Journey of Art Starts Early
Original Artifacts article by Mitzi Gordon
Inspiration came early to Jennifer Klaus. She started exploring the journey of art as a summer camper at the DunedinFine Art Center when she was about seven years old.
In middle school, Jennifer volunteered for the art center’s summer camp, and then went on to study illustration, receiving her BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota.
Returning to DFAC as Second Home
After some five years of studying and working there, Jennifer returned to Pinellas County—and to DFAC, where she started teaching in early 2010. From camper to faculty, her relationship with the art center has truly come full circle.
“I spent a lot of time as a kid at the art center,” Jennifer said. “It was great being able to come back as an adult and be on the other side of things. I got to experience both worlds.”
She’s taught Dunedin Fine Art Center youth programs and summer camps in figure drawing, fashion, henna art, and more.
“I love seeing the kids create,” she said. “That moment when you see something click in their head when you’re teaching them—it’s just awesome. There’s a lot of talent there.”
Infusing Art into Therapy
A long-time resident of Palm Harbor, Jennifer returned to school to earn another bachelor’s degree in psychology, and then a master’s degree in social work. She now works as a state-licensed therapist and weaves art into her practice, facilitating therapeutic art interventions and trauma narratives at Baycare and Families First.
She also brings her skills into DFAC’s healing arts program, often working with disabled children who may struggle communicating verbally.
“I like to include art—it’s another way for the kids to communicate, and you can tell a lot from a picture,” she said.
Jennifer continues to teach and attend events at DFAC, supporting her creative outlet. No matter how busy with work, she also makes time to simply be a student, taking art classes when she can.
“You just stay connected,” she said. “Everybody has that common ground of art. It’s a great community.”
From students to teachers, people find so many ways to connect with the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Find out where your story begins by visiting www.dfac.org or calling (727) 298-3322 today.