Carolyn grew up in a richly artistic family.
Her mother worked as a professional singer, musician, and educator, while her father designed custom furniture and later served
as master wood conservator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 45 years. Carolyn studied and began her career as
a stage actor and singer in New York City.
Carolyn later moved to Southern California and helped found Creative Imaginations, LLC,
a company that manufactured, marketed,
and distributed licensed brands of top-ranked giftware, scrap-booking supplies, and novelties.
Ever progressive, Carolyn subsequently became a licensed fine arts appraiser and established
her own retail antiques business. Especially
taken with the artwork she appraised, she was motivated to transform paper and textiles into her own mixed-media collages. This endeavor fortuitously led her to the world of
Carolyn discovered calligraphy during a post-9/11 World Trade Center textile remembrance while searching for lettered script to finalize the project entitled Brothers and Sisters. As a discipline that encompasses early and contemporary cultures, religions, communication, music, painting, and poetry, this art form instantly resonated with Carolyn’s broad artistic background.
She pursued studies in traditional calligraphy technique and history, and has taken master workshops with such world-renowned calligraphers as Yukimi Annand, Luca Barcellona, Barbara Close, Suzanne Moore, Pamela Paulsrud, and Julian Waters.
Carolyn is deeply committed to reaching
the community through arts education.
As a Master Art Instructor, she has developed extensive arts programs and teaches calligraphy to youth, teens, adults, and elderly from all backgrounds. The Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts, Kidseum, Chapman University | Leatherby Libraries, and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation are among the local institutions for which Carolyn has created and taught workshop series, exhibitions, and organized special events.
In all that she does, Carolyn brings energy, creativity, and new insight. Her discerning eye and foresight enable her to integrate
the creative process, make design concepts
a reality, facilitate marketing, and educate others in the ineffable power of art
As an arts consultant, Carolyn provides artists with the focus
and positive support necessary to articulate their unique visions, communicate their ideas, and fully realize their goals. For years Carolyn has striven to keep the arts alive by empowering artists to express their ideas and connect with the community through promoting or selling artwork, organizing an exhibition, licensing, seeking funding through grants, or taking advantage of resources.
Institutions & Organizations
Drawing on her business acumen, knowledge of the arts, and wealth
of entrepreneurial experience, Carolyn provides institutions and organizations with the focus, resources, and positive support necessary to articulate and actualize their visions and endeavors to promote the arts. In an age where technology and visual media predominate, Carolyn knows the invaluable role that the arts play in changing people’s lives and, ultimately, civilizations by presenting fresh perspectives and insights that promote dialogue and community engagement among people of all cultures and ages.
Since 1989, Hope’s Nest has been dedicated to enriching the lives of children and troubled teens in the greater Los Angeles area through meaningful educational opportunities. Responding to this mission in 2012, Carolyn successfully sought funding from Hope’s Nest to institute a year-long calligraphy program for inner city, at-risk high school teens in partnership with Los Angeles’ Sheriff’s Leadership Academy. While teaching these teens both traditional and contemporary lettering, design, and related arts, Carolyn witnesses how their talent for creative expression burgeons, their discipline and focus increases, and their confidence equips them with the fortitude to face their difficult circumstances.
Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation
The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation (KAPF) was established to create innovative and impactful programs, such as the Artist Outreach Project, that enhance healthy human development. In 2014, Carolyn was awarded a grant from the KAPF to create an on-going after school art program in collaboration with the Santa Ana Police Athletic & Activity League (Santa Ana PAAL). Santa Ana PAAL’s excellently managed facility is located in an at-risk area with high levels of gang activity and school dropout. Within the program, Carolyn introduces students to the calligraphic arts and encourages them to work individually and collaboratively on themed projects that explore performance, world history, poetry, music, and literature. Through these efforts, Carolyn hopes to provide her students not only with an artistic outlet, but also with the skills necessary to become reflective thinkers, gain self-control, improve problem-solving, and develop a deeper sense of self by connecting to their own heritage. In this way, her students are better able to navigate the environment in which
they live and, ultimately, forge a promising life path.
Irvine Public Schools Foundation
The Irvine Public Schools Foundation provides a prestigious, afterschool enrichment program (ACE) for elementary and middle school students in the award-winning Irvine Unified Public School District. As master instructor in this program, Carolyn conducts ongoing calligraphy sessions, where students at all levels, including Accelerated and GATE, learn traditional calligraphy techniques. Through engaging and interactive lessons, Carolyn shares the history of ancient civilizations and lettering throughout the ages. In the process, students come to expand their world-view and delight in the imaginative nature of art.
Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts
In 2010, as an eloquent spokesperson for the calligraphic arts, Carolyn successfully proposed introducing calligraphy into Bowers Museum of Cultural Art’s Studio Art Workshop Series, which is sponsored by the James Irvine Foundation. Since then, Carolyn and other well-known calligraphers have been teaching the following Studio Art Workshop Series in Calligraphy:
Additionally, within the Bowers Museum’s successful Treasures Carolyn served as a master art instructor for seniors through the StoryART for Seniors (SAS) series—a program that she designed to bring seniors into the engaging and stimulating realm of the arts.
Using a variety of media, participants explored and visually depicted their personal histories, while socializing and sharing with others.
Once completed, these workshops culminated in a monthly exhibition at the Bowers Museum, which was open to the public and featured
the participants’ artwork.
In conjunction with the Bowers Museum’s special exhibitions such as Faberge: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars and A Quest for Beauty: Van Cleef & Arpels, Carolyn has taught and continues teaching the following on-going Calligraphic Arts Studio Workshop Series for adults:
During these interactive workshops, participants had the opportunity
to go back in time by seeing, touching, and using historical pigments and writing implements.
Carolyn has developed and currently teaches calligraphy and
related arts enrichment programs for the Bowers Kidseum Teen
Arts Council, an after-school pre-teen arts program serving the underprivileged in Santa Ana, CA. Throughout the program, students are exposed to the novelty and joy of working with and writing letters. Among others, she offers such classes as:
Santiago Canyon College
In 2011, Carolyn created and subsequently taught a series of courses for Santiago Canyon College’s Community Services program, during which students and adults from all academic backgrounds and artistic ability had the chance to participate in a hands-on introduction to the basics of calligraphy, beginning with traditional Roman letters and ending with contemporary hand-lettered scripts.
Sheriff’s Leadership Academy
Through funding that Carolyn obtained from the Hope’s Nest Foundation, Carolyn has partnered with the Sheriff’s Leadership Academy of Los Angeles (SLA-LA) to institute and teach a year-long calligraphy programs for 30 inner city, at-risk teens. In collaboration with renowned master calligrapher Lisa Engelbrecht, Carolyn taught and continues to teach students both traditional and contemporary lettering, design, and related arts. In 2014, the students’ hard work culminated in a SLA-LA logo design contest, and the winning logos were printed on t-shirts.
Santa Ana Police Athletic & Activity League
Through funding from the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, Carolyn created an after school program in collaboration with the Santa Ana Police Athletic & Activity League (Santa Ana PAAL) to introduce
at-risk students to the calligraphic arts. Each week, Carolyn encourages her students to work individually and collaboratively on themed projects that explore performance, world history, poetry, music, and literature. Through these efforts, Carolyn hopes to provide her students not only with an artistic outlet, but also with the skills necessary navigate the environment in which they live and, ultimately,
forge a promising life path
Many people wish to learn calligraphy but are unable to attend regular workshops and classes due to scheduling conflicts. Carolyn provides private calligraphy instruction not only to individuals, but also homeschooled students and small groups.
Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts
Over the past five years, Carolyn has collaborated with Nancy Warzer-Brady, former Vice President of the Education Department of the Bowers Museum of Cultural Arts, to custom-design several arts education programs.
In 2010, as an eloquent spokesperson for the calligraphic arts, Carolyn successfully proposed introducing calligraphy into Bowers Museum’s Studio Art Workshop Series, which is sponsored by the James Irvine Foundation. Since then, Carolyn and other well-known calligraphers have been teaching the following Studio Art Workshop Series
Through a significant financial gift from by the James Irvine Foundation, the Bowers Museum began the Treasures program art series in 2012. This series was created to enable Orange County’s diverse senior community to explore culture and art from all over the world, develop lasting friendships, and expand their experiences. That same year, to enrich the Treasures program, the Bowers Museum’s Education Department sought out Carolyn to partner with the Council on Aging—ReConnect Socialization Agency and the Horizons Cross Cultural Center in order to develop StoryArt for Seniors (SAS). SAS is a series of workshops that Carolyn designed and implemented to specifically reach underserved, isolated, and low-income Latino and Vietnamese seniors residing in Orange County. Implemented to enhance seniors’ social engagement through the arts, the SAS program consisted of interactive, entertaining, and personalized 8-week workshops led by master art instructors with accompanying translators at various sites. Once the workshops were completed, all SAS participants and the public were invited each month to the Bowers Museum to socialize and view an exhibition featuring the SAS participants’ artwork. SAS resulted in a professional documentary film that showcased participants, master art instructors, and art-making’s positive effects on the brain.
In conjunction with the Bowers Museum’s special exhibitions such as Faberge: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars and A Quest for Beauty: Van Cleef & Arpels, Carolyn has created and teaches a series of on-going calligraphic arts studio workshops for adults. Among others, these series have included:
Carolyn has developed and currently teaches calligraphy and related arts enrichment programs for the Bowers Kidseum Teen Arts Council, an after-school pre-teen arts program serving the underprivileged in Santa Ana, CA. During each session, students enter into another realm by writing letters from ages and civilizations past. In the process, history comes alive. Among others, she has offered such classes as:
Chapman University | Leatherby Libraries
In 2012, Carolyn initiated a partnership between the Society for Calligraphy of Southern California and Chapman University | Leatherby Libraries to present Letters: An Expression of Culture. Created to present the beauty and history of hand-lettered art, this two-month long, interdisciplinary exhibition featured historical and contemporary calligraphy and was open to both the community and academics. As committee Co-Chair, Carolyn oversaw the exhibition’s formal opening, organized special events, arranged master artists to give tie-in lectures and performances, and provided scribal demonstrations.
Santiago Canyon College
As of 2011, Santiago Canyon College’s Community Services
program lacked calligraphy instruction. Recognizing this need,
Carolyn developed and subsequently taught a series of courses,
during which students and adults from all academic backgrounds
and artistic abilities participated in a hands-on introduction to the basics of calligraphy, beginning with traditional Roman letters and ending with contemporary, western, hand-lettered scripts.
Orange County Public Libraries
Since moving to Orange County, Carolyn has been collaborating with both city and county libraries to provide meaningful art programs for youth and adults. To this end, throughout the years she has created a variety of curricula for pre-teen after-school calligraphy classes and adult evening calligraphy workshops. Her greatest motivation for developing these programs is to witness how pre-teens, teens, and adults alike thrive on learning lettering skills and take tremendous pride in producing hand-made art.
Society for Calligraphy,
One of the largest and most active guilds in the world, the Society
for Calligraphy of Southern California (SfC) has over 400 members,
many of whom are renowned international master calligraphers.
As an educational organization, the SfC promotes the study, teaching, and practice of calligraphy and related disciplines by arranging and promoting speakers, program meetings, workshops, its own journal and bulletin, annual retreats, and regional groups. Over the years, Carolyn has provided SfC with her consulting and curating expertise. Through her professional contributions, the SfC has presented a variety of exhibitions such as Beyond the Words at Muzeo, and Letters: An Expression of Culture at Chapman University | Leatherby Libraries.
© 2015 CAROLYN CANONICO.
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