Biography: Kehren Barbour

If we can agree that through depth and skill comes from knowledge & familiarity and through practice comes mastery.

We become what we do; I make art.

— Kehren Barbour, 2016


Kehren Barbour returned to Appalachia after working in Dance & Experimental Arts in the San Francisco Bay area to pursue graduate studies in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. Born in West Virginia, she was interested in study of Sustainable Development from a place being dismantled by extractive industries.

With formal training and experience in the Fine and Theatrical Arts and Cross-Media Experimentation, Barbour uses object as medium to recreate a story and share an experience with audience. Current project is called the Post Piano Project and is study of methods of construction and deconstruction with creation of object d’art and instrument/installation pieces dedicated to craft of careful listening.

Design work in the Bay Area included work for:  the American Conservatory Theater, the Magic TheaterZ SpaceAshby Stageand for a number of artists on stage at Project Artaud Theater. Kehren designed set components for the Brooklyn Folk Fest in May 2012 and stage design for the Kronos Quartet’s Awakenings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September 2011. Kehren has continued to design for stage, working for the Magnetic Theater in Asheville, NC.  

Kehren lives in Asheville with her husband and son. Art pieces from the Post Piano Project are available for purchase at a few shops in region, including: FD Found Design, Horse+Hero, and London District Studios.  

CV related to Arts available here.

Listing of Designs for theater available here.

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David ThoreauWalden: Or, Life in the Woods

Kehren Barbour graduated from Appalachian State University in Spring 2013 with a Master´s Degree in Sustainable Development and Appalachian Studies.   Making decision to move from San Francisco to attend this program after looking in to Sustainable Development programs across the American landscape, decision was fueled by  interest in impacts of Colonialism and Extractive Industry on Culture and Landscape.  
I am interested in mirrors of the internal landscape and how they reflect and reflect on their external landscapes.   I thinks that skills honed in tools of creative and collaborative arts are key to processing and responding to the complexities facing population on our overburdened planet.  I seek to teach in a program that celebrates topics of Sustainable Development with tools of the creative and collaborative arts in an interdisciplinary program. I sees theater and creative arts as tool to build contextual understanding, practice collaboration, and to develop the skills to communication complex ideas related to ethics, economy, and environment. – – Kehren Barbour when describing desire to teach in an Interdisclipinary Program discussing Environmental and Ethical Challenges using tools and lived experiences honed as Artist


Barbour teaches in ways that foster creativity and encourage understanding, interconnectivity, accountability and adaptability.  Inspired by words of Lawrence Cremin’s “Transformation of the School” and aided by experiences in theater and arts, she is interested in exploration of idea with outcome of evolved understanding.  Context being key to comprehension, creativity is excellent tool for comprehension complicated challenges of topics couched under heading “Sustainable Development.”

“. . . the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization – ours included – the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’ We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts.” 
– National Standards for Arts Education


“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”  ― Aldo Leopold


I am interested in residencies & short-term projects that use creativity as tool to foster understanding concepts related to Sustainable Development and arts as tool to develop skills of observation and engagement in one’s environment.  I am dedicated to craft of careful listening.  I believe that the creative process fosters examination and appropriate response to the challenges facing us as a inhabitants on an overburdened planet. — Kehren Barbour when talking about shared experiences of Arts & Sustainable Development