One mission of St. Barnabas Center for the Arts is to encourage and support the work of artists in our area. Through the school year (and sometimes in the summer) we exhibit the work of local and regional visual artists in our Gardenview Gallery, the hallways on the main floor of the church. Artists are invited to display their work for about a month. Works may be purchased directly from the artists.

Our 2013-2014 season begins with From the Garden, an exhibition of pastels by St. Paul artist Dianna Shandorf.

Shandorf earned degrees in studio art and art education from the University of Minnesota, and taught K-12 art for several years in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her main interest during this time was in ceramics, and she also studied printmaking, paper and book arts.

Her discovery of the pastel medium completely changed the focus of her work, and since 2004 she has been painting with pastels exclusively.

Dianna is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, an Artist Member of the Boca Grande Art Alliance in Florida, and a member of the Lake Country Pastel Society in Minnesota. Her work has been accepted by many regional, national and international juried shows, and she is a frequent exhibitor in the Twin Cities and Southwest Florida.

Says she:

I have worked in many different visual media but have always been drawn to those that have tactile qualities and color potential. Through work in ceramics, printmaking and fiber arts I developed a deep respect for craft and attention to detail. But long before these experiences, I loved to draw. Pastel combines the hand-to-paper directness of drawing with limitless color possibilities. Discovering it gave me a way to simplify the process of creating art. No highly technical methods or equipment are necessary, and there is no waiting for paint to dry. Pastel reflects light brilliantly and is tremendously versatile. It is among the most durable of mediums if framed under glass.

Nature's complexity and abundance provide unending resources for painting. I paint not from a desire to copy but to thoroughly see and be connected with it. My subjects are landscapes, close-focus nature and still life. Each offers unique ways to explore the nature of light on form. I spend a lot of time looking, sketching and photographing potential subjects for paintings which are completed in the studio. By living in both Minnesota and Florida, I can enjoy the different light qualities of each climate and explore a range of color temperatures in my paintings. Though it is usually necessary to adjust reality to some degree in order to create a strong composition, I want the paintings to convey something true about the subject and my experience of it.

Whatever the subject, I am inspired by its visual, emotional and symbolic qualities. The challenge is to simplify what is at times overwhelming into a coherent and believable composition that can be enjoyed for its own sake.

Dianna's work may be seen online at




WORSHIP: Sunday, 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM • Saturday, 5:00 PM