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About John Van Dreal

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A short video highlighting the technique and aesthetic principles that guide the work. (Thank you Wendy Brokaw at Capital Community Media and Salem Art Association for pursuing this project.)

A third generation Van Dreal artist, John began painting at the age of seven with instruction from his father, an accomplished water color artist. With the support of his parents, each providing encouragement in the form of ideas, creativity, work ethic, and financial support, John continued to paint, study, and refine his skills.  

He earned his formal art education from Brigham Young University, receiving his BFA under the instruction of Greenwich Workshop artist James C. Christensen, oil painter Bruce Smith, and printmaker Jenni Christenson. Following his BFA, John completed his graduate work in Educational Psychology.


An award-winning artist, John has received much recognition through solo and group exhibitions at a number of galleries in the Northwest, as well as the in the South. He has exhibited at the University of Oregon Schnitzer Museum of Art, Bakersfield Museum of Art, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Coos Bay Art Museum, AN Bush Gallery, Corvallis Arts Center, University of Portland Buckley Gallery, and Western Oregon University Cannon Gallery of Art. Some of his works are included in the collections of Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Coos Bay Art Museum, Yaquina River Museum of Art, Mahonia Hall Governor’s Mansion, Asahel Bush House Museum, Bakersfield Museum of Art, University of Portland, and the print collections of Brigham Young University and Illinois University.


Born in Colorado and raised in Southern California, John has been a resident of Oregon for over 30 years. In addition to his work as an artist, he is a writer (nonfiction and poetry), musician, school psychologist, an internationally recognized leader in violence prevention and behavioral threat assessment (John Van Dreal Consulting), and the retired Director of Security, Safety, and Risk Management Services for Salem-Keizer Schools. John is dedicated to his own community, supporting nonprofit arts and human services organizations. Finally, he is lucky to be the partner of a gifted school counselor, a proud father of two brilliant adult children, and a loving companion to two pets.

In a slight change from his visual arts and work in violence prevention and behavioral threat assessment, Cherry Grove Collections has published a book of John's poetry. Many of the works have been published in journals and magazines, and are now curated into one short read, titled Glass to Sand. Through free verse, prose, and lyric narratives, these writings explore the complicated dimensions of human relationships, evasive nostalgia, voyeuristic impressions of the darker and quirkier sides of human behavior, and observations from the vantage point of tavern barstools. This collection, at once esoteric and accessible, will appeal to readers who love poetry, those who are less familiar with it, and even those who avoid it. With endorsements from the extraordinary poets Eleanor Berry, John Sibley Williams, and Thomas Mitchell, Glass to Sand promises to tickle your literary funny bone. Available at your local bookstores, Amazon, and other vendors.

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