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Paula McCarty began her painting studies at Parkland College. In 1999, she received her BFA from the University of Illinois in Painting & Drawing.  She eventually relocated to California to pursue her graduate degree at California State University, Long Beach, where she received her MFA. She has been teaching painting through Parkland Community Education since 2012. She has also taught in Parkland's Art and Design Program and  Hospitality Programs.  In addition to teaching, Ms. McCarty is the exhibition designer at Springer Cultural Center in Champaign and exhibition coordinator at Giertz Gallery, Parkland College. . She has exhibited her art locally and nationally and maintains a painting practice out of her home studio.

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