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Mariana Carreras painting

Title: Instructional Faculty - ART and Gallery @ Downtown Campus - Gallery Director 

Campus: Downtown Campus and West Campus 


Mariana Carreras was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Following an employment opportunity for her dad, her family immigrated to the United States when she had just turned 16. With a broken English but a strong work ethic she soon began to excel in high school scholarship as well as gain notice in the arts, winning multiple competitions in Art and Drama. Having been awarded scholarships for academic achievement and talent she enrolled in her first college classes at Miami Dade Community College, where she earns an Associates in Art/Art Education with High Honors. Afterwards she transferred to The George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), where she received her Bachelor and eventually a Master in Fine Arts (BFA 1995, Magna Cum Laude and MFA 1999, Summa Cum Laude). While at GW, she began to travel, exhibit and sell her work nationally and abroad, as well as received prestigious awards and fellowships in Painting and Printmaking.

While finishing her degree, she visited and fell in love with Tucson, Arizona.

Shortly after moving to Tucson, she opened the Carreras Art Studio. As an active artist in the Tucson community, Mariana has worked with the Open Studio Tours, the Tucson-Pima Arts Council, the University of Arizona Museum of Art and the Tucson Museum of Art. She has taught courses in Art History, Art Appreciation, Composition and Design, Color, 3- Dimensional Design, Drawing, Figure Drawing, Painting in Oils and Acrylics and Portrait Painting, among others.

In the last 19 years Mariana has been a vibrant part of the art community. She is a recurrent guest lecturer at the Tucson Museum of Art and for the University of Arizona docent team, as well as a board member, volunteer and fundraiser for The Drawing Studio through its first 13 years.

Mariana has been a Faculty member of Pima Community College since 1999 and received the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award in 2012 for her exceptional contributions to the College and its students. Among several achievements, she supervised over 100 students in the creation and installation of a 50% scale mural reproduction of Picasso’s “Guernica” and designed a new Student Art Gallery at the Downtown Campus. The grand-opening exhibit of the gallery displayed a 120-piece Jazz photograph exhibit sponsored by the Meridian Center/State Department in Washington, D.C. that she curated and hanged with a student team.

In 2014, Mariana was a finalist for Best Art-Educator in the State of Arizona at the Arizona Governor's Award and also a finalist for a Lumie for Best Art Educator in Tucson by the Tucson Pima Arts Council. As her Lumie nomination read, “For her, teaching is an opportunity to paint on the canvas of each student’s soul, a profound love and privilege.”

Mariana lives in Tucson’s West side with her daughter Isabella. She loves all the arts and enjoys spending time in Nature, traveling, long walks and a good yoga stretch.

My work is multifaceted and eclectic in influences. I find oils the medium that best serves me. I am absorbed in investigating connection and disconnection. I see connection to self and others, as the ultimate human and spiritual goal. While disconnection from self and others, as the ultimate loss of humanity. My works explore the experiences that unify us, and the ones that tear us apart.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is an act of love. It is not just about knowledge, those who teach not only know but also love sharing the how to. Creating is a human specialty, but we have been dragged away from this natural state. I help my students relearn how to see and slowly unlock their creative self as they face doubt, impatience, uncertainty, and as they conquer each challenge. I pour my passion, my time and my commitment and in the act of giving, I feel I receive in return as we come together in this powerful and invigorating human exercise.

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