Femmes de Courage Extraordinaire
(by invite only)
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Bio: is a California-based artist and arts advocate, with a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She initiated her graduate work at New York University, working towards a Masters in Visual Art Administration, and later graduated with a Masters in International Business and Management Studies (IBMS) from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany. Her interests are woven into her paintings. From Buddhist sutras to panels of color forming a sensory relationship with nature, she sews the experience into her paintings. Maria works primarily in mixed media: oils, acrylic, collage, inks, found objects, gold leaf, and sewing. Schechter has had solo and group shows in California, Indiana, Seattle, Mannheim, Germany, New York, Louisiana, and has been featured in The Seattle Times, WhiteHot Magazine, Colors NW Magazine, The Stranger Weekly, The Seattle Times Weekly, and Mannheimer Morgan.
She has received grants from the Goethe Institute New York City, Schiller International University, Cornish College of the Arts, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. A MacArthur Award nominee, 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, and was later the primary work Schechter brought to New York University to purse her Masters in Visual Art Administration. The second organization began as a Dadaist type of arts collective in New York, and later became Klaus Gallery and Arts Collective in Brooklyn, New York. She has gained mayoral support from thirteen cities arts and cultural affairs offices including Seattle, Washington, Mostar, (former) Bosnia. Strasbourg, France, and Mannheim, Germany. In addition to these achievements, Maria has founded an arts organization that launched in January 2019: Cultured Social™, (www.culturedsocial.org).
Cultured Social™, is a global arts management organization, representing international artists and providing expertise in art marketing and project management. Maria initiated her Ph.D program in 2016, working alongside Deepak Chopra and Merriam Goldstein. She continues to develop her vision of culture mapping, which includes an in-production series of paintings: Women of Extraordinary Courage which can only be described as a world-weariness characteristic of the late Symbolists. The Symbolists favored spirituality, imagination, and dreams. It is exactly these elements which led her to nearly 30 years of Buddhist practice and over 20 years of painting. It is why her work is so closely connected to nature.
Over the last two decades, Maria has traveled to seventeen countries documenting culture, art, and her experience as a biracial woman. Exploring her new body of work inspired by Quest Loves' book Creative Quest: she has been taking courses with Harvard University including Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories, to help set the architecture for her new body of work Intersectionality 20 years later, Celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage.
Member of the National Women's Caucus for Art, 2020
I enjoy bringing together a variety of techniques into one painting. When I paint, I compose and feel inspired by music and musical techniques. I freestyle language, words, and phrases that capture the core of the painting's essence, and, finally, I incorporate the art of Kintsugi, also known as Kintsukuroi, as a philosophy. It treats breakage and repair in ceramics as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. The use of gold—gold paint or gold leaf—in any of my paintings is the Kintsukuroi, or repaired, part of the piece. I visually compose by sewing together language, music, oils, and collage. Each finished piece is my greatest contribution from Source, and they act as a mudrā, which is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity.