Art Is My Livelihood
Art is my life.
It always has been, whether I knew it or not. According to my biological mother, I’ve
been drawing ever since I could hold something in my hands, yet ironically; I was
the only one out of my brothers that wasn’t drawing on the walls.
Growing up I knew I could draw and that others appreciated it, but I never saw it as a possible career or life path. I wasn’t a particularly bright student, in fact I was getting Ds my senior year of high school. So after graduation, I ended up enlisting in the Nebraska Air National Guard, serving for six years.
After my time in the military and working factory and warehouse jobs, I decided to attend college. I reluctantly came to this decision after much encouragement from co-workers and supervisors who thought I was too intelligent to be a laborer. So I enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Goodrich Scholarship Program.
At UNO, the art faculty helped me refine and expand my artistic skills and the
Goodrich faculty helped me expand my academic skills, but it was Professors Russ
Nordman and Jody Boyer who made me feel that I could go on to have a viable
career in the arts as a working artist and educator.
Since then, I have pursued my graduate studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin
Cities, and have begun to exhibit both nationally and internationally. My art has
been featured in national publications, won a variety of awards, and found its
way into public and private collections across the world.
Last year, I decided to return to the Omaha area and I now teach at both UNO and
Metropolitan Community College, as well as mentor at the Kent Bellows Studio
and Center for Visual Arts. As an educator, it means a lot to me to help others find
their voice in the arts, as well as realize the possibility for a career in the arts;
both opportunities that I didn’t realize until later in life.
My art career started here in Omaha, Nebraska, so I see a career in education as a
way to give back to the community that helped me become who I am and gave me
the creative life I’ve been able to live.
Making art, teaching art, living art; art is my life!
Bart Vargas is a painter, sculptor and educator from Bellevue, Nebraska. He earned his BFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and his MFA at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Vargas has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his work can be found in collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His works have been featured in national publications and received a 2010 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center. Vargas has also participated in the 2010 Beijing International Art Biennale (BIAB), as well as the 2012 Santorini Biennale of Arts in Santorini, Greece.