In Loving Memory of Kurt Precourt Taecker


One of Awakenings’ most loyal and celebrated artists, Kurt Precourt Taecker, died on January 31, 2010, at age 56. He will be missed by a large community of friends and family, especially by fellow Awakenings Project colleagues with whom he exhibited his striking paintings. They grew to know his brilliance, his gentleness, and his friendship.

Born on October 22, 1953, Kurt grew up in Naperville, Illinois where, coincidently, the first Awakenings Art Show was held in 1997. Kurt participated in that show in an important way and his work was greatly admired by other Awakenings artists.

Kurt, who had aspirations of becoming a doctor, felt education was fundamental to his life. For several years, his family lived abroad, including one year in France and two years in Austria, where Kurt graduated from Vienna’s American International School. After high school, Kurt entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he enrolled in pre-med classes. During his sophomore year, however, Kurt became acutely ill with schizophrenia, an illness that cut short his studies and greatly challenged him throughout his life.

For those who knew him, Kurt bore his illness bravely. Though he had a continuing interest in cancer research, he became a prolific artist, whose oil-on-canvas studies in light and color appeared in art exhibitions, in the lobbies of corporations, and on the covers of medical journals. Also an award-winning musician, Kurt was a founder and board member of The Awakenings Project, a group which encourages the creative energy of persons with mental illness in the areas of fine art, music, literature, and drama.

Though Kurt had his times of difficulty, he was kind, thoughtful and devoted.  He once wrote, “I am different now.  I want to focus on positive things.  My bad mood exaggerated my guilt and fear.  I will try not to scold myself and others.  I have sometimes hurt the ones I love, but this came out of my suffering.  I want to let bygones be bygones.”

“In the new year, I will live one day at a time.  If you weigh yourself down with the days behind, and the days ahead, your back will break.  Forget the past and breathe in the blessing of each new day.  Each day will hold something good.  I will be renewed.  I will be remade.  Goodness shall flow through me, and sweep away the bitter past.  I will take heart.  The way will open for me.  The truth is that I faced into the dark day and I won.”

Copyright (c) 2010, The Awakenings Project