Special Exhibition Celebrates Innovative Student Art Program

SHELBURNE, Vermont (May 8, 2024)—Shelburne Museum is hosting an exhibition of artwork created by students at Hinesburg Community School, the culmination of an innovative new program with The Olivia & Leslie Foundation that teaches Kindergarten and First Grade students critical thinking and cognitive skills while developing their social and emotional core.

The exhibition, which is on view May 17 through May 19 at Shelburne Museum, showcases works created earlier this year by the students in Olivia and Leslie Art + Math Program, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)-based program. Artwork from Shelburne Museum’s collection figured prominently in the curriculum that integrates mathematical concepts such as spatial relationships, geometry, and symmetry into a carefully designed arts program that enables young children to build creative confidence.

The after-school program was developed by Maker Prep, a Princeton, New Jersey, based firm devoted to supporting computer science and arts education, in consultation with the Olivia & Leslie Foundation and Shelburne Museum. The curriculum will continually evolve, based on analysis and research of its impact on students.

“We are delighted to devote exhibition space to honor the creativity of the young artists who participated in this groundbreaking and innovative program,” said Thomas Denenberg, John Wilmerding director of Shelburne Museum. “Nurturing creativity and making the connection between art, science and technology is more vital now than ever and is at the very core of Shelburne Museum’s mission.”

The driving force behind the initiative is Shelburne Museum Trustee Chris Kuenne, founder of the Olivia & Leslie Foundation and an entrepreneur with deep roots to Vermont. Kuenne founded 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 Foundation honors the creative legacies of Kuenne’s daughter, Olivia, who died in an accident in 1997 at the age of five, and his late wife, Leslie, who died of ovarian cancer in 2019.

“Fostering creativity in young students and nurturing the creative power of art to inspire, teach, and invoke our deepest humanity is something that embodies the spirit of both Olivia and Leslie. That is one goal of the Olivia and Leslie Art + Math Program,” Kuenne said. “Our longer-term goal is to catalyze changes in the way we all think about art and its role in developing creative problem-solving in our next generation.”

About the Olivia & Leslie Rainbow Foundation:

The Olivia & 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, Grandma Moses, John Singleton Copley and many more. For more information, please visit shelburnemuseum.org

For media inquiries, please contact: 
Leslie Wright,  Director of Marketing and Communications
lwright@shelburnemuseum.org, 802-985-0880