Karen ehlers


SInce 1990, Karen has been showing her work in numerous exhibits and galleries on the West Coast.  For over twenty years now, she has created an array of public works in Portland (OR), San Jose (CA), Seattle (WA), and Washington (D.C.), while also working as an adjunct professor at various art institutes.

Karen Ehlers currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA.


  • MFA | Oil Painting & Printmaking | American University | Washington, D.C.
  • BFA | Oil Painting & Printmaking | University of Oregon | Eugene, OR

Public Art Experience

2012    "JapanTown Mural Project" at 6th & Jackson | San Jose, CA
- Original painting enlarged to 5.5' x 9' commissioned for the JapanTown Celebration.
2011    “Belly of the Beast” at ArtObject Gallery | San Jose, CA
- Co-curator of group exhibit showcasing work by local sculptors and painters.
2008    "Fettish" / SparkPlugArt at Blackfish Gallery | Portland, OR
- Window installation in association with Bullseye Glass during Portland's Glass Seminar Week.
2007    "NoWhere" / SparkPlugArt at The Jupiter Affair, The Wonder Ballroom | Portland, OR
- Installation of 17,000 plastic forks inside 1964 travel trailer, accompanied by ambient music and lights.
2007    "Wall of Wine" at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) | Portland, OR
- Co-director of installation for PICA Underground, a fundraiser ball.
2006    "TADA Ball" at PICA | Portland, OR
- Director of sculpture installation: oversized garland made of thousands of inflated latex gloves.
2006    “Impulse” / SparkPlugArt | Portland, OR
- Co-Director and co-curator of the national juried show of encaustic artists, hosted by the Portland Art Center (PAC).
2005    "DADA Ball" at (PICA) | Portland, OR
- Director and curator of two installations:
  -- Line-drying laundry hung above dining tables sitting atop strips of natural grass.
  -- Digital images of DADA Art projected onto a cast of actors and opera singers reciting the DADA manifesto.
2004    SparkPlugArt | Portland, OR
- Co-founder with artist/designer, Jan Cavecche.
1998    "Art on Foot" | Washington, D.C.
- Solo installation for the District of Columbia Commission of the Arts and Humanities.