“Watkinson took time to make a connection with me, and I appreciate the sense of community that Watkinson has. Watkinson truly prepared me for college."
Phoebe Clein Kellerman '99
For as far back as she can remember, Phoebe Clein Kellerman ‘99 has always been drawn to art. If you were a classmate of Phoebe’s, you might recall her making handmade books in Marcia Buch’s art class, printing photos in the darkroom, and painting large canvases with acrylic paint in the DeFeo Art Barn. Phoebe recollects, “My mom took a watercolor course when I was very young, and she allowed me to try out her professional grade watercolors and paper. I was fascinated by the process.” By high school, she was experimenting with a variety of mediums; in addition to all the work she did at Watkinson, she was making stained glass windows at home. “At Goucher College, I continued to create art, while majoring in Psychology. After graduating from Goucher, I briefly attended École supérieure d’art et de design des Pyrénées in France where I studied ceramics. I never chose to pursue art as a career, instead I use painting as a personal outlet that helps me relax.”
After that Phoebe returned to America to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work from UConn. She spent over 13 years as a clinical social worker. She worked exclusively with children, adolescents and their families, first in private practice, then at a group home in Waterford, CT, a residential treatment, and for almost seven years with Inpatient Psychiatry in crisis management at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It was during this time that her daughter, Sophie, was born. “I picked up watercolor after having my daughter Sophie because it’s a very portable medium and I can bring it with me everywhere I go. I took advantage of painting during her naps every day when she was a toddler!
Phoebe recently left the field of social work, in August of 2021, in order to join her family’s Food Safety Consulting business, Kellerman Consulting. Her husband and brother-in-law, Mickey, started the business five years ago, and it has grown tremendously. She uses her art skills doing video production and editing for their YouTube Food Safety training videos. Like many people, Phoebe gets to work at home, “I love it, I get to paint and listen to records in my free time. We’ve amassed quite the collection of vinyl during the pandemic.”
Only at Watkinson for her junior and senior years, Phoebe reflects, “They were amazing and influential years. It was a big wake up call being in a smaller class where I couldn’t hide. The teachers at Watkinson were incredibly kind and nurturing, and they had very high expectations for all their students to be the best we could be. Watkinson helped me be more well rounded; I am not athletic in the least, but I enjoyed having the opportunity to play Lacrosse and Volleyball. Each and every teacher at Watkinson took time to make a connection with me, and I always felt a sense of community while I was there. Watkinson truly prepared me for college.”
Watkinson thanks Phoebe for donating two original watercolor paintings of Feringa and Goodwin Hall which will be auctioned at A Watkinson Affair on February 26, 2022.
About her donation, she said, “I want to give back to the community that gave me so much.”