In 2002, during his high school graduation ceremony, Craig Paul Nowak was awarded The Outstanding Artist Award and Phoenix Scholarship from Brighton High School, a school he didn't even attend.
Later, Nowak earned his BFA (cum laude) from The College for Creative Studies, in 2006. During Nowak's senior year at CCS, he oversaw the U245 Student Gallery, where he organized six successful exhibitions and 5 solo shows.
After graduating, Nowak relocated to Chicago. Immediately after his arrival, Nowak entered a competition and was awarded exclusive representation with a new up-and-coming gallery, MOKA Gallery. MOKA exhibited Nowak's art in art fairs throughout the United States and France, the most notable of which were Art Santa Fe (New Mexico), Art NOW (Miami, FL), and The Docks Art Fair (Lyon, France). MOKA also published Nowak's paintings in Modern Painters Magazine, NY Arts Magazine, Chicago Gallery News, Arte Al Dia, and Arte Al Limite.
In 2008, Nowak was offered a one-month artist residency with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs. He then followed that up with a three-month plain aire painting residency located in rural Tularosa, NM, a residency called Mano Y Mente.
Eventually, Nowak returned back home to Detroit where he became the Director and Lead Curator of Art Effect Gallery. While there, Nowak curated six exhibitions and organized one in-house artist residency. At the end of his contract, Nowak opted to move on rather than continue and instead, accepted an apprenticeship position under stone sculptor, Somers Randolph, in Santa Fe, NM.
Nowak's apprenticeship lasted 9-months, whereafter, he returned back to Detroit for a three-month artist residency at Red Bull House of Art. The art that Nowak made during his Red Bull residency was later exhibited at ARTPRIZE in Grand Rapids, MI. A year after that, in 2014, Nowak was awarded the "Best Local Artist" Award from Real Detroit Weekly's readership. After being recognized by RDW, Nowak took a hiatus and spent 3-months animating in Milan, Italy.
In 2016, Nowak returned to Red Bull House of Art as a curator. He curated a face-themed exhibition entitled, Re:semblance before beginning to work on a 19ft x 9ft painting/collage project in collaboration with students at Henry Ford Academy. That painting, entitled "Dream World", was acquired by The College for Creative Studies and remains on permanent display in their collection at the Taubman Center in Detroit. It also inspired Nowak to pursue a teaching career in 2017.
Nowak began working as a Teaching Artist for Community Arts Partnership and continued teaching until the COVID-19 Pandemic emerged in 2019.
Shortly before the pandemic, Nowak also accepted a position as the Creative Expressions Program Coordinator at Kadima Mental Health Services. He continues to serve in that position today, where he organizes a comprehensive arts education and enrichment program for adults with intellectual, developmental, and mental disabilities.
In the two years that Nowak has worked for Kadima (now JVS Human Services), he has organized countless arts classes and activities in partnership with cultural institutions like, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, College for Creative Studies, Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Matrix Theatre, and more. Nowak and his team organized the 2nd Annual Frame of Mind Arts Benefit at the Detroit Opera House in 2021 and is currently developing the 3rd Annual Kadima Frame of Mind Arts Benefit and Showcase, set to take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, in May 2022.