Lasting impressions: Lauren Karp Kinghorn '91

Publication Date

Major: Psychology
Minors: Spanish, studio fine arts
Further education: M.A., expressive and art therapy, Lesley University; museum studies, Decordova Museum
Today: Printmaker, painter, teacher, art therapist

As a new Union graduate, Lauren Karp Kinghorn was doing psych testing and research for the Red Cross on an air force base outside of Madrid when a missive from one of her favorite professors upended her plans.

“I received a package in the mail with applications to art therapy programs and a Post-it note that read, ‘Lauren, This is what you should do with your life. Fondly, Walter Hatke.’

“I didn’t know a thing about art therapy, but I ended up at Lesley University, getting my master’s degree.”

Hatke, the May I. and Walter C. Baker Professor of Visual Arts (now emeritus), was a generous mentor who “really encouraged me to be more creative, take risks and follow through with my passions and interests,” Kinghorn says. “He changed my life, for sure. Since that Post-it, we have remained in touch.”

At Union, Kinghorn initially shied away from taking art classes, discouraged by her art teacher mother and her father, Dr. Peter Karp ’61, who didn’t see it as an avenue to a thriving career.

But her expressive arts therapy and teaching practice flourished. In 2009, after her father passed away, she founded Charles River Art in Needham, Mass., to bring together all of her training and experience and focus on the positive change that the arts can bring to the world.

Kinghorn uses the creative arts and counseling to support children and young adults in transition. She has shared her love of art with schoolchildren and has worked with a number of hospitals, including the noted McLean psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass.

Her own artwork has evolved over the years, from mural painting to monotype printmaking and mixed media, in which she often explores themes of identity and memory. ​

“My interest in monotype printmaking offers the unique challenge to let go of controlling the outcome of a print and focus on its composition, color and the process of creating,” she says.

Kinghorn is married to Ron Kinghorn ’91, an ESG consulting solutions leader for PwC US. These days, she is in her studio several full days a week, and she regularly shows her work in exhibitions and galleries. Her subject matter ranges from abstracts, florals and landscapes to birds and the human body.

“I love making art,” she says. “It gives me an avenue to have my voice heard, and everyone needs to have their voice heard.”

Learn more about Kinghorn on her website.

A photo of some of Lauren Karp Kinghorn's artwork.