Karen Roarke grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island.  After graduating from Boston College in 1984 where she majored in Studio Art, Karen moved to the beaches of Southern California.  In 1988 she earned a Master of Art degree in Drawing & Painting from California State University, Fullerton.  Continuing her studies at The Claremont Graduate University, Roarke received the Emily Ann Horowitz Fellowship and was awarded a Master of Fine Art degree in January 1990.  In 1994 she moved from downtown Los Angeles to New York City and three years later settled near the ocean in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Roarke taught visual arts and served as Director of the Hunter Gallery at St. George's School from 2013-2019.  In addition to working in her Middletown studio, Karen is a scenic artist employed in motion pictures and television.

Roarke’s work, exhibited locally and internationally for over 30 years, is included in the collections of Fidelity Investments, Nestlé Corporation, KVH Industries and Tokai Bank and in numerous private collections.