Peak Creek Storm Drain Mural No. 001

About the Artist

Cheri (Coulon) Strenz was born in West Virginia, but grew up on Claytor Lake, attending Pulaski County Schools. Attending Radford College to study Art Education, she received her BS and MS in Art Education.

Cheri’s first teaching position was at New River Community College where she stayed for several years. From there she went on to Wytheville Community College, and taught Art for one year in Pulaski County. After moving to New Jersey, Cheri worked for a year and a half in art material sales in New York City. In order to spend more time with her young children, she accepted an offer to teach Art at Montclair Kimberly Academy, where she spent the next ten years.

All through her teaching career Cheri had a developed and busy side business, completing scores of commissions, both commercial and private. She left teaching behind and took a much needed break, traveling with her husband, Bob. After a few years, she, along with her friend Betsy, opened an interior design/decorative painting business, Finishing Touches. Working in the New York metropolitan area, painting large scale murals, trompe l’oeil, and developing interiors in both commercial and residential spaces kept her very busy for the next twelve years.

Having owned a house on Claytor Lake since 1986, Cheri and Bob made the decision to move to the Lake in the early 2000’s. The next few years meant a lot of back and forth, while phasing out the Design business, and designing the home on Claytor.

Retiring “back home”, Cheri shifted gears again into volunteer mode. Getting involved with the Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL) around 2007 was an easy choice. She has served as a committee chair, project volunteer, and the President of FOCL for nearly five years, until 2019. She continues to serve on the FOCL Board and volunteer for many activities and projects. In 2013, when the Friends of Peak Creek (FOPC) was forming, Cheri (as a representative of FOCL), was asked to have a seat on the FOPC Board. She served on the FOPC Board for eight years. In 2019 Cheri was invited to join the Board of the New River Historic Society, where she currently serves as the Board Secretary.

Cheri lives on Claytor Lake with her husband, Bob, where they enjoy frequent visits from their family (four children, their spouses, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild) and many friends. They feel blessed to live in this beautiful part of the country.