Nick Peña currently is an Associate Professor of Art in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Christian Brothers University located in Memphis, TN. 

M.F.A. University of Missouri, Columbia, 2005

B.F.A. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2001

Nick Peña (b. Joliet, Illinois) is a visual artist and art educator with 10+ years of teaching art in higher education. His research focuses on the contemporary American landscape, the American Dream, and the effects that ideal has on both our environment and our national psyche. His paintings and installations play off the contrasts between past and present, representation and abstraction, and stability and instability. He has received numerous awards and his work has been exhibited throughout the United States and featured in New American Paintings multiple times. In 2019 he will participate in artist residency programs at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Crosstown Arts.

Solo Exhibitions


Cyclical, Channel to Channel, Nashville, TN. January 2019


Sectional Views: One Nation Under…, Todd Art Gallery – Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. November 2018


Crosscut, Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery – Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. August 2015


Processing the Ideal, Mallory/Wurtzburger Gallery – Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN. July 2014


What Lies Beneath, Kresge Gallery - Lyon College, Batesville, AR. November 2013

What Lies Beneath, Eggman & Walrus, Santa Fe, NM. July 2013

National & Juried exhibitions


The Art of the South, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN. July ’18  (Juried by Brian Jobe)

Land-S(r)raping, Living Arts, Tulsa, OK. May ’18 (Juried by Jessica Borusky)

February Exhibition, Sager Braudis Gallery, Columbia, MO. February ’18


Better Homes & Gardens, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN. October ‘17

New American Paintings, No. 130, Juried Exhibition in Print, Southern Competition. June ‘17 (Juried by Veronica Roberts)

Mallory/Wurtzburger: A Retrospective at Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN. January ’17 (Juried by Laura Grey McCann)


The Art of Science: Hyde Gallery, Memphis, TN. November ’16 (Juried by Melissa Farris)

The Man Show: L Ross Gallery, Memphis, TN. June ’16 (Juried by Carl E. Moore and Melissa Farris)


Across The Divide: Thoughts and Dialogues on International Art Education and Intercultural Perspectives, Beijing Normal University Art Gallery, Beijing, China (6/4/2015-6/20/2015)

Circuitous Succession Epilogue II, Masonic Contemporary (Memphis Scottish Rite) Memphis, TN. November ’15 (Juried by Jason Miller)


Inspired Resistance: Crosstown Arts Gallery, Memphis, TN. February ’14 (Juried by Ian Lemmonds)


Present Tense: The Art of Memphis from 2001-Now, Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN. February ‘13 (Juried by John Weeden)


Text + Texture: an intersection of academics and the arts, SCAD, Savannah, GA. November ’11 (Juried by Dan Cameron)

ARTAFACTOR, 2011, Carrier Hall in Memphis TN. May ‘11

DUG Soil Invitational, 2011 at SOIL Gallery in Seattle WA. April ‘11


Commission for LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis TN, August, ‘10

CBU Faculty Exhibition, Beverly and Sam Ross Gallery, Memphis TN, November, ‘10

FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill, Exit Art, New York NY, December, ‘10


Bakers Dozen, Material, Memphis, TN, May ‘09

(Juried by Niki Johnson)

Multiplicity, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL. March ‘09

(Juried by Barbara Cooper)


Lantana Projects Best of 2007, Main Street Gallery, Memphis, TN. November ‘07



Artist Lecture, Sectional Views: One Nation Under…, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfressboro, TN

Panel Discussion, Material and Viewership, Living Arts, Tulsa, OK

Artist Lecture, The Way of The World, Sager Braudis Gallery, Columbia, MO


Artist Lecture, Visiting Artist Program, University of Mississippi, Oxford MS

Artist Tour/Lecture, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN 


Panel Discussion, Hustle: Fine Tuning your Studio Practice, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN

Artist Lecture, Pecha Kucha 20x20: The Art of Teaching Art, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN

Artist Talk, L Ross Gallery, Memphis, TN


Artist Lecture, Masonic Contemporary (Memphis Scottish Rite) Memphis, TN

Artist Lecture, The Beverly & Sam Ross Gallery, Memphis, TN

Co-programmer of the 4th Annual Honors Art Break, CBU Campus, Memphis, TN


Artist Lecture, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN

Artist Tour/Lecture, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN

Artist Workshop, Painting with Oils, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis TN

Co-programmer of the 3rd Annual Honors Art Break, CBU Campus, Memphis, TN.

Programmer, 2nd Annual Tiny Circus Stop Motion Animation Workshop/Lecture, CBU Campus, Memphis TN.


Artist Lecture, Lyon College Campus, Batesville, AR

Juror, Annual Juried Student Exhibition, Lyon College Campus, Batesville, AR.

Artist Workshop, Painting with Acrylics, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis TN

Programmer, Tiny Circus Stop Motion Animation Workshop/Lecture, CBU Campus, Memphis TN.

Co-programmer of the 2nd Annual Honors Art Break, CBU Campus, Memphis, TN.


Co-programmer of the 1st Annual Honors Art Break, CBU Campus, Memphis, TN.


Co-programmer of Moveable Type Lecture / Workshop, CBU Campus, Memphis, TN.


Guest Lecturer, Summer Youth Program, Urban Art Commission, Memphis, TN.



Colombia, Fine Arts Poster, Memphis in May International Airport, Memphis, TN February ‘17


Razzle Dazzle’Em, South Main Mosaic (Public Art Program), Memphis, TN October ‘14


Going Up, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN August ‘10


Momentum, Art Inside the Park, Memorial Park, Jefferson City, MO July ‘04

Awards and Honors


Artist Residency, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Spring Pentaculum, Gatlinburg, TN. May

Artist Residency, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN. June/July