Young artist, bold colors

At age 14, Katherine Roehrig is using her gifts to enliven Contemporary Worship and Arts

Katherine at home with a few of her favorite works. Below, left to right: acrylic on canvas Pentecost artwork for Sunday worship bulletins, pastel on paper for Youth Sunday and cover art for the Contemporary Worship Team's debut CD "Rebuild" (available by contacting Daniel Heath).

Attending contemporary worship at Covenant often involves an encounter with the imagination of Katherine Roehrig. What may surprise you more than the bursts of color and riffs on biblical themes is who created them: a 14-year-old still in braces who isn’t quite old enough for a learner’s permit. It may be an image of doves in flight set against blazing shades of orange and yellow. Or a path winding from the mountains to a white sandy beach. Before the praying and preaching commence on a Sunday morning, there’s a good chance Katherine’s artwork has made you stop and take notice. "For someone so young, she has an ability to portray beautiful thoughts and visions," said Amber Brown, a vocalist in the

contemporary service.

Leave Leave it to a teenager to defy expectations. “I like making art that may mean one thing to me – but something completely different to someone else,” Katherine

said. “It helps me to see how my brain works differently than other people’s.” On a recent afternoon, Katherine led a visitor on a tour of her family's home in the Mountainbrook neighborhood filled with paintings, sculptures and even a pink flamingo on roller skates.

The collection traces to third grade when Katherine began art classes at Collinswood Elementary, a K-8 Spanish immersion magnet. She also studies under local art teacher Tina Burke. “I’ll come home and she’ll be at her desk and there will be an explosion of paint brushes, canvasses and jars of water,” says mom Ashley Roehrig.

“But then this cool piece of art emerges from it.” When Katherine was growing up in church, she would study artwork on covers of worship bulletins. “It would be cool to do that,” she remembers thinking. Amber noticed the talent of her fifth grade helper during VBS arts and crafts a few years ago. This is someone you should know, Amber told Daniel Heath, who brings together artists, musicians and dancers for contemporary worship. Katherine got connected. Her contributions underscore an important part of the culture at Covenant, Daniel says.

“The model for many churches is to groom young people to be the church of tomorrow,” Daniel said. “We take a different approach. We encourage young people to use their gifts now – and be the church of today.”

As she prepares for high school (and driver's ed), Katherine has already added a new layer to the worship experience, Amber says: "I'm excited to see what more she'll do with her gifts."