Catherine Schrenker is the executive director of The Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts (“The Henderson”) in Marion, Virginia. Since her appointment as the founding director, The Henderson has become a flagship for embracing traditional arts and culture in Virginia.
In 2018 The Henderson received the 50/50 Award from The Virginia Commission for the Arts as “Best Emerging Arts Organization.” Catherine continues to bring national recognition for outstanding programs such as Lutherie and Letterpress, and for her ambitious after school programs focused on helping youth establish ownership and take pride in their unique Appalachian history and heritage.
Educated as a graphic designer, Schrenker, taught color theory and graphic design for almost twenty years, including nine years at the University of Notre Dame. She received her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Her research while at Notre Dame led to her work with color, emotions, and behavior and she became a distinguished pioneer in color theory and the integral role color plays in our emotions and behavior.
Internationally, Catherine has lived and worked as a graphic designer in Den Haag, Netherlands. She has lived and worked in Warsaw, Poland and taught “The Philosophy of Color” at Warsaw University. In 2004, Catherine moved to Southwest Virginia and co-founded Integrated Health Concepts (IHC) of Bristol, Tennessee with her brother, James H. Schrenker M.D primarily working with education, marketing, and community outreach; helping the public to understand the importance of an emotional connection in the healing process.
In 2010 Catherine was the national spokesperson for “The Color Prescription” campaign for Freshaire Choice paint brand, carried exclusively at The Home Depot, which gave her the opportunity to travel and speak throughout the United States.
In 2014, The Town of Marion, Virginia, hired Schrenker. She serves in the Department of Community and Economic Development and is in charge of The Henderson, a 501c3. As founding director, she has envisioned and implemented music, craft and art programs that reach a national level and highlight the rich cultural heritage of our southern Appalachian region.
She serves on the Board of Directors for The Henderson Music Festival (in charge of festival “set-up and take down”); The Art League of Marion (The Hungry Mother Festival), and Friends of Mount Rogers. She also serves as co-president of The Rotary Club of Marion (and served as club president from 2017-2019). She is a member of New Traditions Quilt Guild, Marion, Virginia and The Hamilton Type Museum, Two Rivers, Wisconsin. She has also served on the panel for Area 1 with The Virginia Commission of the Arts from 2018-present.
As an artisan, Catherine finds her passion in The Burke Letterpress Shop @ The Henderson, where she is currently translating traditional Smyth County ballads into Letterpress prints and translating “old time” music lyrics into Letterpress prints. As a watercolor artist, Schrenker began showing her unique bold style of watercolor painting, described as “more color than water” several years ago. Her premier opening at The Gallery @ Barr Photographics of Abingdon, Virginia met with critical acclaim, popular demand, and astonishing sales. Catherine taps into the spiritual beauty of the area she loves, Southwest Virginia. She teaches watercolor on Saturdays from 10-1 and Letterpress from 1-5 on Saturdays at The Henderson.