Marilee Shapiro - ART CART Oral History

Shapiro, Marilee; McCrary, Jamie; Fason, Alicia; Teachers College. Research Center for Arts and Culture

Marilee Shapiro was born in Chicago on November 17 1912. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in philosophy in 1933 After her marriage to Bernard Shapiro in 1935 she discovered sculpture in 1937 in a WPA class in the basement of a local school. When Alexander Archipenko opened a teaching studio in Chicago in 1939 she enrolled and studied with him for two years. Having come to Washington with her family during WW2 she enrolled in classes at The American University continuing with sculpture and drawing.

Her first one person show was of water colors at the Watkins Gallery of American University In Washington she was a member of the Franz Bader Gallery, Here in Washington there were many opportunities to show in juried shows in the Washington and Baltimore museums as well as the Corcoran Gallery of Art where she received an Honorable Mention in sculpture and a first prize for a painting from the Washington Society of Artists. She also was an etcher and began the use of photoshop to produce digital prints in the year 2000 when she was 88 years old followed in 2015 by beginning to work with photography up to the present time, 2016.
This oral history interview discusses some of her sculptures and what she loves about working with clay and the limitations she experiences working with clay and bronze. Shapiro elaborates on the theme of nuns or sisters of the church in her artwork. She talks about her hiatus from art and what eventually got her back into it. She’s now over 100 years old and credits art with preserving her.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Research Center for Arts and Culture
Published Here
January 29, 2014


This zip archive contains audio files of an oral history interview and a text file describing themes addressed in the interview. For more information about the ART CART project, please visit their website: