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Frothy Frankenthaler with Kate Schaffer

About the Workshop

This class will expose students to American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler and allow them to explore some of Frankenthaler’s ideas as they use a similar painting process. As a color field painter, Frankenthaler was the first person to pour fluid paint on raw canvas using a staining effect. We will create a similar effect using watercolor paint to stain paper. We will also discuss color theory and basic composition on an age‐appropriate level so students can enhance their paintings. Students will leave with several finished paintings.

Class is designed for kids in 3rd-5th grade. Cost includes all the materials. 


Meet the Artist


Kate E. Schaffer (BS 2006, MLC; MFA 2016, SAIC) is a Milwaukee artist working at the nexus of feminism, queer theory, and Black Aesthetics. Her paintings, writings, and performances explore the fixity and possibility of time and space. She manipulates visual and written language to break and reassemble the grid. Schaffer also creates Nowheres and Somewheres at the margins of the possible that generate a sense of place and a feeling of displacement.

Art instructor Kate Schaffer has taught visual art at the high school level for 11 years, the college level for a year, and to elementary age groups through many camps and residencies.

She has found art to be the best vehicle I have for exploration and experimentation. This particular project focuses on an artist that is important to her (Helen Frankenthaler) in her own personal artmaking, and she is excited to share her work with others.

Selected Exhibitions: Indiana Green, Arts Mill, Grafton, WI; Faculty Biennial, Marian Gallery, Mount Mary University; The New (re)Public: Nowheres, 314: Ripon College Project Space; The New (re)Public: Somewheres, Dr. Scholl Gallery, Marmion Academy, Aurora, IL, Pfister Artist in Residence Finalist Show, Gallery M, Milwaukee; Shorelines, Concordia University‐Wisconsin. Founder: 3rdCoast4thWave.


About Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work for over six decades (early 1950s until 2011), she spanned several generations of abstract painters while continuing to produce vital and ever-changing new work.

Earlier Event: July 6
The Market at Town Square
Later Event: July 7
Arts & Crafts Market