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Karen Ahuja was born in Cincinnati, Ohio where she attended the college of Design Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. She continued her education at Xavier University with a MBA. Moving to Fayetteville Arkansas in 2011, she renewed her passion for painting and started Karen Ahuja Studio where she has sold her paintings nationally and internationally. She exhibits her work in galleries, home décor stores and online. She has published articles in Professional Artist Magazine, National Endowment for the Arts Fund, Dick Blick and Jerry’s Artarama. Her most recent adventures include the Welcome Pineapple Project which raises awareness about the challenges of international adoption and provides financial support for families who can not afford counseling.
Jeffry Cantu lives, volunteers, and is a University of Arkansas student in Fort Smith, AR. He is a United States Navy veteran who was stationed in Japan and traveled throughout Asia and the Pacific in 2000. Cantu has been influenced by the busy, high speed culture in Tokyo. He met his supportive husband eight years ago and gradually his ambitions have become reality. He is curator at Bastion Gallery in Fort Smith and was the scenic artist for the UAFS Theater production “Mist and Shadows.” The traveling show has gone to the Arkansas State Festival and Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and received the Excellence in New Play Development award.
Cantu specializes in three-dimensional design and mixed media abstract works, but creates in all mediums in all scale ranges. He says “art helps me to overcome PTSD and gives me freedom to break imposed labels and rules to create a more vibrant life.” In 2018 Cantu was nominated by CAE to showcase nine artworks at The Van Buren Adult Education Center. He is currently featured in ARTalk Magazine, 2019 Jan-April.
Zachary Cleve is from Davenport, Iowa and earned bachelor’s degrees in painting and sociology from Saint Ambrose University in 2010. He received his MFA in painting and drawing in 2015 from the University of Iowa while working as an instructor there. He now lives and practices in Fayetteville, AR.
Adriana Patrucco was born and raised in Perú. She is strongly influenced by the Peruvian indigenist painting from the first four decades of the 20th century, in particular, by the work of José Sabogal and Carlota Carvallo. Petrucco’s attraction to these artists is reflected in the innovative use of exaggerated facial features of her portraits and the use of particular colors reminiscent of those used in Andean folklore.
Other crucial influences on her art are John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Gustave Caillebotte, Tamara de Lempicka, and Paul Cézanne, from whom she learns the synthesis of light and the aesthetics of gestural elements in figurative painting. During her time at the School of Art in Lima, Perú, she also developed a strong career in children’s illustration. She paints at her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The late Linda Sheets (1955 – 2018), born in Northern Indiana to a Plumber and a Nurse, created art of one kind or another for most of her life. The first of her family to attend college, she quit art school after two years to become a plumber. This led to a twenty-five year career as a Contractor/Plumber before retiring in 2003 to return to her one great love, making art.
She licensed six of her designs in 2011 for use in beginner kits to the company that produces the scratchboard product that she used (Ampersand).. Scratchboard, developed in the early twentieth century, primarily for use in graphic illustrating, has re-emerged as a viable fine art medium.
In 2013 she created two illustrated books, Dog Scratchin’ and Cat Scratchin’. Her most recent project, an illustrated children’s book with her adopted Ethiopian niece as inspiration for the main character was left to be completed by Art Ventures as part of her Legacy Gift. Her work can be found in private collections around the world.