Anne Elizabeth Ukena was born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1952, 25 miles from her home town of Highland, Kansas where she grew up. Her father owned the Ukena Hardware store in Highland, which supplied essentials such as Buster Brown under ware and Zenith television sets to the N.E. Kansas town of 900 residents. The beauty of the country mixed with the exposure of the town's people coming and going from the hardware store piqued Anne's interest to express these experiences through drawing. Unfortunately, little importance was given to art in Anne's elementary and secondary classes, as was common in most small towns in the 1950's and 60's. It wasn't until Anne was in her early 30's that she began to further explore her interest in artistic expression.
Anne received her degree in Education with emphasis in Art, English and Math. Through her studies she realized the importance of art in early education and worked to make art available to elementary children by developing a successful after school art program through Shawnee County Parks and Recreation which grew to include 34 after school programs and employed nine art instructors. The programs included drawing, painting, print making, ceramics, photography, sculpture and collage and extended to adult evening classes. After moving from the county, Anne began teaching an adult drawing class for Highland Community College and was hired full time as the South East Region coordinator for the college. She earned a BFA from the University of Kansas attending part-time while working full time for Highland. Anne retired from HCC and is a full-time working artist.
"In my compositions, I look for fleeting moments in time that are so easily missed without the use of a camera to capture them. Many things are not apparent until I begin my composition using my photographs as reference. I include the light and symbols that occur naturally in that particular space and describe it with color and a free flowing line signifying how transitory every moment is. My objective is to express the beauty of truth in these fleeting moments, no matter how ordinary they may appear."
Anne holds a bachelor's degree in Education from Washburn University with emphasis in Math, English and Art and a BFA in drawing/painting from the University of Kansas.