Kristen Helberg - Paintings, Murals, and Vinegar Grained Boxes

Kristin Helberg

Photo by George Frazier

Photo by George Frazier

About Kristin

Kristin makes her home and painting studio in the historic neighborhood of Rodgers Forge in Towson, Maryland. 

She splits her time between creating paintings for gallery shows and working with school children to create permanent murals in public schools in the artist in residence program with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Combining her painting skills and her knowledge of vinegar-graining, she creates decorative furniture and accessories. Her Early American vinegar-grained furniture was sold at ABC Home in New York City for many years.

Her smaller grained boxes are currently sold at the gift shop of the National Archives Museum, Washington, D.C as well as selected artisan shows at American museums.  For five years she was a visiting artisan at Colonial Williamsburg where she gave vinegar graining demonstrations during the year.


In Europe, she has been part of group and solo shows at the Gallery Pro Art in Morges, Switzerland and the Gallery Black of Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Over the years, she has been in shows at the Eldred Wheeler Gallery in Houston, Texas; the Savannah College of Art and Design Galleries in Savannah, Georgia; the Intuit Center of Chicago, Illinois; the Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, North Carolina; the Toad Hall Gallery in Cooperstown, New York; the America Oh Yes Gallery in Hilton Head, South Carolina and the Frank Miele Gallery in New York City.

In 2001, she was chosen to participate in the Fish Out of Water project in Baltimore. Her fish entitled, Conefish, received the highest bid of $22,500 during the art auction evening at the Walters Art Museum, which helped to benefit art programs for Baltimore City children.

President William Clinton chose her painting “Bill and Elvisto become part of the permanent collection at his Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2003.

In 2004, Andre Codrescu, poet and NPR commentator, commissioned her to create his portrait, entitled, “The Devil and Andre Codrescu”.

Giorgio Ubaldi, the choir director of the Milan Jazz Choir in Milan, Italy selected her painting “Gospel Music Makes me Fly”, for the CD cover of their 2005 recording of American Gospel Music.

In January of 2011, she was commissioned to create a 3′ x 5′ painting entitled Our Family Tree for the lobby of Mary’s Center, a new medical facility in Washington, D.C.

May of 2011, The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution chose her portrait “Grandma Moses to become part of their permanent collection. It is the only painted portrait of Grandma Moses in their collection.

The University of Maryland University College, acquired her painting  The Arabber” in September of 2013 to become part of the UMUC permanent art collection. The painting depicts the Baltimore city vendors, known as Arabbers, who sell fruits and vegetables from their pony carts as they roam through City neighborhoods.

In March of 2014, The Reginald Lewis Museum in the Baltimore Inner Harbor acquired her painting “The Safe House” to become part of their permanent display honoring Harriet Tubman.

In Washington, D.C., her paintings are part of the permanent collections of the National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Inn at NIH and at the National Children’s Medical Center.

The ABC television network owns her artwork which was featured on the sets ofAll My Childrenduring the 1996 and 1997 seasons of programs.