People Who Care: Edith Deltgen’s Love of Art
Edith Deltgen was born in Cologne, Germany and fell in love with art in the first grade when she and a friend produced a play together and she designed the backdrop. She was continually drawn to the creative side of things growing up, and after graduating high school, she landed a spot at the prestigious Cologne Art Institute. Unfortunately, her family had other plans, so she earned a teaching degree and became the director of an before and after school day program.
Regardless, she continued to let art infuse everything around her. During her tenure as principal, Deltgen successfully added pottery, dancing and cooking to the school’s curriculum.
In 1993, Deltgen and her husband and children decided to relocate to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for her husband’s job. As the mother of two continued to hone her craft as an artist, she began working with special needs students in the Dare County School System through a partnership with the local Nags Head Lions Club and the Outer Banks Women’s Club. She helped bring art projects for the students to the classroom.
She and her family again relocated, this time to Columbia, N.C. She heard about Monarch’s Scuppernong River Club at the Cohoon Center in Tyrell County and she began to volunteer as an art instructor. “I’ve always been interested in working with people with special needs,” she explained, and says the Cohoon Center provided her with another outlet to be able to do that, reengage with art and to give back to the community.
Recently, they finished an art project creating trees and flowers to go on display at the Outer Banks Women’s Club art show, an exhibit they have previously participated in and won awards.
“I think they need to do it [create art] any way they can,” Deltgen said. “We have made huge progress through artwork.”
They have already started preparing for this year’s North Carolina Lions Club Visually Impaired Persons Fishing Tournament, which attracts over 500 blind and visually impaired people to the Outer Banks. This will be Deltgen and the Cohoon Center’s third year participating in the event which features art and activities when participants aren’t fishing.
“It’s nice for them to be able to give something to somebody,” Deltgen said. Art for her is “the secret of life,” and she is now able to give that to the people we support and allow them to have the tools they need to give back to their community.
Plus, she said, it is fun for her too. “I have a huge heart they made for me with all of the people we support’s names on it hanging in my house,” Deltgen said. “What could be more rewarding than that?”