Our art exhibition is "Mon Amour de Fleur" a One Woman show by Carol Virak. Carol shares her inspiration for her latest work, "I was trained in the classical tradition from still lifes, to life drawings from models and I wanted to go back to my roots and really study my subject. I had never painted or drawn flowers...so it was the thing that I needed to try (my love of parrot tulips, peonies, hydrangeas was so great, who could compete with mother nature?). The minute I started painting I needed to go big to get the details I wanted. I've recognized that my strongest paintings are when I combine realism with abstract expressionism."
Carol Virak has had a life-long continuing education in Art. Beginning to excel in art in Jr. High school, she received a summer study scholarship to Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and found herself drawing and studying art with mostly adults. Continuing her education, she received a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, and a Masters of Fine Art degree from the University of Puget Sound inTacoma, Washington. While raising her 2 children, Carol continued her education at the University of Puget Sound and received her Washington State Teaching Credentials, K-12, with the intention of teaching Art in high school. After substitute teaching for several years, she was awarded a Lifetime Substitute Teaching Credential K-12.
Carol taught Art at Curtis Jr. High School in University Place before accepting the position of Director of Education at the Tacoma Art Museum. Her duties included curating exhibits for the Children's Gallery, training Docents for school tours, and installing exhibits in the main Gallery.
Carol developed a concern that there wasn't an artist represented on the Tacoma Arts Commission, and took her views to Tacoma City Councilman Joe Stortini. Carol was then appointed to the Tacoma Arts Commission to give a voice to local artists concerning decisions being made about Art for the city of Tacoma. As an Arts Commissioner Carol was part of the first "1% for Public Art" plan to commission an artist for the new Tacoma Dome.
Carol was commissioned by the Pantages Theatre Board to raise funds for the Theatre restoration through the "Be a Brick for the Pantages" project. Tacoma citizens bought a brick for $25 with their name imprinted on it, which was placed in front of the Theatre. This project earned her a "Time Magazine Person of the Year Award" and a brass plaque on the entry to the newly restored historical Pantages Theatre.
Concern for the lack of exhibition spaces for local artists inspired her to become the owner, curator of the "Contemporary CraftGallery, Inc." in the Tacoma Financial center on Broadway. While not exhibiting her own work in the gallery, she exhibited various disciplines of fine art in crafts media and became a champion of local artists needing exhibition space. As the Gallery owner, she curated and commissioned the art for the new offices of Fiduciary Counseling Inc., the financial arm of the Weyerhaeuser family. Monthly exhibits brought recognition to local artists and helped support a newly emerging arts community in Tacoma.
Carol's interest in helping artists led her to an appointment as a "Fellow" to The National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C. to work with the Challenge III Program. Her job at the Endowment was to research at the Library of Congress all Corporations who donate funds to the Arts, how much they give to the various disciplines (visual, performance, music, theater, etc.) and compile this information for the Director of the Endowment. Her time at the Endowment provided an insight into the funding process for Arts organizations on a national scale.
Carol has continued to champion local artists, having chaired the Harbor History Museum Art Exhibition "SPLASH" for 2 years and serving on the committee for 4 years.Since retiring, Carol has devoted her lifelong interest in Art to "finding her own voice" as an artist, and maintains a working studio "CV Gallery" at her home. Acrylic painting, pastels, charcoal and collage are her medium choices of expression.