by Gordie Felger
Kelsey Staub ’14 (art and psychology) is “beyond grateful” to the Art and Art History Department professors for helping to shape her own work.
“They encouraged me to cultivate and exercise my creativity and artistic ability, as well as inspired me through their own artwork and technique,” she said. “They were constantly supporting me in my artistic exploration, as well as aiding me in life lessons that benefitted me throughout my college career. [They] constantly challenged me to create my best work and pursue my full potential.”
Kelsey gained “real-world” experience while still attending Coe when she job shadowed with an art therapy teacher at Tanager Place through a connection with her sorority advisor.
While it took Staub time to find her stride as an art major, she now gratefully reflects on past challenges faced and conquered. She said that after her first two years, “Being an art major at Coe became my most passionate venture. Once I found my groove and unique style, I never wanted to leave Dows [Fine Arts Center].”
Her advice to prospective art majors: “Never back down to the frustration and doubts you may develop from time to time.”
Staub has lived an incredibly rich life since graduating from Coe. She completed a three-year master’s program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She then undertook a worldwide quest that began in The Netherlands and ended in New Zealand. She worked as a resident artist on the Greek island of Rhodes in a gallery where she exhibited her work. In Sri Lanka, she collaborated with a group of young women on an art therapy-directed mural. She also participated in a play therapy organization in Hanoi, Vietnam, that serves children with developmental disabilities.
Staub credits her world view to an experience she had while still a Coe student.
“I was able to experience for the first time the rewarding nature of using art therapy abroad while visiting a Coe alum during her Fulbright experience in Malaysia,” she said. “I was able to find my passion for educating about the power of creativity.”
Kelsey works as a school-based art therapist at Family Preservation Systems in Asheville, N.C., but she aspires to be a licensed professional counselor and plans to apply to a Master of Fine Arts program.
“Celebrating diversity is a guideline I live my life by, and I plan to continue my personal journey in experiencing new cultures and to facilitate the art therapy experience worldwide,” Staub said. “I’ll never begin to know how to thank Coe College for supporting me on this path to embrace my artistic ability and to prepare me to acquire the skills to impact others in a positive way through the creative process.”