Carrie MaKenna

Studio & Gallery, Denver Colorado

About Carrie MaKenna

    I make artwork to remind people of their interconnection with each other, nature and the universe, while creating a respite from the challenges and stresses of life. It’s especially rewarding when people tell me they experienced or learned something from viewing my artwork.

     My artwork has evolved over three decades to include rich textures and a delicious color palette of sixteen liquid acrylics that allows me to explore abstracts, landscapes and portraits alike.

      I typically begin by creating texture on the canvas using a thick lightweight acrylic paste that allows me to build up the surface, and sculpt and sand it before adding paint. I use a variety of elements such as dried paint and found objects to create additional texture. I like to work quickly and get a lot of paint on the canvas at once, using an array of implements, brushes and my hands to move it around.

     The overarching intention for my artwork is to create a respite from the challenges and stresses of modern life by reminding viewers of their interconnection with the natural world, cycles of time, and with each other, through memories, thoughts, feelings and hopes and dreams.

     I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art and a Master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling Psychology, as well as a lifelong interest in and exploration of worldwide, universal spiritual studies and a meditative practice that guides and informs my art making. My artwork is in collections in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Austria and the UK.

     I work from my studio in Denver CO where I share a creative life with my husband Craig Rouse and
our Studio Dog Riley.

     It is my intention to create art that portrays an experience of the world that cannot necessarily be seen. My paintings, drawings, and sculpture are generally the product of my spiritual and meditative pursuits. They are images of my experience of the intuitive senses that underlie, surround and penetrated the regular three-dimensional world we're used to perceiving.
     Some of my earliest memories involve looking intently at the world and making art. I was first enthralled with coloring books, as many children are, and spent many hours contentedly coloring. Later I got my first camera, a hand-me-down Brownie. I took "artsy" black and white photographs of the sky and clouds. By junior high I was teaching myself how to draw the human body proportionately by looking in the mirror and discovering where different parts of my body met up with other parts. When standing, where was my elbow level with my waist, my wrist with my leg? What about when I raised my arms above my head? How much of my face did my hand cover? I taught myself body proportion this way.
Although I took art classes in high school and in college and got some experience with techniques and practice with different modalities, I didn't realize a true level of creativity until I was on my own after college. My breakthrough project that I assigned myself was a series of six masks based on Greek gods and goddesses. The foundation I used was heavy formed cardboard packing material from electronics shipping crates. For the first time I gave myself the freedom to really push the edge of my creativity and do whatever it took to create these masks the way I envisioned them. I allowed myself to cut and attach and rearrange and used every kind of material.

Since then my work and creativity has progressed steadily. There have been two additionally significant breakthroughs. One was the opportunity to show my work on an annual basis in group shows with my spiritual community. The other was observing my fellow students at Naropa University while they pursued their art-making with abandon. These two opened the door for me to really let go and get creative. They also led me to a way of accessing the intuitive images I now portray. I look forward to growing and deepening my art for the next half of my life.

My formal education includes a BFA from Colorado State University in Graphic Design and Ceramics, and a MA in Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy from the Naropa University. Additionally, I have a wide variety of training and certificates in business management, healing arts, marketing, spiritual arts and public speaking and training. I'm on a long and winding path less traveled.

I'm a 4th generation native of Denver Colorado. My great-grandfather was an artist and sign painter in Denver. And I live happily here with my husband Craig (an amazing graphic designer and artist and our dog Riley.


CV - Selected Exhibits, Awards and Publications

Solo & Two-Person Exhibitions

  • 2020 Solo – Open For Discussion - Gallery East, Denver CO
  • 2019 Solo – Topographic Groundwork - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2019 Solo – Enter The Universal Circle - Core New Art Space, Denver CO
  • 2018 Solo – Enter The Universal Circle - La Cour, Denver CO
  • 2018 Solo – Enter The Universal Circle - Aurora Municipal Center, Aurora CO
  • 2017 Solo – Enter The Universal Circle - Lakewood Cultural Center. Lakewood CO
  • 2017 Solo – Ride the Fiery Torrent - La Cour, Denver CO
  • 2016 Solo – Let’s See Inside - HoffMiller Design, Denver CO
  • 2015 Solo – Over the Mantel - Francois & Co., Denver CO
  • 2014 Solo – Select New Works - Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2013 Solo – Elements & Style - Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2012 2-Person – Garden Party - Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2011 2-Person – Mandalas - Block 7 Arts, Lakewood CO
  • 2010 2-Person – 5seven5, Haiku and Artwork - Belmar Arts, Denver CO
  • 2009 2-Person – Tile & Stone - Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2008 Solo – How To Survive Death, - Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 1998 2-Person – Let’s Dance - Semple Brown Architects, Denver CO
  • 1995 Solo – First Friday - The New Lab Santa Fe Dr, Denver CO
  • 1986 Solo – Sink or Swim - Zang Mansion, Denver CO


Selected Group & Juried Exhibitions

  • 2021 Creative Reuse - 40 West Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2021 Love or Something Like It, Juror Dana Cain - Core Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2021 I Heart …  - 40 West Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2021 Use Of Negative Space - R Gallery, Boulder CO, Juror Rob Landtz
  • 2021 New Beginnings - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2021 Beyond the Surface - Core Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2020 Simply Small 2 - Gallery East, Denver CO
  • 2020 Andra’ Tutto Bene’ - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2020 Walk-up Window Members Exhibit - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2020 WCA 30th Annual Members Show - Core New Art Space, Lakewood CO
  • 2020 Many Voices, One Message, Art - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2020 Bloom, Juror Liz Black - Gallery 4-1/2, Lakewood CO
  • 2019 Meet The Artists, Members Group Exhibition - D’art Gallery, Denver CO
  • 2019 Resolutions WCACO Invitational - Core New Art Space, Denver CO
  • 2018 I Contain Multitudes, Invitational Portraiture Exhibit, Curator Laine Godsey - Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood CO
  • 2017-2019 Artists In Residences Studio Tour, Lakewood CO
  • 2014 Belmar Block 7 Shows Off, Curator Lorene Joos - Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood CO
  • 2010 20th Annual High 5 Exhibit - Colorado Alliance of Illustrators, Lakewood CO


Exhibit Curating & Jurying

  • 2021 – Juror, Expression In Abstract - Lakewood Arts Acorn Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2020 – Curator, Women’s Caucus for Art Small Works Exhibit, 40 West Art Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2020 – Curator, Show Me, Tell Me by Craig Rouse & Stanley Turner, Arts Carrie MaKenna, Lakewood CO
  • 2011-2016 - Curator, Annual Photo Array Group Exhibit, Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2014 – Juror and Curator, Jeffco Teachers Annual Art Exhibit, Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood CO
  • 2010 – Textures of Autumn, Group Exhibit, Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2008 – Juror and Curator, Public Image Group Exhibit, Anam Cara Studio & Gallery, Lakewood CO
  • 2005 – Judge: Jefferson County High Schools, Annual Student Art Show, Lakewood CO


Commissions, Collections and Public Art

  • 2020 Commission - City of Lakewood - Hand Sanitizer Station Barrels, Lakewood CO
  • 2019 Commission - City of Lakewood - Alameda Utility Box Wraps, Lakewood CO
  • 2015 Commission - City of Lakewood - Beautiful Benches, Lakewood CO
  • 2012 Commission - Hotel Rooms Artwork - NINEdotARTS, Denver CO
  • 2011 Commission - Denver Art Museum - Motherwell Exhibit Display Illustration, Denver CO
  • 2009 Purchase - City of Lakewood - Mayor’s Business Awards, Lakewood CO
  • 2006 Commission - Children’s Hospital Graphic Animal Illustrations, Aurora CO
  • 1999 Commission - AGNT New Thought Leaders Portraits, Palm Springs CA
  • 1988 Commission - Theater Company Character Masks, Denver CO

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Recognition, Press & Awards

Article: Meet Carrie MaKenna, Contemporary Fine Artist, Shoutout Colorado, March 23, 2021

Article: Gallery East: Carrie Makenna, Open For Discussion: Stories From a Woman’s Perspective, Staff Westword: October 14, 2020

Article: Making art out of traffic electrical boxes, by Joseph Rios, Lakewood Sentinel, February 11, 2020

Article: Art Attack: Eight Best Things For Gallery Lovers to Do This Week In Denver, by Susan Froyd, Westword, Denver CO, January 29, 2020

Article: Art Attack: Eight Best Things For Gallery Lovers to Do This Week In Denver, by Susan Froyd, Westword, Denver CO, September 19, 2019

Article: Three Galleries at 900 Santa Fe Keep This Art District's Label Alive, by Michael Paglia, Westword, September 11, 2019

Article: Labor of Love: D’art Gallery will focus on local contemporary artists, by Kailyn Lamb,
Washington Park Profile, Denver CO, September 8, 2019 p.21

Article: Artist Carrie MaKenna Makes Art for the Spirit, by Laurie Dunklee, Neighborhood Gazette,
Denver CO, July 16-August 13, 2019 front page

Interview: Honoring Historic Colorado Women Through Public Art, by Stacy Nick, NPR-KUNC,
Greeley CO, Mar 28, 2019

Article: Where’s All the Public Artwork Honoring Colorado Women?, by Meredith Sell, 5280 Magazine, Denver CO, Mar 6, 2019

Article: Local Artist Profile: Carrie MaKenna, by Meghan Ruble, Bravo Lakewood, Sep-Dec 2016 p.14

Award: Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence, Inspire! Arts Week Lakewood, Pueblo CO, Jun 2016

Article: Couple marks fourth year on Belmar’s Block 7, by Steve Oelrich, Denver Post HUB, Nov 3, 2011.

Article: Belmar helps Denver celebrate Arts Week, by Steve Oelrich, Denver Post HUB, Oct 27, 2011

Article: Show celebrating the head comes to a close, by Steve Oelrich, Denver Post HUB, Sep 22, 2011

Article: Belmar galleries ready to help Inspire! June 3, by Steve Oelrich, Denver Post HUB, May 26, 2011


Professional Resume

Studio Arts / Public Art / Speaking & Education


Professional Mid-career Artist specializing in Representational and Abstract subjects. Working in acrylic and mixed media on canvas using a textured underlayment with a specially selected palette of twenty colors. Proficient in a wide variety of additional media, curating and jurying, designing and facilitating workshops and presentations for all sizes of audience.


Studio and Public Arts

  • Continuously and consistently produced artwork in a studio environment and on-site throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe for over 30 years.
  • Proficient to teach a wide variety of visual arts media including acrylics, oil and chalk pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, ink, charcoal and ceramics.
  • Artwork is in private collections in the US, Mexico, Europe and Japan.
  • Participated in solo, group and juried exhibits continuously for over 30 years.
  • Artwork has been selected for commercial building commissions, city and parks public art commissions, and invitational group exhibitions.


Speaking & Teaching

  • Conceived, researched, designed, marketed and facilitated more than 20 original experiential arts-oriented workshops for a variety of participants for over 30 years.
  • Dynamic and humorous inspirational keynote speaker at over 150 events for audiences
    of up to 2000.
  • Conceived, researched, wrote, and marketed original interactive adult leadership development workshops focusing on communication and conflict management skills featuring experiential arts components.

Exhibit Curating and Gallery Management

  • Own and operate a studio and gallery for the past fifteen years. Developed and curated more than 40 one-person exhibits and 15 group shows.
  • Marketed the gallery and art shows to local media and garnered many articles in local papers and online, and had as many as 3,000 attendants at any one event.
  • Initiated, planned and implemented more than 20 one-person exhibits. Secured space, created marketing and public relations materials, planned exhibit layout, created an opening reception and handled sales.


Professional Experience

Founding Officer, D’art Gallery 
Denver CO  2019 – Present

Initiated, planned, developed and opened a new 16-member co-operative gallery in the heart of the Denver’s oldest arts district. Serving as founding Co-Director planned, directed and managed all start-up business activities to create a thriving membership gallery.

Owner/Director, Arts Carrie MaKenna,
Lakewood CO  1995 – Present

Established a vibrant studio, gallery, and events company. Directed and managed all business functions including marketing and sales, budgeting and finance, and product development. Continuously created original artwork for sale and by commission.

Marketing Manager, First Trust Corporation, 
Denver CO  1986 – 1995

Managed a team of designers and writers in a national financial services corporation. Conceptualized, coordinated, and directed sales and marketing programs, promotions, campaigns and events. Additionally created artwork for sale and by commission.


Education and Training

  • Master of Arts, The Naropa University,
    Boulder Colorado
    Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology - Art Therapy, Group Dynamics, Adult Education.
  • Bachelor of Fine Art, Colorado State University,
    Fort Collins Colorado
    Undergraduate concentration in Painting, Ceramics, Graphic Design, & Marketing.