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Art Matters in Summit County, Colorado

Why does art matter for community?

"Making art, teaching art, looking at art, buying art and living with art is life altering both personally and in a larger community setting. This is true for all creative and Expressive arts. Visual Art inspires curiosity and creativity. A blank canvas is a place to tell a story, relive a trauma, protest inequity, reveal yourself or others, preserve time and history, and to just uncork feelings and allow them to flow in line and color. Done in community or for community, it can be a ritual of sharing, loving, grieving, feeling and healing or simply spark wonder and emotion.


I started three community art programs over a three year period around 2011 in N San Diego County where I previously lived for 36 years and where art making was my vibrant passion throughout that entire time. The programs were designed for undeserved and at-risk youth. My most far reaching program was on Camp Pendleton where most of the kids (middle through high school) had at least one parent deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. It became apparent to me these kids needed a way to share their grief and trauma with both each other and the “grown-ups.” Our facilitated weekly art experiences culminated in “Painting the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars” a 47-paintings juried art exhibition with personal stories written by the young artists. It was first on display for the larger community in the Oceanside Museum of Art and then followed a show in The New American Museum in San Diego and finally on had an extended exhibition on Camp Pendleton in the Family Services building. It was written up in multiple newspapers. The children who sacrificed so much and painted THAT felt heard, understood, and accomplished for having moved so many through their stories in paint. They also created a personal community that was of art, by art and for freedom of expression. Nobody told them “No”, on any subject disrupting their young lives.

I got unimaginable joy from facilitating this and I was awarded a service medal by the US Marine Corps for my work with kids in the Boys & Girls clubs. Each child also received recognition for their brave service to their community. Art has power to speak directly to the heart.” – Kate McCavitt


Artist Bio: Kate McCavitt  

A New York native, Kate McCavitt currently lives and works in Green Valley, Arizona.  She began painting in 1985 after switching coasts, starting what would become ten years of training in Sumie (Asian Brush) with a contemporary Zen style master. Discontent within the confines of ink and subdued color, she began exploring other watermedia in 2000.  With her early influences of the Rinzai Zen masters and Toko Shinoda, she never completely abandoned the Sumie aesthetics of balance, harmony and negative space.  Her inspirations shifted to Maxfield Parrish for his use of transparent oil color washes, Gustav Klimt for his use of metallics in mind-bending embellishment and Eyvind Earle for his revolutionary “Seeing” style of portraying the ordinary as extraordinary. Kate is self taught in much of the technique that defines her work, indulging in “experimental watermedia” which she says is code for playing with paint, trying odd things, failing and sometimes hitting on something brilliant.  Over time, her signature style emerged and her use of color isolation via transparent color washes and varnish layers with shape isolation from threads of metallic paint, produced artworks with visual reference to enameled metal or Cloisonné.  Kate’s work is in private and corporate collections in the United States, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.   


“All of my art is born of attention and an awareness that everything in the world is immediately available for me to witness and express through painting.  I’m moved to create with transparent layering, rich surface detail, intense pigmentation and extraordinary luminosity so that my Mixed Media paintings sing of Nature’s radical but elegant side.  I love the idea of hidden or partly revealed things and I hope viewers feel compelled to touch my work to connect with it, and then find their own magical things within it. 


I like calling myself a “liminalist”, being neither a purely abstract nor representational artist and creating art that leads it’s viewer to delightful ambiguity; a twilight where an inclusive unresolve lives. This kind of art remains relevant.”

See more of Kate's artwork locally on display at Raitman Art Galleries, 100 N. Main Street, Breckenridge, CO,

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