Vera Engelbart was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa. As a young child, she discovered a love of art and drawing, often creating pictures for family members. Vera attended rural school and received no formal training in art. The lack of training, however, did not keep her from developing her artistic skill. In fact, still a young girl, Vera moved with her family to Chicago, where she and her sister both won an art scholarship to the Art Institute for a brief art program and showing.
In 1942, she married her husband Don, who was soon drafted by the U.S. Army. The couple moved to Oregon where Don was first stationed. When Don was sent to serve in Germany, Vera moved with her new baby back to Chicago where her mother and sister were living.
After the war, Vera and Don returned to Oskaloosa to raise their five children. Don worked as a trucker, and Vera cared for their home and son and daughters and continued to draw and paint.
Once their children had grown, Vera and Don moved to Marion, Iowa, and it was here that Vera took her first and only class in art. (Vera still has the pieces she created in that class, and several are featured in this exhibit.)
Vera and Don moved to Belle Plaine about fifteen years ago. Vera continues to create works of art on a regular basis, gifting each resident with a personally drawn birthday card each year. She draws inspiration for her art in many ways—from places and people she has seen, her imagination, movies, and even greeting cards.
As Vera continues her lifelong love affair with art, her family carries on the tradition, with more artists among her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.