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Sara Larkin (born 1956, Quincy, Massachusetts, USA) is an American painter who gained national attention for "Spacescapes" — a series of paintings celebrating America's achievements in space.
Sara Larkin was born in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1956. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she developed a lifelong association with Will Barnet. After graduation she continued her education in Japan under the sponsorship of the distinguished philosopher, advisor to the Emperor of Cultural Affairs and President of Osei University, Tetsuo Tanikawa. Under his tutelage she became acquainted with Nobel Laureate, Yasunari Kawabata, and other National Living Treasures of Japan. She spent a year in Bangkok, Thailand as the Women's and Social Editor of The Bangkok World. In Hong Kong, she studied Chinese art with artist, Lui Shou-Kwan, and Lawrence Tam, the Director of the Hong Kong Museum. She also spent this time in Hong Kong, as a gallery owner, consultant, and artists’ agent. In 1971 she became Mrs. Richard Lacey and in 1974 his widow.
In 1974 under the auspices of the Hong Kong Arts Festival she, with her husband, organized its first exhibition of contemporary Chinese Art. She produced Shui-mo (Water and Ink) which discusses the status of the contemporary state of the Chinese painting tradition in the 20th century.
From 1977 until 2002 Larkin maintained a studio/gallery in Washington, D.C. and developed her skills and reputation as a professional artist. In 1992 she moved to Annapolis, Maryland, where she served as Artist in Residence at St. John's College as well as continued in her duties as professional artist and dealer. Until it was discontinued, in 2003, Larkin was a Sotheby Associate evaluating works of art for online auctions.
Larkins paintings gained national attention with "Spacescapes" — a continuing series of paintings celebrating America's achievements in space. She researched these paintings by working directly with astronauts and scientists at NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
In 2009, Larkin visited Morocco. She became increasingly interested in the female form; both through belly dancing (which she learned there and described as "exercise designed for to accentuate the female body") and the prevalence of Burkas in Muslim societies. This shift in her focus is represented in her later works, including "Mrs. Potato Head" and "I Spy", a series of photographs taken of pebbles and ridges in the sand which she said evoked silhouettes of women in burkas.
Awards and distinctions
Larkin has been awarded a special commendation from the Governor of Hong Kong and the U.S. Consulate for special contributions toward Eas-West cultural understanding. In 1976, she was a lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution on Modern Chinese Art, a field in which she has gained acknowledged scholarship. She was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship in 1981. Also in the 80's she was commissioned by NASA as one of the nation's artists commissioned to document the U.S. Space Program.
Exhibits by year
1983: National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.; University of Houston, Houston, Texas; Alabama Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville Alabama, Pan American Health Organization.
1984: Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio; NASA Visitors Center, Mississippi; Dansforth Museum, Framingham, Massachusetts; Old State House, Hartford, Connecticut; Museum of Science and Natural History, St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas Cosmophere & Discovery Center, Hutchinson, Kansas; Brevard Art Center and Museum, Melbourne, Florida.
1985: Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida; University of Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum, Logan, Kansas; Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.
1986: El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas; Expo ’86, Tokyo, Japan; Heritage-Hjemkomst Interpretive Center, Moorhead, Minnesota; Govinda Gallery, Washington, D.C.; National Arts CLub, Membership Show.
1987: John F. Kennedy Space Center, Spaceport USA; Exhibition of Permanent Collection, Federal Reserve, Washington, D.C.
1989: Mass Bay Community College
1990: One Woman Retrospective at the Alpha Gallery, Rockville, Maryland; Oklahoma Air & Space Museum.
1992: The Arts Club of Washington, D.C.
1993: Convington and Burlington, Washington
1998: National Women's Museum
1999: National Women's Museum
2006: Retrospective Third Millennium Gallery, Annapolis, Maryland
- NASA and The Exploration of Space, Launius and Ulrich, Publisher Stewwart, Tabori & Chang, New York (1998)
- January, Washington International, Washington Personality (1990)
- April/May, Ad Astra, The Magazine of the National Space Society (1990)
- Who's Who of American Women (1986)
- October, Space World, Space Art (1982)
- The National Arts Club, Tribute to Apollo 17 (1982)
- Town & Country, Expatriates in Hong Kong (1973)
- June 16, The Washington Post, Style, An Artistic Education of Ginger Jars and Zen, Henry Mitchell (1978)
- December 11, San Francisco Chronicle, Artist Who Recorded US Space Travels (1982)