IU East chancellor in Preble County competition to raise funds for the arts

The event may be tagged “Bad Art, Good Folk,”  but when it comes to participating artist and Indiana University East Chancellor Kathryn Girten, some might argue it’s good art as well.

Chancellor Kathy Girten official portrait photo

Chancellor Kathy Girten

Girten’s decision to be one of the artists in the upcoming annual fundraiser for the Preble County Art Association (PCAA) came easy – she’s long had an interest in the arts, most recently in painting with pastels.

“I’ve always loved to draw. When I was in high school, I was one of those kids who hung out in the art room,” she said. She even considered going to art school before attending Middlebury College in Vermont for a broader liberal arts education. Her master’s and Ph. D. are in archaeology, though she never gave up her love for art.

She did scientific illustration for many years. While living in California, she had an opportunity to take a class in painting in pastels. “I fell in love with the medium.” She’s painted in the medium now for a decade. Girten’s entry for the fundraiser is a painting of roses – she was inspired by the flowers at the Richmond Rose Garden. Her interest in art isn’t limited to one area either. She is finishing up a term as president of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Board. She plays the piano. She’s been involved in the Richmond Art Museum, and also participates in art and music events on campus.

Her passion and training in the arts definitely contributed to her skills as a college administrator. “The arts help one think in new and different ways – to see things from different perspectives and angles. That’s important in administrative work as well!” The arts also teach the importance of dedication and practice. “Like athletics, you’ve got to put in the hours if you want to improve. And there is always so much to learn.”

“There is so much that impresses me about the art culture in this community. Richmond has a rich history in the visual arts, including the well-known ‘Richmond Group’ of artists who were active in the late 19th century and mid-20th century. And of course, that rich legacy continues today,” she said.

PCAA Executive Director Claudia Edwards, B.S. 2014, noted the “Bad Art, Good Folk” Reception and Art Auction is being held on Saturday, October 2, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gymnasium at Eagle’s Point in Eaton, Ohio. But votes are being taken online until the event at Preble County Art Association – Bad Art, Good Folk. Votes are $1 each and can be submitted up until the event.

The event consists of nine artists split into three teams. The teams of three artists are paired with a mentor. The event is the organization’s main fundraiser, generating more than $250,000 in the last six years.

As an IU East grad, Edwards is honored to have her chancellor among the participants. “She’s a very experienced artist, a community-centered individual and an advocate for the arts and education. Chancellor Girten is such a generous person who truly cares about communities, their growth and development.”

Edwards encourages the IU East team and other graduates to consider supporting the event with votes for Girten. “I’m really rooting for my alma mater to win,” she said, noting that the more the competition heats up between artists and teams, the better it will be for the PCAA.

Besides online, donations can be made directly to the association, Edwards said. If donating by check, Girten can receive credit by putting her name in the memo area.

On auction night, all art pieces will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with vote funds credited to the totals. An award will be given to one individual artist and one of the three teams. “We have had artwork sold for anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000 in the past. It’s a fun and exciting event,” Edwards said.

The funds will help the Preble County Art Association make affordable art programming available to the community and allow partnering with other organizations to make art accessible to everyone.

For more information on the Preble County Art Association or “Bad Art, Good Folk,” visit preblearts.org/.