April Featured Artist: Colleen Wagner

Art teachers have one advantage. They develop a certain fluidity between technique and material: pencil, graphite, acrylic, oil, collage, mixed media. And teachers have one disadvantage: little time for their own art, especially if they enter administration. Once teacher and administrator, now Colleen Wagner follows full time her artistic passion—mixed media. Even as a child, she admits, “I always loved beautiful things in art. My grandmother, who was paralyzed and could not use her arms, got me started.” After all, even though a farmer’s wife, her grandmother became quite a good artist, using primarily oils. Colleen remembers, “I was eight years old. She got me interested in the technical aspects.” Coming from a farming family, imagine her father’s shock when Colleen changed her degree—because of one optional drawing course—from nursing to fine arts. In her senior year, she admitted she faced a potential employment dilemma and added a final semester of education courses. Wanting to explore the world, she took a job in Watts, California … during the 1965 riots. by Bella Erakko

Now retired, Colleen Wagner has returned full time to her passion for art, going from hobby artist to recognized artist. Belonging to artists’ groups in Arkansas and Missouri, she is currently active in the Kirksville MOSI Art Guild, The Columbia Art League, and is a juried member of the Best of Missouri Hands.

Whether working in acrylics or mixed media, abstract or realism, her art stirs the heart. Scenes of an empty road winding through Midwest plains, or a softly balanced abstract expression of color, fiber, feathers, paper—multi-media—one is left with the same feeling of beauty and wholeness and invitation.

Today she finds herself going ever deeper within herself, seeking more meaning. One recent work depicts a group of people standing in the rain. They could be any nationality. Entitled “Waiting,” it leaves the viewer with an unfinished sense of being between.

Colleen started Gallery 104 Art on the Square in Kirksville, MO in 2016. Open Thursday through Saturday, the mission of the Gallery is to provide talented regional artists the opportunity to display and sell their original art. Also, the Gallery steps forward to help others. When the Kirksville Art Association building burned down, artists in Gallery 104 contributed works of art for auction, raising $6000 to help the rebuild effort.

Today, Colleen Wagner blends artistic talent, school-learned administrative skills, and a recognition that artists need a place to share their gifts with the Kirksville community … and beyond.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday April 14 from 5 until 8:00.