BiographyKirsten April (Lauridsen) Renehan was born in 1948 and graduated from Luther College in 1970 with a B.A. in art. She went on to earn an M.A. in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1977 and also holds an M.A. plus 36 hours in Museum Studies, Technology from Valparaiso University, IUPUI, National College of Education. For ten years she taught junior high art in Schaumburg, Illinois, and since 1994 has been art department chair and a teacher of drawing and visual communications at Chesterton High School, Chesterton, Indiana. From 1981-2001 she operated a freelance graphic design business, Art for All Reasons. In 1997 she was awarded a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship and in 2007 and 2008 she was a participant in the Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Renehan has served on the board of the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, and she has exhibited her work in several communities in the Chicago region. She has twice been featured in solo show at Luther College. She also edited a catalog of art alumni profiles titled Celebrating Connections: Forty Years of Artistic Dialogue, that accompanied a 2008 exhibit by the same name at Luther College. The show featured the work of Douglas Eckheart and selected alumni artists on the occasion of Eckheart’s retirement from teaching at Luther.
There are three works by Renehan in the Luther College Fine Arts Collection. Flora Old Favorites is a large color pencil drawing that was purchased by the college. A salt-resist watercolor, Stained Wash, and a large oil figure study on paper, Biding Time, were both gifts of the artist. Biding Time was included in the Celebrating Connections exhibit mentioned above. Renehan created the painting in 2007 at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago during a two-week intensive studio workshop offered for high school art teachers. She says of the piece: “This more mature model suggested a figure that may have been from a 1950’s theater or dance experience. His fine features were accentuated by his hair that had the most rhythmic flow or natural waves – making me think his movements may have been just as graceful and exacting. The title comes from my interpretation that after a life of working as part of a troupe he may never have had real fame or individual recognition – just part of the cast. Perhaps at this point in one’s life, not being able to do the physical feats once so skilled at, you might be modeling for art students – making up their own destiny for you.”