Arts Ensemble Education Foundation
& Outer Space Gallery & Studio

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The Artist-in-Residence (Internship program) program of Arts Ensemble invites artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people to work under the umbrella and guidance of the organization and our supporting arts affiliates. This program is designed so that artists, writers, curators, academicians have a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. The purpose is to provide quality space and resources to allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, sharing their talents with others, experiencing life in a new venue. 

Founding Artist, Karen Retana

Artist Biography

Karen Retana Zúñiga was born in Costa Rica. She began her artistic journey at the age of 16 in the school “Casa del Artista”. In the early years she explored the techniques of drawing and color in the mediums of oils, pastels and watercolors and like a butterfly that flits by a field of flowers Karen began experimenting with a variety of art forms, developing her own style; inspired by the surrounding nature. Hand in hand with painting is her love for photography. Since childhood she has been capturing many images that later transformed into paintings full of color and harmony.

In 2003 Karen moved to Florida where she opened her gallery in 2005, the International Gallery of Arts “Arts Ensemble International” and with an open heart created an oasis for artists. This is a foundation with the purpose of educating and healing through art. Today, Karen’s arts foundation, Arts Ensemble Education Foundation, can be found in medical facilities, community art outreach programs and in regional revitalization efforts where beauty and creativity change lives. This program has over 13 existing outreach endeavors and serves over 450 artists of every level and stage of personal growth each week. Karen keeps in close contact to be certain that her spirit of love and creativity can be found in each of these programs…all designed to foster young and young at heart arts.

Karen currently resides in the tropical rain forest of her country Costa Rica. It is here that she finds her favorite palette of brilliant colors and shades of green that rule her art space.


Artist, Richard Powers

Award winning Florida wildlife and landscape artist Richard “Rick” Powers was born April 11, 1944 in Bartow, FL. as a 6th generation Floridian. He graduated from Bartow Senior High School, then Summerlin Institute, in 1962 and served in the U. S. Navy for four years. He attended and graduated from Florida Southern College in 1975.

Richard is a self-taught artist who at an early age showed an interest in art. His Father taught him his love for nature and its environment and they spent many hours in the woods and on the water. These times are reflected in his art as he recalls those most treasured moments. “Due to the influx of people, our fragile landscape has declined to a point that the natural habitat of our wildlife has all but disappeared. Through my art I strive to preserve for future generations the Florida that once was and will be no more.”

Powers considers the use of art critical in educating both young and old about the importance of conservation. He is one of the founding Artists of Arts Ensemble Education Foundation and Healing Arts Center in Winter Haven. Mr. Powers spends a great deal of his time giving of his time and talents to schools, children and adults.

Mr. Powers is the illustrator to Patrick Smith’s book, A Land Remembered and shares a Florida passed but not forgotten. His current mural, much of it depicting the books theme, is located at the Polk County History Museum and is a work in progress.

Much of Richard’s work can be found in commissioned work throughout Polk County and the State of Florida. “Polk Proud,” named after the theme of the county’s 150th anniversary year, is a colorful and detailed 4 feet by 8 feet original acrylic painting celebrating Polk County created by artists led by the Arts Ensemble Education Foundation. 

(Written by Bev Hendricks - please visit  RICHARD POWERS HONORED for more information)

Artist, Carol Hughes spends much of her time sharing her talents and skills with students within her community. While her Masters Degree is held in Business, she discovered her love for the arts upon retirement and has been a force within her arts community. She is an arts instructor with Heartland Prodigy at the Arts Ensemble Eloise Arts Center, Instructs in Healing Arts Programs, and coordinates arts activities and volunteers for community events in need of creative activity. She enjoys painting in open outdoor spaces; and one of her favorite Plein Air locations is at the Circle B Reserve in Lakeland, Florida. While she enjoys doing "paint around" sessions with groups and team building projects for corporate clients, she most enjoys time spent one-on-one with clients who share her passion for capturing beauty through brushes and paint. 

For more information on Carol's personal art journey please visit her website at CAROLHUGHES.COM


For more information please visit Trent's website at Trent Manning Studio.

Artist, Adam Justice

EDUCATION: Radford University, bachelor's degree in art history and museum studies, 2002; Virginia Commonwealth University, master's in art history, 2004.

OCCUPATION: Curator of art at the Polk Museum of Art.
KEY ACTIVITIES: Polk Arts Alliance board of directors, Downtown Lakeland Partnership board of directors, Florida Southern College art history teacher, The Lakelander culture editor.
QUOTE: "The energy we put into some things, and decisions we make now, directly affect where we eventually wind up, who we eventually meet, and what we eventually become."