Maria Medina-Schechter

Maria Schechter (b.1976, Pasadena, CA), Currently completed the Symbiosis residency with Ayatana's Biophilium: Science school for artists, Maria is known for growing her paintings and sculptures from mycelium the same material used to fruit mushrooms. As an eco artist she also utilizes an ancient technique known as Ikebana or Japanese flower arranging. The method itself has come a long way from its humble roots as a temple offering centuries ago. Today, it is a popular and innovative ‘living art’ primarily in Japan, but Mrs. Schechter’s work with living materials also incorporates this technique, utilizing mycelium as a medium and growing her painting palette from fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Having always been a steward of the natural world she understands the urgency to inspire other generations as the next generation of gatekeepers. Understanding that we are all a part of something much larger than human life is how she finds reverence for the natural world at the centerpiece of each work she now creates. For 26 years, her work has shown with cultural institutions, including recent pocket exhibitions with the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California. She recently closed a solo exhibition with the California State Capitol and will be completing The Gate Project in Spring 2023 with The Museum of Infinite Outcomes in Tennessee.  Currently represented in part by The InFlux-Gallery, Notting Hill, London. Maria has achieved a number of grants that include The Gottlieb Foundation Emergency Grant 2022, The Fantastic Fungi Global Summit Scholarship 2021, Arts and Accessibility Grant, UCLA 2020 and The Center for Cultural Innovation 2020. Originally accepted into Pratt for her MFA in 1999, she changed course and initiated her graduate work with New York University in Visual Art Administration and later achieved a Masters in International Business with a published thesis on cause related marketing from Schiller International University, Heidelberg, Germany. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington in 1998. She has lived in both Thailand and Germany and currently resides in Carmel, Indiana. 




2023          Rinconada Library, Palo Alto, CA, "Woman of Courage", June. SOLO (forthcoming)

2023          The Museum of Infinite Outcomes, TN, Spring/TBA. SOLO (forthcoming)


2022          The Influx Gallery, London, "Emergence", August. GROUP

2022          EcoAware Art Gallery, India, "Dispose to Reuse, International Art Exhibition". GROUP

2022          Garfield Park Arts Center, Indianapolis, "Red, A Color Exhibition", June 3 -25. GROUP

2022          Playground Productions, Indianapolis,  "A Generous Kingdom: Preview", April 15. GROUP

2022          Sacramento County Board of Chambers, CA, "Women of Courage", Jan 7th -July 25. SOLO


2021          Blue Line Arts, Sacramento, CA, Members Medley, July - September. GROUP

2021          Las Laguna Art Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA, "Botanical Art and Illustration", December. GROUP


2020         Illustrative Voices, Bay Area, CA,  "20/20 Hindsight Social Justice Exhibition", December. GROUP

2020         Dab Art Co, Los Angeles, CA, "ART IN THE TIME OF CORONA™", December-January 2023. GROUP

2020         Women Soaring Project, New York, NY, "Women Suffragists", November. GROUP

2020         Triton Museum, Pocket Exhibition, Santa Clara, CA, "Covid-19: Life in a Pandemic", July. GROUP

2020         Triton Museum, Pocket Exhibition, Santa Clara, CA, "We Can't Breath", May. GROUP

2020         Abrams Claghorn Gallery, Albany, CA,  "The Ground Upon Which We Stand", April 15 - May 31. GROUP

2020         Palo Alto Art Center, CA, "Happy Place", May-June. GROUP

Select Exhibitions

2018          Humani-fest, Indianapolis, June. GROUP

2015          Hidden Villa Farm, Los Alto Hills, CA, "The Women's Healing Conference", May. SOLO

2014          Sophia University, Palo Alto, CA, "Living Thailand", May -December. SOLO

2009         White Box, New York, NY, "Gut Box Art Collective", May. GROUP


Awards / Residencies

2022           Biophilium Canadian residency for artists: WildCraft, August 8th - 19
2022           Biophilium Canadian residency for artists: Symbiosis: Ecology school for artists, July 11 - 22nd

2020           Art Ventures, Half Moon Bay, CA, January

2022           Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant, New York, NY

2021           Fantastic Fungi Scholarship: Voices From The Underground, Seattle, WA

2021           Seneca Center of California: artwork acquisition for their rehabilitation center

2020           California Arts Council, A State Agency, The National Arts and Disability

                   Center, UCLA, 'Arts and Accessibility Grant', California

2020           The Center For Cultural Innovation, California Relief Fund for Artists

                   and Cultural Practitioners Grant (Covid-19 related), California

2007           Schiller International University, Benjamin Franklin Award, Heidelberg, Germany

2004           Goethe Institute, Grant/Kulturmittlerin (cultural liaison), New York

2002           The MacArthur Fellows Program, Nominee, Seattle, WA

2002           Museum of Pop Culture, exhibition, Seattle, WA

2001           Seattle Space Needle Artist Studios, studio grant, Seattle, WA

1998           Oculus Gallery, 2nd Place : The Story of The Door, (Installation), Baton Rouge, LA

1997           Cornish College of the Arts, President’s Scholarship, Seattle, WA

1994           Euphrat Museum of Art, De Anza College, 2nd place award, Cupertino, CA

Curation and Special Projects

2015           Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

                  Panelist - "Professional Development Program"


2015           Santa Cruz Mountain Arts Center, Ben Lomond, CA

                  Board Training: Arts Marketing and Strategy Development

2015           Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, CA

                  Imagine SLS, Santa Cruz, CA

                  Curated, exhibition and annual fundraiser, Film Festival, Adults with Disabilities

2010          Thai Mundo Organization, Udon Thani, Thailand

                  raised 10k in art supplies and books for the local orphanage, shared insights with

                  administration on social media and blog training. 

2009          De Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University Museum, Santa Clara, CA

                  Museum support, docent tours, research and exhibition support

2005          Senior Fulbright Research Scholar: Vasco Billboards and Global Trade, New York, NY

                  Research support of scholar Donald Fels, website development and curatorial support

2005          Victoria Secret Inc., "Elizabeth" designed the line which included a bicycle and botanical and floral

                  designs used in customized boxes and baskets.

2002         Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, WA

                 Co-CuratedWhatisart-Whatissound: Exhibition design and program direction

2000          Independent Media Center, Seattle, WA

                 Co-Curated, "Stepping From The Shadows"

2000          What Is Art - What Is Sound?, Seattle, WA

                  Co-Founded the collective turned non-profit and co-curated all public events over a 5 year period


2019, HarvardXOnline

Continued Education Courses

  • Pyramids of Giza, Ancient Egyptian Art and Archeology

  • Leaders of Learning

  • Women Making History:10 Objects Many Stories

2007-2009, Schiller International University, Heidelberg, Germany

Masters of International Management in International Business,

Thesis published on Cause Related Marketing:

"Cause Culture, Capturing Social Capital through Marketing"


2006-2007, New York University, New York, New York,

Masters, Visual Arts Administration, (Initiated graduate work-transferred 2nd yr.)


2002, Goethe Institute, Goethe-Institut Mannheim Sprachschule


1994-1998, Cornish College of The Arts, Seattle, WA

Bachelor of Fine Art

1993-1994, De Anza Community College, Cupertino, CA

Art History, Painting, Drawing,

Teaching Experience/Artist Talks

2022            Artist Relief Project (ARP), monthly online engagement

2021            Blue Line Arts, Artist Talk, Sacramento, CA

2021            Crocker Art Museum, Teacher training, Sacramento, CA

                   E.S.L Emotional, Social, Learning 

2021            Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA

2020           Illustrative Voices, Artist Talk, San Jose, CA

2020           Private Instruction: painting, drawing and art history, CA

1998-1999  Washington International School, Northgate, WA

1998-1999   First Place, Seattle, WA



English, German