Artist Natalie Voelker holds her painting Fire Striker.

Partners In Philanthropy – Natalie Voelker

Artist Natalie Voelker holds her painting Fire Striker.

As a painter and muralist, Natalie Voelker investigates complexity and transcendence in seemingly ordinary people. In 2022, the Foundation commissioned her to create a painting that would visually represent capacity building, continued collaboration with community partners, new grant programs and the organization’s development of a five-year strategic plan.

“This is such a great organization doing great work, with a mission that everyone is committed to and enthusiastic about,” says Voelker. “It’s nice to work with people like that. Plus, they were so open about me doing anything I wanted. So I got to be more experimental.”

Voelker, a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation fellow, has also created works for the Harwood Art Center, 508 Mural Festival, the City of Albuquerque and various private collections – both nationally and abroad.

The painting, Fire Striker (24” x 24” oil on panel), depicts a pair of hands starting a fire, surrounded by nature. To find inspiration, she attended a Foundation staff meeting. When she saw everyone snapping their fingers as a
way to give kudos, and the interesting assortment of hands around the room, the idea came to her of those hands sparking positive energy.

“I thought it was a nice metaphor for the work of the Foundation. The work they do sparks something that has the power to light the way,” she says. “Also, multiple fires can be lit from an initial spark, so the impact is far greater than the impact of one spark alone. Together, the staff is creating something beautiful.”