Karen Blessen Pulitzer Prize Winner
BFA , 1973
Karen Blessen is an award-winning freelance artist and writer based in Dallas. She received her BFA from UNL in 1973.
In 1989, while on staff at The Dallas Morning News, she was the first graphic artist to be named as a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer was awarded in the category of Explanatory Journalism for work done with teammates David Hanners and William Snyder on a special section, "Anatomy of an Air Crash."
Though her work has been primarily as an artist, since 1999 she has incorporated her writing with her art in feature contributions to The Dallas Morning News. "ONE BULLET", a story and art package that followed the emotional aftermath of a murder in front of her home, received an Honorable Mention in the Texas Associated Press Managing Editor's 2003 competition.
On New Year's Eve of the Millennium, she was a crew chief for a team of "Times Square Confetti and Airborne Materials Engineers," dropping three tons of confetti onto the crowd of celebrants below. She wrote and illustrated a story about the experience, "Diary of a Confetti Engineer", The Dallas Morning News, January 16, 2000.
She has traveled to Africa as a member of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee of the international relief organization, Save the Children. On a 2002 trip to Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa, she interviewed women dealing with HIV/AIDS, and then wrote and illustrated "Faces of a Plague" for The Dallas Morning News. That piece was adapted into a theatrical production Today Marks the Beginning, which raised over $40,000 to "adopt" two villages in Malawi. Other major project experience includes, Be an Angel, a book collaboration with author Dana Reynolds. It was published in 1994 by Simon and Schuster. From 1994 to the present, she has worked with the Times Square Business Improvement District in New York City, creating art for the BID's banners, posters, billboards, sides of buses, maps, guidebooks, events, and web site. She represented Texas in Absolut Statehood - a series of artworks commissioned by Absolut Vodka, benefiting the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS.
She is now working on the art and design for a Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail station and adjacent two-acre park. Themed "On the Pulse," the park incorporates five meandering sidewalks, each adorned with a 10-15 ft. mosaic, representing one of the five senses. She is also collaborating with British activist and author, Jeremy Gilley, on a children's book for Penguin Putnam. I Can Make a Difference is the story of Mr. Gilley's work with the United Nations to name September 21 as an annual global day of peace.
Other clients include:
• Adobe Software
• The Park Ridge Center (a Chicago based bioethics think-tank)
• Texas Instruments
• The Greenwich Village Alliance
• The Hartford Courant
• Simon and Schuster
• Harcourt-Brace, Galison Press
• American Lawyer
• Klutz Publishing
• Neiman Marcus
• The League of American Theatres
• The Los Angeles Times
• UCLA Magazine
• The Wall Street Journal
• Money Magazine
• Smart Money Magazine
• Lucent Technologies
• The Gap