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Karen Maness, charge scenic artist for Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, has taught as an adjunct professor of scenic art for the Department of Theatre and Dance since 2000. In 2001, she initiated a scenic artist apprenticeship program for studio artists from the Department of Art and Art History, and in 2006, her course work expanded to include courses in watercolor and rendering.
Ms. Maness entered into her professional career as a scenic artist while studying fine art and set design at Whittier College in Los Angeles, California. She has worked extensively in regional theatre, theme parks, industrial display, and film. Her California credits include South Coast Repertory, The Mark Taper Forum, Lyric Opera San Diego, George & Goldberg Design Associates, Disneyland Entertainment, Knott's Berry Farm Entertainment, Movie Magic, and The University of California, Irvine.
In 1999 she moved to Austin, Texas for her current position as charge scenic artist at Texas Performing Arts. Through the generous support of Texas Performing Arts and the College of Fine Arts, Ms. Maness studied advanced translucent backdrop painting techniques at Cobalt Studios in White Lake, New York in 2000, and classical landscape and figure painting in 2001 and 2003 at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.
Ms. Maness has taught master painting classes in the United States and abroad. In 2005 through the support of the Texas Performing Art's ArtesAméricas program, she taught a workshop at the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture in San Jose, Costa Rica. In the fall of 2006 she taught a translucent backdrop painting workshop at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for the United States Institute of Theatre Technology S.E. Regional Conferences' Master Class Series.
Ms. Maness is actively involved with USITT and currently holds the position of co-commissioner of scene design.
In addition to her scenic art career, Ms. Maness works extensively on private and corporate commissions, illustration, and her own fine art work. Her paintings have been exhibited in California and Texas and her works are held in private collections in the United States and Europe.
Texas Performing Arts Teaching Artists