Shelburne Museum Displays Art Created by Local Students

Olivia & Leslie Foundation Launched Integrated Arts + Math Program
At Hinesburg Community School to Foster Creative Problem Solving in Young Students

SHELBURNE, Vermont (May 22, 2024)—Nearly 100 parents, children, and educators gathered at Shelburne Museum Friday to celebrate art projects by young students who completed the Olivia & Leslie Foundation’s innovative Arts + Math Program.

The twice-a-week afterschool program, at Hinesburg Community School, is designed to foster critical thinking, cognitive skills, and social-emotional development in Kindergarten and First Grade students through visual arts education. Educators and parents said students expressed pride in seeing their artwork on the walls of the museum. Artwork from 32 students was on display.

“Encouraging creativity in our youngest visitors is the highest and best use of a museum,” said Thomas Denenberg, John Wilmerding Director of Shelburne Museum. “We were thrilled to partner with the Olivia & Leslie Foundation to add depth to our engagement with school-age children by creating an innovative curriculum that makes new use of the museum’s storied collections. All of us were thrilled to see the wonderful efforts of these young artists on the walls of Shelburne Museum.”

Rene Sanchez, superintendent of the Champlain Valley School District, said the program provided rigor, relevant learning, and community connections.

“This program had high expectations for kids because they’re learning how to do math and art at the same time,” Sanchez said. “And your work is going to be on display in a world-renowned museum—with a special kickoff. Being able to put those connections together in Hinesburg for these students is incredibly important, both for the future of our community and for these kids who will have the memory of a lifetime when they were the center of attention at a museum with their families.”

Suzan Locke, the principal of Hinesburg Community School, said the program challenged students and enabled children to use their imaginations as they explored different media.

“Our families are excited to have these opportunities for expanding the curriculum in a fun way—and one that also speaks to where our children are in learning and development,” Locke said.

The Olivia & Leslie Foundation was created by Chris Kuenne, a business leader and lifelong Vermont resident. Kuenne is a best-selling author, Princeton University lecturer in entrepreneurship, and founder of the global marketing firm Rosetta, which was the largest privately held digital marketing company before it was sold to Publicis Groupe. Kuenne is now Chairman & CEO of Rosemark.

The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)-based program integrates mathematical concepts such as spatial relationships, geometry, and symmetry into a carefully designed art program that enables young children to build creative confidence.

The Olivia & Leslie Foundation honors the creative legacy of Kuenne’s daughter, Olivia, who died in an accident at the age of five in 1997, and his late wife, Leslie, who died of ovarian cancer in 2019. The Foundation’s mission stems from Olivia’s love of drawing and painting. Hundreds of pieces of her art were displayed at a reception that followed her funeral, providing comfort to friends and family. Leslie Kuenne was a genetic counselor, a gifted painter, sketch artist, and award-winning gardener and nature photographer.

The Foundation has partnered with Maker Prep, an organization devoted to supporting computer science and arts education. Ronah Harris, EdD, CEO at Maker Prep, said the program will continually evolve, based on analysis and research of its impact on students.

Kuenne thanked school administrators, faculty, parents, and students for embracing the program. He also thanked Shelburne Museum for providing an unprecedented opportunity for young artists.

“To be here this evening and see the excitement of these young artists as they view their own artwork on display on the walls of this great museum gets to the heart of why we created this program,” Kuenne said.

The art program also was provided to students at Johnson Park Elementary School in Princeton, where Kuenne also has a home.

About the Olivia & Leslie Rainbow Foundation
The Olivia and Leslie Rainbow Foundation was founded by Chris Kuenne and his sons, Peter, William, and Matthew, to memorialize his daughter and their sister, Olivia, who died in 1997 in an accident at the age of five, and his late wife and their mother, Leslie, who died of ovarian cancer in 2019. The Foundation is committed to creating and funding proven STEAM initiatives that ignite the imagination of young children, provide a safe space for creative expression and problem solving, and to teach critical thinking and cognitive skills.

About Shelburne Museum
Founded in 1947 by trailblazing folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, is the largest art and history museum in northern New England and Vermont’s foremost public resource for visual art and material culture. The Museum’s 45-acre campus is comprised of 39 buildings including the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education and Webb Gallery featuring important American paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses, John Singleton Copley and many more. For more information, please visit

High-resolution image available HERE.

Image Caption: Art on view at Shelburne Museum created through the Olivia & Leslie Foundation twice-a-week art program at Hinesburg Community School.