Maria Medina-Schechter

Maria was born and raised in Pasadena, CA. She spent much of her time in Temple City with her artist grandparents, who were pivotal in her becoming an artist. Her grandfather was a sculptor; her grandmother was a painter. As a child, Maria began working in the studio with her grandfather. During her career, she has developed over 1,000 paintings. Maria attended Cornish College of the Arts for her B.F.A.  Maria initiated her graduate work with New York University and achieved a Masters in International Business with a published thesis on cause related marketing from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany. When she was twenty-two, Maria received a MacArthur Award nomination. During the first twenty-three years of her career,  Maria’s primary medium was oils and collage on gallery stretched canvas. After a car accident in 2018, she needed several surgeries to regain the use of her arms and hands.  This required her to reconsider how she would continue to work and what materials  would allow her to express herself fully, while still engaging nature. During her recovery periods, she read about Paul Stamets and Merlin Sheldrake. In addition, Louie Schwartzberg’s film Fantastic Fungi was pivotal in her shift in materials and approach to her practice. Over the last three years, she  has fully engaged her practice despite her permanent disability in her arms and hands. Since 2021,  she has created 44 new works. As she recently explained to a cohort: “It’s the first time in my life I am just doing and making without trying to have my work do something or be something other than the experience and expression of nature.”


Today, Maria grows her paintings and sculptures from mycelium, the same material that fruits mushrooms. Her painting palette includes fruits, flowers, mushrooms, and other botanical materials. Her mission as an artist is to inspire others to use healthier materials for a healthier world. Understanding that we are a part of something much larger than human life, she finds reverence for the natural world, which is 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. Her solo exhibition with the California State Capitol highlighted youth leadership. She is inspired by Greta Thunberg, Malala, and other young ladies who have dedicated their lives to fostering visibility for some of the world's most pressing issues. 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. She has traveled through seventeen countries, living in both Thailand and Germany. She currently resides in Indianapolis.

Maria 2022.JPG

Painting archive currently lives here. Over 1,000 paintings are in the process of moving over to Artwork Archive. The archive has sold to a variety of

patrons, organizations and institutions and are no longer available for sale.




2023     Rinconada Library, Palo Alto, CA, "Enchanted Garden", June, SOLO (forthcoming)

2023     The Museum of Infinite Outcomes, TN, "The Gatekeepers", May 19, SOLO (forthcoming)

2023     Las Laguna Art Gallery, CA, "Botanical", January 5 - 28th GROUP (online) (forthcoming)


2022     Indianapolis Center on Art, "Winter Art Sale", Indianapolis, on-site : December 3 

2022     Petite Galleria, "Miniature Works", San Jose, (Japan Town), CA, November 26 - January 28. GROUP

2022     Studio Alchemy Gallery, "Roots", Indianapolis, IN, November 4th (First Friday). GROUP

2022     RMC, Radical Mycology Convergence, OR, October 6-9. GROUP

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

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

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

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

2022     Sacramento County Board of Chambers, "Women of Courage", Sacramento, CAJan 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 2020 - 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, Palo Alto, 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

2007     Works Arts Gallery, "Annual Art Auction", San Jose, CA, GROUP

2005     Bellevue City Hall, WA, GROUP

2004     Manhattan Social Club, "Eve Ensler Fundraiser", NYC, SOLO

2003     Luisen Park, "What Is Art-What Is Sound", Mannheim, Germany, GROUP

2002     Alte Feuewache, "What Is Art" Fundraiser, Mannheim, Germany, SOLO

2002     Richard Hugo House, Seattle, WA, SOLO

2001     Agora Gallery, New York, NY, GROUP

1997     COCA, Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA, GROUP

1997     Cornish College of The Arts, "Fisher Gallery", Seattle, WA, GROUP


Awards/Grants /Residencies

2022     Museum of Infinite Outcomes: The Gatekeepers Project: Adult workshops and Youth based art & nature workshops

            Grant facilitated by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

2022     Biophilium Canadian residency, science school for artists: Mycophilia, Mushroom School For Artists: September 19th - 30th

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

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

2020     Art Ventures painting residency, Half Moon Bay, CA, January

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

2009 -2019  I owned my own company for 10 years: Cultured Social LLC. The company focused on creative marketing, artist representation, curation grant writing, and professional development support. In ten years, I had the privilege of acting as the YouTube Specialist with Cisco Systems, I co-created a significant community for the Clorox suite of brands and designed their social media platforms, strategy and management of 11 brands: Kingsford Charcoal, Brita, Burt's Bees, Glad, all Clorox branded products, and several others. I worked in their innovation division, primarily with their scientists. I secured publications of our work together in the New York Times and The Harvard Business Review. My direct report and co-creator was Greg Piche and IP strategist and Senior Scientists, Mike Petrin. As a result, I would move on to continue to provide creative content, social media strategy for Standard Bank in South Africa, which developed a unique way to find innovators in mobile tech in their part of the world. I designed the content and strategy for their innovations. I would later volunteer with area non-profits that needed support in social media, strategy, and online community development. This led to holding board seats with major institutions to support the health and well-being of my community.

2015     Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

            Panelist - "Professional Development Program"

            Provided insights into digital marketing and art strategy for artists


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, lived with and learned from Thai forest monks & muns

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., I designed the "Elizabeth" line which included a bicycle, boxes, baskets, and tins. I 

             initially created a variety of botanical and floral oil paintings which I then transferred into a digital format creating 

             patterns and designs used in all of the customizations

2005     I was hired as a consultant by Fader Magazine to work with Moby on his event that took place at the Natural History 

            Museum in New York City. This is where I was invited to consult with GMSH an arts collective created in New York City comprised of  Richard          

            Linklater animators from the film Waking Life and three other artists. I would develop a fish bowl type of installation with GMSH

            exhibiting their works with the Capitol Hill Arts Center co-creating the event with Randy Engstrom who Directed the office of Arts and Culture 

            Seattle, Washington. 

2004-2005   Senior Project Manager, Novo Arts, New York

                   I managed half a million in major design projects and installations for The Ritz Carlton, Hilton, and Bank of America.

2003     Lake Washington Technical College, Seattle, WA

            Designed and produced digital art and sound workshop (this was a What Is Sound workshop).

2002     Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, WA

            Co-Curated Whatisart-Whatissound: Exhibition design and program direction

            (This was a What Is Art - What Is Sound fundraising event).

2000     Independent Media Center, Seattle, WA

             Co-Curated, "Stepping From The Shadows".

2000     What Is Art - What Is Sound?, Seattle, WA & Mannheim, Germany

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



2022                 Yale University: Teacher Leadership Program (ongoing)

                         The online program began in October and we will break for January

                         The next segment of teaching with an emphasis on story telling begins in 

                         Spring 2023.

2021                  Blue Wind School of Botanical Studies

                         Edible & Medicinal Oaks/Acorns of the Western U.S. (Online)

2019-2020         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 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. to Heidelberg, Germany)


2002 - 2003    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 (artist talk)

 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, painting instructor

2020           Illustrative Voices, Artist talk, San Jose, CA

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

                  During our work together my student applied for her first art competition and won 2nd place.

                  More importantly her work was in an exhibition titled: 12 Freedoms Gained: A Juneteenth juried art exhibition in 

                  Ft.Worth, Texas at the Fort Worth Community Art Center. This was a youth arts exhibition. Together, we took a deep

                  dive into diaspora, culture, and took a hard look at a specific exhibition: Legends from Los Angeles: Betye, Lezley, and Alison Saar.

2020           Women's Caucus for Art, Palo Alto, CA

2007          Embassy CES, NYC: National Arts and Culture Program Manager: I designed and implemented public programs for the adult students visiting

                  New York City for the first time. My primary role was to be the students 'first friend' and not just take them to galleries,     

                  museums, broadways shows, dinner clubs, night clubs, but to share and teach American culture and history.

1998-1999  Washington International School, Northgate, WA, Painting and drawing instruction

1998-1999  First Place, Seattle, WA, Painting and drawing instruction


Conference/Board Membership          

Radical Mycology Convergence, Mulino, Oregon

October 6-9, 2022

Donated artworks to the visual art exhibition and silent auction to support the continuation of community programs that serve humanity and our planet. 

Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, NL

Sept. 22 -24, 2022

The 3-day event explored the idea of an Intergovernmental Panel on Art and Climate Change and ways to integrate the arts, social sciences, and humanities within the interface between science and global policymaking. Gathering professionals from the arts, science, and beyond, IPACC WG IV speculates on the role of the arts in relation to climate breakdown. the (IPACC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Art and Climate Change.

The Homeless Garden Project, Santa Cruz, CA, 2016

Former board member 

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, 2001

Former: Latin American community board member

Organized by then Deputy Director for art: Lisa Graziose Corrin

In addition, I worked with the Seattle Art Museum for three years.


Hacker Dojo, Mountain View, CA- Previous

NCWCA Women's Caucus on Art - Previous

National Social Media Council

Representing the Clorox Company-Previous


English, German

Studied: Arabic, Japanese, Spanish and Thai