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Flaherty leaving The Blanden

Art educator looking forward to retirement

December 26, 2013
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

Linda Flaherty, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum's educator, is hanging up her brushes, paints, charcoals and clay after serving the museum since the summer of 2006.

Flaherty has spent a lot of her time during her tenure passing her knowledge on to area students during art classes, summer art camps and outreach programs with Fort Dodge's public and parochial schools.

She's enjoyed the job.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Linda Flaherty, Blanden Memorial Art Museum educator, goes through some files Thursday afternoon in her office. Flaherty is retiring from the Blanden.

"It's fun to see their imagination at work," she said. "I love to see the light come on when they discover something new."

Those eureka moments include when they discover perspective drawing, being able to create the illusion of size and distance on a flat piece of paper.

She's been surprised more than once at the work produced by the students.

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A reception for Linda Flaherty will be held Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum.

"You see them do some surprisingly nice things," she said.

She's encouraged them to not be their own harshest critic.

For example, she urges them to see making a less-than-perfect line into an asset instead of a mistake.

"I try to encourage them to make that into something that becomes part of the picture," she said. "That line can show you what the next line should be."

In addition to working with students, Flaherty's also worked extensively with the museum's docents, the volunteers that give tours to school and civic groups.

She helps keep them up to date on exhibits.

In addition to teaching, Flaherty has learned a lot about how a museum manages its collection and that has, in turn, exposed her to the work of lesser-known artists and photographers.

She also formed an informal artist group that meets monthly at the museum to share work and offer feedback.

Prior to joining the Blanden, Flaherty taught art at St. Edmond Catholic Schools and Rolfe middle and elementary schools. She also worked in the publishing field.

Her retirement plans include her own art work; she enjoys painting landscapes that "are a mix of real land forms and imagination" and drawing figures.

In addition, she has seven grandchildren that will keep her time filled.

"I'll be going to their events," she said.



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