As Professor Emerita and former Department Head at Missouri State University, Carolyn Cárdenas works full-time in her studio in Springfield, MO, and focuses on her egg tempera/mixed-media paintings, pastel and graphite drawings.

Cárdenas has shown widely and in diverse locations. Her work was exhibited from South Korea at the Sungshin Museum of Art and the SungKungKwan Gallery in Seoul to Florence, Italy at the International School of Art. She has lectured and shown in Midwest and Southern universities - among them Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Texas A & M, University of North Texas, and Texas Women’s University. Community locations include the Cultural Center in Philadelphia, the Arkansas Art Center, and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. Recently she has been traveling her one-person exhibition, Small Worlds. It was first shown at the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO, followed by Oklahoma City University, and then at Oklahoma State University Museum of Art.

In 2004 Cárdenas mounted a one-person show at the International Gallery of Art in Anchorage, Alaska and was represented in a 3-person show, Luminous: Contemporary Egg Painting, on the west coast. She was also cited in the Edward Lucie-Smith text, American Art Now, as an example of west coast contemporary painting and represented in group shows by G. W. Einstein and Ruth Siegel Galleries in New York City. Her work has been included in catalogue exhibitions such as Emulations: Quotations From the Source/ Riverside Art Museum, California Dreamin’/ Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Challenging Myths: Five Contemporary Women Artists/ Bakersfield Museum of Art, and In Their Own Image/ Art Institute of Southern California.

After moving to Ohio from Los Angeles in 1991, Cárdenas’s list of exhibitions included Back to Reality More and Less at the Ohio Arts Council Riffe Gallery and New Works on Paper, her third one-person show at Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles. Cárdenas’ drawings, collages and three-dimensional “painted dioramas of the Midwest” were featured in a solo show in the Wakeley Gallery at the Ames School of Art/Illinois Wesleyan University. Her miniature egg tempera pieces and drawings are in such collections as the Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, Butler Museum of American Art, Ohio, Sung Shin University Galleries in Seoul and Mitsui Corporation, Tokyo.

With over 37 years of experience in higher education, Professor Cárdenas taught at both public and private universities including Missouri State University, Ohio University, University of Arizona, University of Nevada Reno, and Santa Monica College in Los Angeles. As Art Department Head at Utah State University, she was Director of the Caine School of the Arts Steering Committee and Project Consultant for IDIAS, a collaborative group blending art and instructional technology for serious games. The group received a major start-up federal grant, which she co-authored, and Cárdenas also co-produced a short film in 2009 that received a Telly Award. During 2012-16 she was the Art Department Head at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO where she helped to develop an MFA degree in Visual Studies, a new 88,000 square foot facility in downtown Springfield, interna-tional exchanges for the department, and worked with nearly 60 faculty and 500 majors in Art & Design. Because teaching was one element that informed Cárdenas’s studio, she continues to provide artist workshops on fifteenth-century materials, as well as to conduct lectures and studio visits for a variety of audiences.