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After the takeover of the American Embassy in Iran portrayed in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning film Argo and her escape with help from the Canadians and the CIA, it was clear to Kathleen that life could be fragile, and she should pursue her passion for art without further delay. She had already completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the United States and done post-graduate work at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. So, for the next forty years accompanying her diplomat husband, she learned languages, painted watercolors, collaborated with local artists, and held exhibitions and workshops in a dozen countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. Her paintings and collagraphs are part of the permanent collections of many embassies and centers for art around the world. The United States Arts in Embassies program displays some of them here: https://art.state.gov/personnel/kathleen_stafford/
On September 10th, 2022 Kathleen was awarded first prize in Capaccio-Paestum -- Bee Cave Arts Foundation of Texas Artist's Contest. This is in collaboration with the city on the site of Operation Avalanche, the amphibious assault of the Allies against the Nazis in of World War II . Paestum will dedicate an 80 foot tall monument honoring the thousands of allied soldiers who lost their lives there, including those from the 36th Infantry Division from Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas in September of 2023.
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