Maria Schechter (b.1976, Pasadena, CA) is known for growing her paintings and sculptures from mycelium. 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 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 the Seattle Art Museum and recent pocket exhibitions with the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California. She currently has a solo exhibition on view with the California State Capitol. Maria has achieved a number of grants that include The Gottlieb Foundation Emergency Grant, Fantastic Fungi Global Summit Scholarship, Arts and Accessibility Grant, UCLA, and The Center for Cultural Innovation. 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 form Schiller International University, Heidelberg, Germany. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art in Design from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington and has lived in both Thailand and Germany. She currently keeps a working studio on both the East and West Coast of the United States.