Gloria Coker, Coastal Virginia
Gloria was always the kid in elementary and high school who was prodded by her classmates to draw the teacher. A good way to get into trouble. But she never planned an art career- too much insecurity. So no art school, but rather a major in psychology and employment in the mental health field which thrives on insecurity. Then after 4 years of taking classes while raising two children, Gloria received her M.ed in Counseling at William and Mary and immediately joined the staff of the Daily Press as a news illustrator and courtroom artist ( including the spy trial of John Walker’s brother, Arthur). So much for mental health except for lending an ear to various coworkers and friends. Reinforcing why she did not go into the field.
Her series of paintings of important women began and ended when she asked JoAnn Falletta to be a subject for the series and instead wound up producing art for four years for the Virginia Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic. Thus began a continuing series involving music. Then after three years of ballroom dance lessons with her husband it was a natural evolution to paintings of dance. And now she turns her attention to abstract landscapes that often have hidden figures. Just cannot shake the human figure!
In 2008 she was nominated for the prestigious ALLI award. Just the nomination, but that is ok. She has been a wine label illustrator, an art teacher, lecturer, book and magazine illustrator, workshop teacher, and all around contributor to the arts in her community. And yes there have been many galleries (some still in business), solo shows, prizes and collectors such as Tom Clancy, JoAnn Falletta, Fuzzy Zoeller, the family of Bruce Hornsby and Ernie Els. As well as many other celebrities who prefer to remain anonymous.
Her work was used in posters for the Harborfest in Norfolk and for three years for posters in Hampton Bay Days. Large pieces of children by Gloria hang in the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk. A painting of the submarine “Newport News” is in the collection of Harbor Bank with prints in every Newport News public school.
One of her paintings would have been seen on the Dexter series had the camera gone to the top of the stairs and there are glimpses of two paintings in the December 2011 TV movie “Christmas Kiss”. She hopes to achieve international acclaim in the future for a series yet to be determined.
During 2013 her work was featured at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth, Virginia. Included in the series of sports related art were many paintings of children and amateur athletes.