About Us

Board of Directors

Laurie Kearney,  Board Co-Chair

Jad Baaklini, Board Co-Chair

Christine Bingham, Secretary

Liz Tran

Zach St. John

Art Teacher

Kerstin Graudins

Kerstin Graudins grew up in southern California and Spokane but has called Seattle home for most of her life. Her art-making practice started early with drawings of horses and a love of any craft making to which she was introduced.

She received a BFA in printmaking at the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Studio Art from New York University, with a wide skill set across many mediums. She draws on this diverse knowledge by working within many different processes on multiple projects.

Graudins has over twenty years of teaching experience. She has taught a wide range of art-making classes from fiber arts to painting and drawing. She has worked with teens at the Old Firehouse in Redmond, VERA Project, and Gage Academy. She has taught a variety of printmaking classes at Pratt to adults and teens since 2006. At Pratt Kerstin first met the Vibrant Palette artists and she is grateful to work with them currently online and soon to be in person again.

Executive Director

Diane Knoll, OTR/L

A note from the founder, Diane Knoll, OTR/L

As an occupational therapist, I have worked since 2002 with people of all ages and types of disabilities. I have always found art to be the common thread of engagement for meaningful activity in people’s lives. I find this to be true in my personal life as well. When I remain active in some form of a creative process, I feel joy and an increased value in my own self-worth.

In December of 2014, I stumbled across an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “An Artist Who Wrapped and Bound Her Work, and Then Broke Free” by Lawrence Downes. The article went on to describe the life and work of Judith Scott, a woman with Down Syndrome who spent 35 years of her life in an institution. At 42, her twin sister decided to pull her out of the institution to live with her, and started sending her to the Creative Growth Art Center. She eventually began making elaborate wrapped sculptures of found objects within the studio, and the art world took notice. Her pieces are now shown around the world in exhibitions and museums. The part I found most important about her story was the change in not only herself, but how society viewed her. Were it not for someone providing her the opportunity of self-expression, the world would have missed out on the amazing work of Judith Scott.

I have the privilege of knowing people with disabilities because of my profession, but how often do we as a society really integrate on a daily basis? In Time Magazine’s article, Maria Shriver: We need to change the Game of How We Talk About Intellectual Disability, Shriver states:

“In the just-published Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century, we learned that while the institutions that warehoused people in the 60s and 70s have closed, nearly half of our country’s adult population still say they don’t know a single person with intellectual disability, and a stunning 1 in 5 don’t even know what an intellectual disability is.”

In the year 2015, although I believe those statistics to be true, I don’t find them acceptable. And this speaks only to intellectual disability, without even broadening the discussion to physical and mental challenges as well. I want to change those statistics in Seattle, and I believe Seattle needs and craves that change too.

In August of 2015, I made the trip down to Oakland and visited the Creative Growth Center. I needed to further explore this idea I was toying with about opening a similar organization in Seattle. Once I stepped foot into Creative Growth, it no longer became a “whim”, but something I felt deeply convicted to do. I left there understanding that the organization was not so much a place for people with disabilities to make art, but instead a studio for artists who just also happened to have a disability. And so here I am, searching for others to help me get this project off the ground. I realize I can not do it alone, and I believe that Seattle has a unique and progressive culture that will lead me to those individuals needed to bring this venture into fruition. And I hope it’s YOU!

Board/Volunteer Positions

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