Arlene Cabus Poerio was born in San Francisco, California the same year the Golden Gate Bridge was completed. She attended schools in San Francisco before attending U.C. Berkeley.
After marrying, she moved to a small rural East Bay community where she raised her family and was elected to the local High School Board, serving for over 13 years. Later, she and her husband moved to the Sierra foothills, where she started painting and had her work displayed in several galleries and at local and international exhibits.