Denese began her career in printmaking as an undergraduate in 1982 at UW-Madison, furthered her training in Paris, France at Atelier 17, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1998 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2003 Sanders relocated from Minneapolis, MN to California where she continues her work as an educator, artist, and the founder of Open Ground Studios—a visual arts and printmaking studio in Seaside that provides access, opportunities, and connection for emerging and professional artists and creative adults.
Over the course of her career, she has worked extensively in arts education and community building in the arts, both in Minnesota and California. Her leadership through OGS has landed her several awards including, “Innovator of the Year” with the Startup Challenge in 2013, in 2015 she won the Community Palette Showcase Event and in 2019, Open Ground Studios was named Champion of the Arts through the Arts Council for Monterey County.
In 2018 she turned her full attention to painting and has since landed several public art projects including a seven-wall mural inside the education room of the Pacific House Museum; a historic landmark building in the city center of Monterey.
She is currently exploring what it means to be an ovarian cancer survivor (07/2021)