Local Woman Earns $5,000 Grant From Washington Arts Commission


Washington Arts Commission: Kathleen Cooper, Lawyer and Student Engagement Coordinator, Says Program Aimed at Encouraging Art in Military Families

Kathleen Casper, who works as a student engagement coordinator at Rochester High School and as a lawyer, will have the opportunity to work on her art skills after receiving a $5,000 grant from the Washington Arts Commission. 

According to Casper, whose husband and mother are veterans, the grant program is meant to encourage the practice of art by members of military families. 

“(The grant) will allow me to practice my skills more and to share my learning with others through the work I do with children,” Casper said. “It’s an exciting program and I’m honored to have been chosen for it. I think it will benefit my work with students too.”

According to Casper, the grant, the amount of which was determined by a budget she proposed, covers a variety of expenses, including purchasing arts supplies, attending workshops and expenses such as food, lodging and child care for her daughter. Casper said the grant’s coverage of living expenses was particularly helpful as her daughter has special needs and her mother has health issues. 

Casper says she will be opening a part-time nature-based learning center next year and hopes to do art activities there while drawing on her improved skills.

Casper also reflected on her excitement for the work she will be doing in improving her art skills.

“Just the idea of focusing my energy on something that makes me so happy to do (is exciting to me),” Casper said.

Another aspect of the grant she found exciting was shopping for art supplies, for which she was given a large budget. Though, she still went shopping when the supplies were on sale.

“It was pretty exciting to go shopping for art supplies with a budget of hundreds of dollars,” Casper said. “It was pretty cool.”

Casper related the experience to TV shows where children are allowed to go toy shopping at a store and get anything they want for free. 

“It was pretty cool,” Casper said. “I have to go back and get more.”

According to Casper, programs such as the one that awarded her a grant shows the state values art.

“It speaks well for our state to support the arts,” Casper said.

Asked her favorite mediums to work with, Casper said she enjoys drawing, and has done a lot of work with charcoal and acrylics on canvas lately. 

Casper said she’s proud to be able to carry on what she sees as a family history of making art. Casper told The Chronicle she has many relatives who have been artists and said she feels like she’s part of a line of strong artistic women.

“It means a lot to me to be able to carry on that tradition,” she said.