By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Kollet Hardeman — a well-established artist who recently moved to Steiner Ranch from Florida — donated a mural to Dell Children’s Rehabilitation Center at Ascension Seton Southwest.
“I do art in hospitals for children who need a hug when they’re scared,” Hardeman shared.
Hardeman became connected to the community even before moving here in July through Facebook groups. That’s where she met Carlie Spence who happened to see a post where Hardeman was introducing herself and sharing that she typically gifts two murals a year.
“She asked if anyone knew of any businesses that might be interested. I immediately reached out and she replied,” said Spence, an occupational therapist. “Once Kollet settled into Austin, she came out to see our space.”
The Dell Children’s Rehabilitation Center was recently relocated and renovated.
“But, unfortunately, our budget did not include art or any type of beatification. Our walls were literally bare,” Spence said.
As she was getting the tour, Hardeman couldn’t hold back.
“I started talking with my hands and describing what I was going to paint and pointing where the fish and turtles would go,” Hardeman said.
She shared why art is so important.
“For me, there is no other option. It’s like breath or food,” Hardeman said. “When I got clean and sober, it called to me and I answered, we’ve been tethered ever since. Six years clean October 22.”
The family moved to Austin for the arts and entertainment. They moved to Steiner for the schools and views, said Hardeman, who has a 14-year-old ninth grader and a 12-year-old sixth grader.
“I wanted to be here, set up and established when the town woke up from COVID,” she said. Her business is primarily done online through streaming but her plan is to invest locally and open a fine art gallery to house overflow.
Through the years, Hardeman has used art in public places to touch children’s lives.
“I’ve done murals in urban areas, like I came from, to show kids something beautiful and ease their worries,” Hardeman said. “I’ve done art in schools to teach kids that they can follow their dreams and be successful, even if it’s painting.”
Spence and team loved the idea of her ocean design for the bare walls at the rehabilitation center, which offers occupational, physical and speech therapies to children.
Hardeman began the mural on Monday, Sept 14 and wrapped up three days later.
“She went above and beyond our expectations,” Spence said. “We can’t thank Kollet enough, and I’m not sure she will ever fully realize the depth of her gift, but we certainly do.”