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Have You Met Kristine Kollasch?

Her art is Kristine Kollasch’s life, and she has even found a way to utilize her talents as an artist to benefit the Arizona nonprofit community.

This creative and innovative artist was born in Gary, Indiana, but moved to Colorado Springs when she was nine years old. She graduated from Adams State College in December of 1984, and at that time moved to Phoenix, since she already had some friends here. For 11 years Kris was employed at a design firm, and there developed her managerial skills and honed her artistic talents. For ten years now, Kristine Kollasch has owned her own successful business, “Fine Art & Custom Finishes, L.L.C.”, that produces custom art, murals and faux finishes.

Kristine has been described as a multi-faceted artist, and her art is not holed up only in a collector’s private home, but is on display in many locations for the world to view. Her murals are at Banner Desert Medical Center in the Children’s ER and other pediatrics areas; at the City of Scottsdale Urban Design Studios; at the Pediatrics ER of John C. Lincoln Hospital in Deer Valley; and at the underpasses of I-17 at 16th and 7th streets. Presently Kris is working on the pediatrics wing of the New Banner Gateway Hospital in Gilbert, AZ. “I incorporate murals on flat surfaces, but also sculptural elements with my designs.” Some examples of her work can be seen at

But most importantly, Kristine Kollasch benefits the community through her work with the non-profit organization, Free Arts of Arizona. This group’s mission is to spark the creative spirit of abused, homeless and at-risk children and their families, to transform their lives through the power of artistic expression. Their tagline is ‘Art Heals, Mentoring Works, Every Child Matters.’ And Kris declares firmly “Art heals! I’ve seen its power.” The organization also provides art camps for kids living in homeless shelters and group homes. “It gives them a safe outlet for artistic expression. And I believe that every child matters, so I’m also a mentor to a teenager through Parenting Arizona.” Additionally, Kris is involved with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network) Phoenix, and functions as that group’s Art Auction Coordinator. “I also volunteer occasionally with 1N10 - it provides gay youth in the Valley a safe place to gather, get help and advice if they need it, and occasionally do art.”

Kris would like people to know “I love to have fun! It’s important for a person to enjoy the process of life, not just focus on the final product! ” She also laughs “What will I do when I retire? Most people say ‘when I retire then I’ll start painting.’ What will I do, nothing? I don’t think so!” And Kris declares that “The best thing about Phoenix is the weather! Almost any time of year I can be outdoors, enjoying life.”

Clearly, Kristine Kollasch has found fulfillment in her life through her artistic endeavors, and has also managed to translate her joy of art to benefit others in the Arizona community.

What are your volunteer activities? On Executive Board of Directors with Free Arts of Arizona, Mentor a teen-ager through Parenting Arizona, Art Auction Coordinator for GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) Phoenix, and volunteer occasionally with 1N10 doing art with youth.

Which social event is your favorite? First Fridays in Downtown Phoenix.

Favorite Restaurant? FEZ in Downtown Phoenix

Who is your hero and why? Frida Kahlo- because she did not let the physical or emotional pain in her life keep her from pursuing her dreams of being an artist, but instead used it to create interesting art.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Janet Napolitano

What gives a woman/man style? Self expression

Do you have any Pets? Yes. A dog (Border collie), a kitten that looks like the dog, and fish.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? That I loved to be home. Color and texture are good things. I'm an artist.

What words describe you best? Creative, kind, busy.

What words would you like others to use to describe you? Creative, kind, warm, energetic, fun.

What was your first job? Does shoveling snow in Indiana at age 8 count? Paper route at 9. First "real" job I worked at a Dude Ranch in Colorado for the summer.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Can't sit still, relax and just "be" very often. My need to get things done.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Blaming everyone else for their misfortune and not taking responsibility for their own success or not.

What is your greatest indulgence? My Life!

What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? Given: my commitment to mentor a child. Received: friendship that endures a lifetime.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My Art is my greatest love.

What is your current state of mind? Happy, thankful, eager.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Owning my house and studio; having as many true friends as I do.

What is your most treasured possession? My dog, if she can be considered a possession. Maybe my Mini Convertible.

What is the quality you most like in people? The ability to laugh easily.

Favorite books / Writers? The Alchemist, The Little Prince, The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

What is the best advice you have ever received? If you're going to buy a house with someone, if at all possible go into it evenly, because even if you think money doesn't matter now, it will.