ST. CLOUD - Sarah Drake has always been an artist, but she never thought art could be her career - until now.

Earlier this year, a twist of fate led to the Long Prairie native and PhD candidate winning an International silver medal in surrealism - an unusual feat considering it was Drake's very first juried art show entry.

This inspired the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum in Moscow Russia to accept two pieces of Drake's art into their collection, one of which will remain a permanent piece.

Drake says the "Open Doors" exhibit, which she's been showing here in the United States, is inspired by the Russian artist and activist Marina Tsvetaeva, for whom the museum is named. She says Tsvetaeva's life and art, which involved a great deal of hard work and struggle to gain exposure, closely mirrors her own artistic experience.

Drake says she didn't intend on any international exposure - she was looking for a bike on craiglist, accidentally clicked on New York, and started searching in the art category for galleries accepting new work.

"I finally started believing in myself two years ago," Drake says.

Drake has already sold many of the pieces in the Open Doors collection. She plans to use the momentum she's gathered to promote her main mission - creating art that teaches about Africa and promoting cultural awareness.

Drake recently finished showing the "Open Doors" exhibit at the St. Cloud Public Library, but she'll be showing another collection of her work at the River's Edge Convention Center this spring.