GateWay Community College Welcomes Chris Vena

Monday, March 25, 2024

The anticipation in the air was palpable as GateWay Community College's Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Art Gallery unveiled the latest exhibition by acclaimed artist Chris Vena on Thursday, March 21, 2024. From 4 to 7 p.m., attendees were treated to an immersive experience delving into the emotional lives and diverse personas of individuals throughout the Valley, expertly captured through Vena's masterful brushstrokes.

Vena's exhibition, meticulously curated after an open call, encapsulated the essence of everyday life in and around the Valley. Each painting served as a window into the interconnectedness and interdependence that defines our community, inviting viewers to see reflections of themselves and their neighbors within the vibrant canvases.

Award-winning artist and educator Chris Vena brought his 20 years of artistic experience to the forefront, showcasing a collection that resonated deeply with attendees. His journey from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts to earning an MFA in Painting from Arizona State University in 2017 has shaped his unique perspective, evident in every composition.

"Chris Vena's captivating exhibition not only showcases his exceptional talent but also reflects the rich tapestry of life in our community,” said GateWay Community College, President Dr. Amy Diaz. “Through his artistry, Vena has provided us with an opportunity for meaningful engagement and introspection, reinforcing GateWay’s commitment to fostering dialogue and inclusivity through the arts.”

The exhibition was not only a celebration of artistic talent but also an opportunity for dialogue and connection. Attendees marveled at the depth and emotion conveyed in each piece, sparking conversations about identity, community, and the human experience.

From Vena's early explorations of Arizona's political climate to his recent accolades, including the Phoenix Art Museum's Sally and Richard Lehmann Emerging Artist Award, his impact on the local and national art scene is undeniable.

GateWay Community College is proud to host Vena's exhibition, furthering its commitment to making education and art accessible to all. As the event drew to a close, attendees left inspired and enriched by Vena's captivating portrayal of life in the Valley.

For those who missed the opening night, the exhibition will be open to the public for the coming weeks, offering an opportunity to experience the magic of Vena's artistry firsthand. To learn more visit

This event is sponsored by GateWay’s U.S. Department of Education Title V Hispanic Serving Institution grant ÉXITO (#P031S190167).