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Artwork of Larson Gallery director to be featured in Yakima this month

YAKIMA - The Larson Gallery will showcase an exhibit by Carol Hassen, entitled "I'm Still Dancing as Fast as I Can," which features a selection of her paintings, drawings and collages.

The exhibit opens with a reception this Sunday, Jan. 8, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Larson Gallery, located at 16th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard in Yakima.

Hassen's exhibit echoes her artwork and her life. She was a full time graduate student, half-time faculty professor, homeowner and single parent with two children. The artwork produced for her college thesis show reflects her fascination with movement, light and metaphor. It expressed much of the emotion that she felt at the time.

After 23 years, including 16 years as Director of the Larson Gallery, life in the fast lane still creates challenges to maintaining an artistic career.

Hassen says, "My work is about memory, travel, emotions and responses. I use color to express my emotional response to these experiences, which can often give a magical quality to the work. Hopefully, my artwork will trigger an emotional response to each viewer that is independent of my memory."

Growing up on the move (13 schools in 12 years) gave Hassen a chance to experience many homes, friends and locations. Always observing the world from the back seat of an old car gave her a perspective that she appreciates more as an adult. She was 30 years old before she actually started taking art classes and began her love affair with the visual arts. After completing a BFA from Oregon State University and an MFA from Central Washington University, Hassen taught at CWU for 10 years before moving to Yakima.

As Director for the Larson Gallery and involvement in various art education venues, she has received many awards. In 2001, she received the Governor's Arts Award, presented by Gov. Gary Locke, for her role as a visual artist, art educator and gallery director. She received Washington Museum Association's Award for Publication Excellence for Art~Link: Teacher's Travel Guide, co-authored with David Lynx in 2004. Hassen received a Kennedy Center Award in 1992 for the publication, ArtsVan: Resource & Curriculum Guide. She has also been a recipient of many awards in national and northwest juried exhibitions and her work is included in many private collections.

A catalog of the exhibition will be available free to gallery visitors. Funding for the catalog is sponsored by Mary Lou Rozdilsky, Laurie Kanyer and the Larson Gallery Guild.

The exhibit continues through Jan. 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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