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Local Arts Index: Laura Shapiro

Laura Shapiro photoFor over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.

Meet Laura Shapiro.

How Did You Become An Artist?

Paper mache, coloring, paint, and clay were always around thanks for my wonderful mother who set up “rainy day projects” for us when we were young.  Did I LOVE making a mess! I relished these playful, adventurous experiences and still do.

What Kind Of Art Do You Make?

Find OutI make abstract painted wire-mesh pieces that hang on the wall. My pieces investigate the tensions between strength and fragility, movement and calm, tearing apart and weaving together, spontaneous play and planning. Working with these polarities is central to my understanding of myself as an artist and woman now moving through mid-life.

I am also a digital storyteller/ workshop facilitator. A digital story is a short, (usually 3-4 min.) powerful story created with simple computer software ( e.g. IMovie). A digital story integrates a personal story spoken in the author’s own voice, with images and/ or videos and sound.

My digital stories include, “Late” about my experiences growing up with a mother who had mental illness and “Hey Lady”, my reflection on being a white woman confronting and attempting to address my own racism. I’ve worked with groups on issues of domestic violence and with high school seniors on the “senior speeches”.

Roll OverWhat’s Your Muse?

Primarily, the materials inspire my wire painted pieces. I am just beginning to play with these “simple” materials- finding ways to rip, pull, tie, bend, paint, caress and rumple the surfaces. I work intuitively from what the materials are “saying.” So many artists/ art worlds move me: El Anatsui Amy Sillman, Michaela Eichwald, junk yards, Joan Synder, dancers, subway platforms, ancient rugs and rocks, John Chamberlain, and many “visionary” artists.

Plus MinusWhat’s Next?

I am eager to secure a studio space soon so that I can work on larger wire and painted pieces. Can’t wait to “ go for it!” – no holding back. Thanks, Mariano Del Rosario, my teacher at the Art Students League for pushing out there and finding out what is possible.

I hope to develop some community- based digital storytelling projects around anti- racism, dilemma’s facing public school teachers today, The New Jim Crow and/or other issues that individuals and groups might want to explore.

We are new to Nyack and are eager to make connections with groups. Would love to hear from you!

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To see more of Laura’s work visit

ML by Maria Luisa Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML by Maria Luisa, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

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