When I first visited Janis Burgin’s home, she showed me her collection of other artists’ work before her own, which immediately reflected her sincere generosity of spirit. This talented oil painter is passionate about art and actively pursues it in her practice, volunteer work and by supporting other artists. Her upbeat and energetic personality is absolutely contagious.
As a child, Burgin’s parents encouraged her love of art by providing art supplies and tools, and as a teenager, she took all the art classes in her high school in hopes of one day becoming an art teacher. However, when she was married and started a family right after high school, those plans were temporarily postponed. But in October 1989, Burgin took a Bob Ross oil painting class and, once again, became hooked on painting.
Soon after beginning her classes, Burgin trained and became certified as a Bob Ross instructor in landscapes and florals, which required three five-day courses as well as completing the master-level wildlife class. She now shares that knowledge by teaching Painting-in-a-Day at Hobby Lobby in Jefferson City and Columbia as well as at the Saline County Career Center in Marshall, Mo. She has also taught at Nichols Career Center and Columbia Adult Education.
Burgin’s art ranges from painting to pottery and jewelry, and she frequently participates in classes to improve and develop new artistic skills. She took college-level art classes for five years, and though she still teaches Painting-in-a-Day classes, her inherent talent and training are better reflected in her award-winning non-class work.
Burgin has also gained the respect of serious art-lovers. She was invited to be a featured artist for about 11 days at the Missouri State Fair, a prestigious opportunity. “I got accepted into the Top 50 Exhibit at the fair, chosen by jurors, and then was invited to paint there,” she says.
She eventually opened her own art shop, JB Art Studio, in California, Mo., where she taught and sold art and art supplies from 1998 to 2004. It was during that time that a guest teacher suggested she enter her stick-and-ink drawings in the Best of Missouri Hands at Silver Dollar City.
With her work created by dipping the sharpened edge of a twig in India ink, Burgin was accepted as a Best of Missouri Hands artist and a juried member, which means she had developed her craft “beyond mere competence of technique to a high standard of quality.” In the following years, from 2000 to 2005, she worked several weeks each fall as a guest artist, an experience that eventually led to her being featured in Missouri Life Magazine.
Throughout her successful career, Burgin has continued to serve her passion by supporting the local arts. A member and volunteer of the Jefferson City Art Club, she served as president in the 101st and 102nd years of the club’s existence as well as other capacities and actively participates in the club’s activities. She is also a member of the Sedalia Visual Arts Association, where she teaches workshops, and currently serves on the Capital Arts Board of Directors, where she teaches and exhibits.
“Janis is very talented with multiple media,” says Jeff Boyer, Capital Arts executive director. “Her pieces always have a lot of vibrancy and life to them. We are very fortunate having her serve on our board.”
Even with her immense community and organizational involvements, Burgin’s passion for teaching art and the relationships she builds with her students take precedence. “I love my students,” she says, “and can’t wait to see them at each class. I just meet so many wonderful people.”
Want to see more of the local arts?
Help invest in and sustain Jefferson City’s thriving artistic culture and economy by attending the Capital Arts Spring Exhibit, March 1 through April 17, where you can view more of Burgin’s work as well as pieces by many other local artists. A special public artists’ reception will be held March 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. See capitalarts.org for details.
For Burgin’s class schedule, visit her website at janisburgin.com.