Molly Kuehner is an artist from Mount Airy. Kuehner always did arts and crafts. She was influenced by her mother, who drew and even made crafts.
In the days before the internet, her mother made things such as Christmas ornaments created out of fabric. She also made ornaments out of string soaked in Modge Podge. In addition, her mother cut silhouettes out of paper that she mounted on miniature stretchers. Another craft her mother made was paper angels she crafted from raffia paper.
The love of arts and crafts extended to Kuehner’s grandmother.
“My mother got her interest in fabrics from my grandmother who always sewed. My grandmother made dance costumes for my mother. She also sewed wedding gowns as well as my own,” Kuehner remembered.
Kuehner began to draw in elementary school and loved to draw “Miss Piggy” from the Muppets. When she attended Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. Kuehner took art classes where she was introduced to pen and ink drawing. Kuehner enjoyed learning this skill.
One of her art teachers said that portraits were one of the most difficult things to render. Kuehner decided to take the challenge and began to do portraits of celebrities such as Madonna, Don Johnson and Cher.
Kuehner liked art so much that she began to do more art in her spare time. She wanted to pursue art but her parents her concerned that she could not make a living in art. As a result, Kuehner attended Indianna University of Pennsylvania, graduated with a degree in sociology and then married. She took a job as a social worker in Pittsburgh.
At that time, her husband was looking for a teaching position and was recruited by Montgomery County Public Schools. When they moved to the area, Kuehner worked at an adult day care center in Washington, D.C. for five years. Then she and her husband decided to buy a home and start a family so they moved to Mount Airy.
Although Kuehner was busy raising her family, she always maintained a loose form of practicing her art. Since her children have grown older, she now has more time to focus on her artwork.
When Kuehner saw an article in the newspaper about her neighbor Katie Giganti, who runs the chalk competition run by the Mount Airy Arts Alliance, she volunteered to help. The chalk competition is held to encourage the community to come downtown. Artists are assigned a space along Main Street in Mount Airy. The only requirement was that it be a summer theme. Kuehner became a volunteer and now is the events coordinator for the Mt. Airy Arts Alliance (www.mtairyarts.org).
The Mt. Airy Arts Alliance was formed five years ago as a volunteer organization. The Alliance is a diverse group of both professional and amateur artists. It also includes musicians that hold the Mt. Airy song circle.
She has always regretted not going to school for art. Now that she has more time and only worked part time, Kuehner decided to invest in her art hobby. She gave herself more time to draw and began to take her art more seriously.
She began to experiment with different mediums. Kuehner did not want to go right into painting so she purchased colored pencils. She began to draw animals.
"It was less intimidating than trying to do a portrait of a person,” she said. “I found that I really liked it. It is an easy medium to work with and I could take my time with it. I can walk away when I need to do so. I seem to have a knack for it. I keep giving myself more challenging pieces to work on.”
She really fell in love with animal drawings when she did a portrait of her favorite cat, “Patches.”