Gloria Shahczenski always wanted to be a painter. Growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she preferred landscape painting and admired the works of the great Georgia O’Keeffe. Her passion for art brought her to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) after high school, and life in the city has kept her here ever since.
After getting her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from MCAD, Shahczenski pursued the artist’s life for a few years, working for a photo lab retouching images. Desiring a more comfortable living wage, she later took a job driving buses in Minneapolis.
Having tried both the artist’s life and the working life, Shahczenski then decided to bring the two ventures together. She had always loved working with paint and found that she could make a reasonable living painting indoor and outdoor surfaces. In the mid-1990’s, she enrolled in the painter’s union training program then began working for commercial painting contractors.
After several years of contract work, Shahczenski landed a job at the U of M and has enjoyed painting the U’s landscape for the past five years. She likes the work atmosphere at the U and enjoys it most when she gets to work on accent walls and faux finishes. In just a few years, Shahczenski has had the opportunity to work all over the Twin Cities campus, but is now based primarily in the North-West District.
Professional painting hasn’t taken the place of Shahczenski’s artwork. She still does oil painting in her free time, especially landscapes and waterscapes. She loves painting the North Shore of Lake Superior and the scenery of New Mexico. Shahczenski uses her photography skills to help aid the painting process. She photographs a scene that she wants to paint, and then can continue working on it even after the sun goes down or clouds roll in.
Art and work are not Shahczenski’s only pursuits. She also enjoys reading mysteries, biographies and novels, as well as traveling. Her artwork inspired a trip to France to see the works of some great European artists, like Cezanne and Monet. She has also enjoyed visiting the Southwestern United States and Canada. Shahczenski likes to donate to philanthropic causes in the Twin Cities, like Meals on Wheels and Second Harvest, whenever possible.