Artist-Culture Practitioner

Artist-Culture Practitioner

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The Well-Within, 22" w x 27" h is made of mycelium. It took 23 days, or 554 hours, to grow. There are 43 bricks, 9 panels and numerous amounts of species of seashells. 2022.

Maria Schechter,

Her ultimate goal is to stop using toxic materials to create and begin using other resources found in the plant and fungi kingdoms. She was recently awarded a scholarship by the Fantastic Fungi team: Voices From The Underground. The scholarship is meant to assist in her research to be more fully informed on the uses of mushrooms in the health and wellness space as food is medicine for the body and mycelium as it is a primary medium in her work. In 2000, Mrs. Schechter was nominated for a MacArthur for the work developed in creating What Is Art? - What Is Sound?, an international non-profit arts collective located in 13 countries and 28 cities around the world. This was before social media became a norm. The organization grew from 11 local Seattle artists to over 200 artists in 13 countries in less than three years. The collective examined art and technology through technology and tradition by empowering artists and creating new communities. The collective turned organization was in operation from 2000 to 2005. The initial team came out of Cornish College of the Arts. This is where she achieved her BFA in design. This work led her to pursue a Master's in Visual Art Administration with New York University in 2006. During that time Mrs. Schechter was awarded a stipend from the Goethe-Institut, New York as a Kulturmittlerin (cultural liaison) from the Goethe-Institut New York, Kulturmittler stipends are awarded by the Goethe-Institut in the US and Canada to both advanced students and professionals in the arts. It is through the work she co-created with over 200 artists and communities worldwide that taught her that underrepresented communities become empowered by encouraging involvement. She does this by hosting workshops, engaging communities through public programs, and creating works whose narratives are relatable. 

Now using a medium that is literally the connecting network of the natural world, it is not a wonder that she found her way into developing a project inspiring yet another new world of leaders. Weaving together her experience, education, and child-like wonder, she continues to explore in what she calls her Living Room Laboratory. 

 

Primary in her new work Gatekeepers, mycelium is used  for sculptural material instead of resin and other toxic materials.  This practice will further add to the cadre of organic materials Mrs. Schechter uses in her living palette. 

 

"To heal ourselves first and this planet, we need to shift our consciousness to a more connected and responsible worldview. "

 

BIO:

Maria Schechter was born in Pasadena, California. She attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Maria received her Bachelor of Fine Art in Design in 1998 and initiated her Master's degree in Visual Art Administration with New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in 2006. She recieved her Master's in International Business from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany in 2009. She has traveled extensively to 17 countries, living in Udon Thani, Thailand and Mannheim, Germany. Since 1994, Mrs. Schechter’s paintings have shown in community and cultural institutions along with pocket exhibitions with the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara County, California. For the last 23 years, her primary medium was in oils, collage, and resin. Today, she works in only organic and living materials. Trained in painting and sculpture, she enjoys both equally. Maria loves to inspire curiosity, joy, and engagement in her work. Her current body of work titled  A Generous Kingdom: The Use of Art & Science to Inspire The Next Generation of Gatekeepers acts as a series of experiments on the use of organic materials, including working with living material such as mycelium.