When students come into Katherine “Kat” Friend’s art classroom at Christ the King School in Little Rock it’s a prayerful experience.
“I just feel like by creating, the kids are getting to experience really what God does as our maker. It gives them an opportunity to build a unique relationship with God,” the 27-year-old fine arts graduate said.
Friend has taught art, art history and theology at St. Edward School, Catholic High School and is going into her second year at Christ the King.
“Art is able to have the same impact on them regardless of their culture, needs as a student, disabilities; it provides for them a centering place … Art really does have a healing nature no matter where you come from,” she said.
Friend has a love for mixed media, incorporating various techniques from acrylic paint to sewing. Her own art is influenced by “whatever is going on in my life,” including a series on grief after her mother Betty died in 2013 from cancer.
“I think a lot of times my work becomes a prayer. It teaches me a lot about myself. If we can understand ourselves and how we feel about things and where we are in our life, we can grow on a deeper level in all the relationships in our lives, including our relationship with God,” she said, adding God “is why I’m moving the brush a certain way, the colors I choose.”
Friend, the niece of Msgr. Scott Friend and sister of newly ordained Father Patrick Friend and seminarian Joseph Friend, is also a part-time youth minister.
“We really have to invest in our young people to fall in love with the sacraments and be on fire for their faith and believe what it can do in their life,” she said.
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