Elizabeth Arzani

Elizabeth Arzani
Professional Artist and Arts Educator

Bachelor of Fine Arts with concentrations in Painting and Art Education, UNC Charlotte (2012)

Master of Fine Arts,  Visual Studies, Pacific Northwest College of Art (forthcoming, 2022)

Hometown: Charlotte

When Elizabeth Arzani was a student at UNC Charlotte she participated in two field studies in New York and London, making lasting friendships and igniting her love for travel, research, and artistic adventure. 

I really loved traveling with my peers and teachers,” she says. “As someone who was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, these field study classes gave me the courage and the inspiration to continue to travel and live in other cities and countries after graduating.” 

In fact, Elizabeth eventually moved to Luxembourg for two years. While there, she participated in Kulturschapp, an international artist residency in a former freight depot in Walferdange, Luxembourg. “Having space and time to create a site-specific installation for my work on paper to be in conversation with my sculptures has had a significant impact on my practice,” she reflected. In 2019, she participated in Luxembourg Art Week and exhibited in the juried group exhibition, Le Salon du Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg, where she had the opportunity to share her work with the The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Princess Stéphanie. 

Elizabeth also taught workshops with local community centers, including The Red Cross of Luxembourg, Am Gronn, and the non profit organization, Ons heemecht, dedicated to fostering intercultural conversations between local residents and refugees, and was a substitute teacher at the International School of Luxembourg, where she led lower and upper school art classes. 

Elizabeth has since returned to the U.S. and is now enrolled in a visual studies graduate program at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, where she recently showed work at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture. With a career that includes eight years as a certified K-12 art educator in Charlotte and Seattle, she is currently teaching virtual workshops at The Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland.

In spite of her Pacific Northwest and trans-Atlantic connections, Elizabeth has maintained ties to Charlotte and recently exhibited ceramic work in the local group show It Blooms At Night at GoodYear Arts. And she credits her time at UNC Charlotte for providing her with invaluable experiences for her artistic development. Among the highlights were working with visiting artists Jay Price and Sonja Hinrichsen and participation in a “special topics” class that resulted in an exhibition at Rowe Gallery and the Levine Museum of the New South. These opportunities allowed her to gain “insight into the behind the scenes labor of what it takes to produce large scale work and insight into how to work with a community of other makers.” 

While at UNC Charlotte, Elizabeth developed a crucial skill that translates directly to her work now, she says: “Collaboration has been key to the way that I have been able to sustain my art practice after graduating and throughout my teaching career.” She also notes that “keeping a consistent sketchbook practice and drawing in the in-between times  - waiting rooms, airports and reframing teacher meetings as figure drawing sessions,” have been fundamental to her development as an artist. 

“Collaborate with your peers. Create exhibitions together,” she advises art students. 

And she passes along the wise words of painting professor Maja Godlewska: “Every exhibition opening should have flowers.”

collages by Elizabeth Arzani

See more work at her website.