Kari (Flanders) Achatz graduated from Daemen College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in art education and a minor in painting. As a student, she was active in the visual arts program and received the Sister Jeanne File Art History Award, as well as the Hans Hoffman Award for Excellence in Art Education.
Achatz teaches visual art for grades pre-K through 8 at Queen of Heaven School in West Seneca, where she started the pre-school art program and designed a curriculum to engage the school’s youngest artists in the art-making process. Under her direction, Queen of Heaven was the first Catholic school in Western New York to donate artwork to Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and her students have won several awards in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Art Inspired Competition.
Outside of teaching, Achatz creates artwork and focuses on her photography business. She and fellow Daemen graduate Nick Napierala ’09 also created Secret Spaces at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
“My art experience at Daemen gave me the foundation to prepare for a large artistic endeavor like Secret Spaces,” said Achatz. “At Daemen, I had the opportunity to participate in courses taught by Laura Sommer and Christian Brandjes that combined art and theater, which helped solidify who I am as an artist and introduced me to installation and performance art.”
Achatz also volunteers with local community groups, including the Community Action Organization, where she creates artwork with children of all ages.
“It’s all about giving back,” said Achatz, who credits her community experiences at Daemen for inspiring her to volunteer. “There is no feeling like helping a child succeed, whether it be with an art project or in life.”