Caroline Kahler, chair of Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Art and professor of art, was awarded the Otto F. Dingeldein Award from the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri during the Dingeldein Gala Feb. 23.
“I’m very humbled to be nominated and awarded,” Kahler said. “I’m very honored to know the Arts Council thinks I’ve make an important impact and contributed to the local community.”
The Otto F. Dingeldein Award honors individuals whose artistic achievements have made a considerable impact on the community’s culture.
Kahler became chair of Southeast’s Department of Art in 2011, and dedicated her time to learning about her new campus and regional community.
“As an artist, I think it’s very critical to support the arts in your community, and I’ve tried to do as much as I can,” she said.
Her experiences and position as an educator have played a crucial role in understanding the importance of embracing the community and encouraging others to make an impact as well, Kahler said.
“Coming to Southeast and having a larger department to be responsible for with a diverse group of faculty and artistic genres has broadened my perspective as an administrator and an artist,” she said. “I strive to help get faculty and students involved in the community and position more students in the workforce.”
Kahler, who will be retiring in May, added she’ll never stop being an artist or redefining herself or her work.
“I have really loved my job at the University, my faculty and being a part of this community. My time here has made me grow a lot,” she said. “I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I’m looking forward to the future.”
Kahler is a current member of Missouri Fiber Artists, Art Council of Southeast Missouri and the American Crafts Council.
Her work has appeared in more than 15 publications. She has led many workshops, and been chosen as a juror and panel member in multiple Midwest states. Some of Kahler’s significant pieces reside in personal and museum collections in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Georgia and Alaska.
She was nominated for the Mortvedt Distinguished Teaching and Campus Leadership Award at Bethany College in 1995.
Kahler earned a Bachelor of Science in art education at Kutztown State College, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, a Master of Fine Art in ceramics at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas, and a Master of Arts in creative arts and textiles at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.