Born two hours north of Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in the small town of Malden, Missouri, Teresa Dirks spent much of her life in southeast Missouri, absorbing the essence of rural farm life and the relationship between life and nature, a theme she has captured in her poetry and paintings.
Her art deeply reflects her love of nature, its vibrancy, and the power of color and its effect on our lives. Dirks feels as society and technology merge, it is now more important than ever to connect with nature, humanity and art and bring those entities together. The interplay and juxtaposition of colors and that relationship is the subject of her artwork. The art invites the viewer to interpret and find energy in a meaningful way.
Dirks, graduated from Southeast in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art, and obtained a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from William Woods University. She taught environmental education and art education in public schools for many years, but her passion for painting inspired her lifelong career.
Recently, the historical Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building was an ideal location for her 5th floor studio overlooking the city skyline, merging Kaw and Missouri rivers, train tracks, and bluffs that separate those two worlds. During that time, Dirks was active as a Livestock Exchange Building Open Studios, Co-facilitator for several years until 2018. During Covid, Dirks moved her studio back home. Her years at the Livestock and in the Kansas City Arts Community was extremely beneficial and ingrained her devotion to the KC community and the arts.
Recently, Southeast Missouri State University selected Dirks as the first female beneficiary for the 2016 Alumni Merit Award for the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Dirks is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Missouri Arts Council Poster Award. Her work was featured in the 2012 MAC publications. Her work is held by private and corporate entities. She has served on the Art in Public Places Committee in Warrensburg, Missouri; organized Paint with Your Girls, a fundraiser for breast cancer research; and served on the advisory boards of Southeast Missouri State University- Malden and the Bootheel Youth Museum where she was also a volunteer programmer.
Currently, Dirks lives in Kansas City, MO, with her husband, Dave. They have two sons, two amazing daughter-in-laws, four grandchildren, and one big, hairy grand dog.