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Kathryn Spira

Art in the Family

It started with his daughter, Christa Germain, who lives nearby us in Caroga Lake. Herman tells me that when she was growing up, she was always drawing, probably strongly influenced by the girls' mother, Lynda, who is a local artist.

In an interview Oct. 3 in the Long Beach, California “Signal Tribune” newspaper (“Imitating Life: Posing questions to local artist Cara Nilsen”) she mentions how much she was influenced by her older sister, Christa, who was constantly drawing.

Cara teaches at Orange County High School of the Arts in Southern California and Christa has been teaching art through HFM BOCES in local schools the past 14 years with emphasis on special needs children. In fact, Christa is a bit of an expert in her field, having published in “Arts & Activities Magazine” titled "Art for special needs students; building a philosophical framework."

Christa's work has also been displayed in our county's annual art show, having taken master's level art courses from College of St. Rose in Albany and a master's degree from Empire State College.

When I first met the girls, I learned they were heavily influenced by their mother, Lynda Naske, whose art can be found at the Micropolis Gallery at Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market in Gloversville as well as on her website (

Cara's artwork can be found at and her blog (

I have always been involved in the arts myself, but not the type of visual arts that they have been involved in. I have focused on the performance arts in voice, theater and dance in college and with my pursuit of my dream of acting both in New York City and Los Angeles. I finally finished my college degree with expressive arts through Empire State College.

But back to Christa, many of whose original water colors hang in our home. I include two pictures from our living room, one called "The Road Home" that was featured in the last county art show locally and "The Wood Pile," which hangs over our TV. In fact, her very first water color of her cat is a striking image where the cat's personality clearly shows through the portrait.

We are lucky to have talented artists and teachers like Christa, Cara and their mother who display what truly uplifts the spirit and aspirations of us all. 


About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site