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Maria Schechter is a bio artist whose work is informed by the natural world, including Middle Age illuminated manuscripts, scribes, and recipes. She is inspired by Hildegard of Bingen, a German mystic of the High Middle Ages. Maria works primarily with mycelium and clay in her dimensional paintings and sculptures. She was introduced to sculpture as a child by her grandfather who was a sculptor. In addition, her grandmother’s father was a sculptor of historical significance, Bela Ohmann. His works can be seen as relief on buildings and as sculptures in the round in both Buda and Pest in Budapest, Hungary. Maria received her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She initiated her graduate work with New York University, working towards a masters in visual arts administration, and later graduated with a masters in international business and management studies (IBMS) from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany. Maria works primarily with bio materials, mycelium, tree resin, and foraged botanical materials. Schechter has had solo and group exhibits in galleries, museums, and public institutions, such as libraries and government chambers.
She has received grants from the Goethe Institute New York City, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Schiller International University, Cornish College of the Arts, and UCLA. Maria has founded three significant organizations. The first is the WhatIsArt-WhatIsSound organization, initiated as an arts collective in 1998 with over 200 artists. The organization found its way into 13 countries over a three year period. Schechter brought it as the primary work to New York University. WhatIsArt-WhatIsSound encompassed 28 cities in 13 countries and earned her a MacArthur Award nomination. The second organization began as a Dadaist type of arts collective in New York, and became the Klaus Von Nicht Sagen Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in 2003. The gallery changed hands and has moved to Manhattan as the Klaus Gallery. Finally, she founded Cultured Social LLC and designed for major brands, developing and co-creating communities her design samples can be found here. The Cultured Social LLC primary goal was to represent artists and serve community. She was invited by the Santa Cruz Arts Council to provide an arts marketing workshop for area artists and art organizations. During her time in the valley, she worked with major brand designing for Victoria Secret Inc., marketing for major motion pictures, developed campaigns, and co-created communities for 11 brands such as Brita, Birt's Bees, Fresh Step, Hidden Valley Ranch, and a variety of other American brands. She has gained mayoral support from thirteen city arts and cultural affairs offices including Seattle, Washington, Mostar, (former) Bosnia. Strasbourg, France, and Mannheim, Germany. Her recent work has showcased with the Minnetrista Museum and Gardens in Muncie, Indiana. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and 5 animals.
Along with Schechter's love of art and culture she has traveled to 17 countries, lived in Germany, Mexico, and Thailand. She grew up with German and Spanish as a norm in her house-hold. She studied Japanese, became enamored with Arabic studies and literature as an undergraduate student, and learned a bit of Thai while living with Thai Forest monks and nuns while volunteering with the incredible NGO Thai Mundo.