The March visit of artist and decorative painter Jeannine Dostal marked the 25th anniversary of the Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence program at Springer School and Center.
Having struggled in school herself, Dostal made an instant connection with Springer’s students, all of whom have learning disabilities. Eighth-graders Hunter Jones and Mary Catherine Conaway felt a sense of freedom to create. “I didn’t feel pressured by Jeannine,” said Jones, “but I pressured myself to do my best.” Conaway added, “This was a way to express my difference!”
After a 25-year career as a decorative painter, Dostal now paints mostly on canvas, working wet in multiple layers, embellishing with sequins, glitter and gold leaf, and sealing her work with a coating of resin. During her two-week residency, Dostal brought her unique style, which she calls “The Art of Allowing,” to each of Springer’s art classes, and then spent a week working closely with a group of 22 Middle School students, each of whom created an individual canvas and participated in two collaborative paintings.
“Being Springer’s Artist in Residence was truly an honor for me,” said Dostal, “especially it being the 25th year! I knew the experience would be a good one, but I had no idea the magnitude of emotions and attachment to the students I would experience, or that it would be so inspiring for me too. The Springer School staff and kids have touched my heart, and I will never forget the memories we made together, as well as the magnificent "Art of Allowing" paintings!
Dostal was awarded Emerging New Female Artist of the Year and People’s Choice Award in a 2014 national juried art show. Her art hangs in Cincinnati galleries such as Art Design Consultants and A.R.T. Gallery, as well as in ten patient rooms at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus.
The Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence program was established in 1993 by Paul Wenker in honor of his late wife, a Springer supporter and volunteer, and mother of three Springer alumni.