Sharing the wonders of art her passion

— Kathy Guidone Louisville’s 2011 Citizen of the Year

Allen Gress

Herald Correspondent

Following the introduction of Kathy Guidone as Louisville’s Citizen of the Year Monday evening, numerous young people flocked to her table, some with tears in their eyes, to congratulate their former art teacher and their friend.

Guidone was honored at the Constitution Community Banquet and joins 36 other residents so honored by the Rotary Club since the Citizen of the Year tradition was begun in 1975.

Currently in her 14th year teaching art in the middle school, Guidone is also an adjunct professor at Walsh University. She is also one of the founding members of the Louisville Arts Council and has received many awards for her art and her teaching. Kathy is a member of the 20/20 Vision Committee affiliated with the Arts in Stark movement.

But teaching wasn’t always in Kathy’s vocational picture. She started a career as a fashion designer and seamstress. Slowly, after discovering there were no art classes in the elementary school, she began volunteering art instruction in the Louisville elementary schools.

Guidone has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State in fine arts with concentration in painting and drawing. She picked up a master’s degree in education and has been named a master teacher after completing Ohio’s licensing standards.

For a while, Kathy held an open studio three times a week in her home lasting three to four hours for anyone who was interested in art. Due to the popularity of her classes, there was not enough room at her home, so she moved her classes into the Juilliard House. Through her classroom teaching and sessions with the Arts Council, Guidone has watched many students blossom. She is also a good listener, and her attention to student needs as expressed through their art has helped many a young person transverse the peaks and valleys of adolescence.

“Art is an outlet and allows students to channel their energies into creativity instead of rebellion and aggression,” she said during an earlier speech to the Rotary Club.

“Art makes a difference,” she said. “I firmly believe that art can affect our country in a positive way.”

In his introduction, Rotary President Ted Burwell praised Guidone and said, “She has been nominated for her devotion to teaching and helping the youth of our community. She is an extraordinary, gifted teacher who works with any child interested in art . . . she is a community gem.”

Guidone’s mother and father, Ralph and Helen Pugh, and Kathy’s sister and brother-in-law, Chris and Lanse Leach, were in attendance for the celebration.