well. KM: Yes, and teaching young people how to see is an easier and more constructive task when surrounded by beautiful nature.
What is your background in art education? KH: I have taught children from kindergarten to college level for 35 years in a school setting. I graduated with a degree in secondary art education, and obtained my MFA in drawing and painting. KM: I have also taught in a school setting, but only for 10 years. Additionally, I have worked in museum education, universities and art organizations. I recently obtained my masters in art education and museum studies, and have an MFA in drawing and painting.
With your combined experience of 45 years, what does teaching art mean to you both? KH: I love art, yes, but I love children more and to watch and be a part of that artistic catalyst, to watch art as the catalyst bring love and joy, that is the penultimate. To promote and elevate a child’s joy in creating.
KM: Teaching children how to see and to fully experience joy and wonder through creativity. Our love for young people is what inspires our business, and what makes the experience amazing is the belief, care and confidence we have in our students and their vision. I also think teaching art is important because it also teaches young people to understand the difference between one another, and that are multiple outcomes to a solution, all of which are correct. These ideas should translate in all traditions.
Lastly, since Art 71 opening four months ago, what has been the most exciting or surprising element about the studio? KH: Again, I think the fact that it is a lifelong dream realized. Having lived in Houston and Los Angeles previously, I was surrounded by a thriving art community and museum world, and I saw a need in this community for quality art education. KM: The community, we love how much we love the Austin area. Living in the Hill Country with an extensive array of families, we have felt supported and excited to see where the studio continues to grow.