Short Narrative Bio
As a recent speaker at TEDxLehighRiver with the topic of “Art as a Spiritual Practice: What I’ve Learned from Making 10,000 Mandalas” Stephanie Smith maintains a private working studio as a resident artist at the Banana Factory Arts Center in South Bethlehem and continues to share her processes, practices and personal stories with students in workshops, at spiritual and wellness retreats, and as a guest presenter at local schools and universities.
I am a self-taught artist with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and understanding.
Through expressive art making, meditation, and reflective writing practices, I seek to know myself so I can know what’s bigger than me. As a writer, educator, and public speaker, my overall goal is to be of service to others on their own spiritual journey.
For the last 10 years, I have been obsessively working in an expressive fashion with the sacred circular art form known as mandala as a self-reflective and meditative practice.
Creating art for the purpose of spiritual evolution, I have developed a strong belief that process based art can be a powerful tool for transformative personal growth- temporarily silencing our harsh inner critic once the focus on quality has been removed. Working in this way, I believe that anyone may receive the many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits that art making has to offer.
During this time, I began to learn about the many modern artists who created art for spiritual growth - and developed a special interest in Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian and af Klint. I also studied Carl Jung - the famous Swiss psychoanalyst who brought the Eastern concept of the mandala to the West with the belief that the mandala was a path to our whole self.
After a good friend suggested that I begin sharing these ideas with others, I created a number of process based workshops and learned that one of my greatest joys in life is in guiding people to do things they didn't think were possible. Once a person is able to turn down the relentless chatter from their harshest inner critic, we discover that the journey is often much more important than the destination.
When people ask me if a particular culture or wisdom tradition has influenced my work, the answer is almost always yes. My inspiration comes from everywhere.
I’ve always enjoyed working with whatever medium suits me in the moment. Favorites include gouache, colored pencil. acrylic paint, found object assemblages, or even just a single white pencil on a black piece of paper.
As of October 2016, I am accepting private students and am able to support your creativity in a variety of different ways. I also offer group classes and private/public workshops at your location or mine.
I am also available for artist talks, live painting demonstrations, artist residencies and exhibition opportunities. Please contact me for further details: stephanie at biffybeans.com or 484-893-0336.
Studio hours are by chance or by appointment.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2016 Banana Factory Resident Artist Annual Exhibition, Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
2015 RiverJazz, ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, PA
2014 National Association of Women Artists Members Annual, New York, NY
2013 ACE Group Show MCS Gallery, Sigal Museum, Easton, PA
2012 “First Amendment” Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2016, 2014, 2013, 2012 Featured Artist, Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
2016 Oddscapes series I, Studio #250 Bethlehem, PA
2013 South Side Smalls: The Red Collection Studio #250 Bethlehem, PA
2012 WE Connexions Gallery, Easton, PA
2011The Sketchbook Exchange Project participant Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn NY
2011 Moleskine Sketchbook Exchange Project participant
Workshop “Mandala: An Artful Meditation” presented to, or at:
• 2015-16 The Barn Community Art Workshop, Emmaus, PA
• 2016 Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
• 2014 The Swain School, Allentown, PA
• 2011-13 Intro to Art Therapy, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA
• 2009-13 The Summer Rhythm Renewal Retreat, Loretto, PA
• 2013 HeART Series, Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
• 2012 The Baum School of Art, Allentown, PA
• 2011 South Mountain College, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
• 2010 The Great Rhythm Revival Retreat, Sherman, NY
• 2010 Circle of Trees Retreat, Milford, PA
• 2010 Blue Stone Yoga, Bethlehem, PA
• 2009 Chestnut Hill Church, Coopersburg, PA
Additional Workshops offered privately at The Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA:
• 2016 "Creative Goal Setting"
• 2016 "Girls Night Out: Mandala Coloring Class"
• 2014-15 “The Creative Path: An Intro to Manifesting Abundance”
• 2012,15 “Creating a Manifestation List”
• 2014 “Creating a Manifestation Mandala”
• 2012 “Fearless Artmaking"
Workshop: “Tapping the Source: Learning to Access Your Creative Spirit” presented in 2014 w/ Dr. Kell Morton at Triunity Holistic Chiropractic, Allentown, PA
Presentations, Artist Talks, etc.
• 2016 TEDxLehighRiver Speaker "Art as a Spiritual Practice: What I've Learned from Making 10,000 Mandalas" Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, PA
• 2014-16 Artist talk, Northampton Community College Fine Art Students, Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
• 2015 Artist talk, Moravian College Museum Studies Students, Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
• 2014-15 Guest Panel Speaker: Art Entrepreneurship in the Community, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
• 2014 Artist Talk, “Metamorphosis” Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA
• 2014 Visiting Artist at The Swain School in Allentown, PA (Included student body assemblies and classroom visits)
• 2014 Artist talk, Parkland Art League, Allentown, PA
• 2012-2014 Career representative, Multicultural Leadership Conference, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA
• 2013 Guest Panel Speaker: Arts Community of Easton (ACE) Information Extravaganza at the State for Artists and Artisans
• 2011 Artist talk, South Mountain College students, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Organizations and Associations:
• Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia Chapter 2015
• National Association of Women Artists Juried Member 2014-2015
• Lehigh Art Alliance Member 2015
• Yoga Alliance RYT-200 August 2015 - Current
Honors Of Note:
• Original painting: “Seek” selected for the cover of “Cloud Eagle” a historical recording of Towa songs from the Seasonal Dance Group of the Jemez and Zuni Pueblos 11/14
• Invited to be a juried member of N.A.W.A. - The National Association of Women Artists 03/14
• Mural “She Continues to Grow” installed at the Healing Through the Arts Center in Allentown, PA 05/12
• Invited to be a Resident Artist at the Banana Factory Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA 11/11
• Brittany Garzillo “Spirit of Art” feature on PBS WLVT 39 FOCUS November 7, 2014
• Jaime Karpovich “Vision Boards with Stephanie Smith” Save the Kales! January 2014
• Ann Wlazelek "Visionary Artist In Process" Lehigh Valley Marketplace Magazine October 2013
• Samantha Kimball “Taking Root - Growth in the Valley Art Community” Elucidator Magazine Summer 2012
• Megan Waren “Intentions, Mantras, and Positive Affirmations - 100 Mandalas” Collage Diva November 9, 2014
• Thaneeya McArdle “Mandala Art by Stephanie Smith: Inspiring Mandala Designs in Multimedia” Art is Fun! January 16, 2011
Publications as Author
• 2008-Current Author of the blog Spiritual Evolution of the Bean: a combination of art, product reviews on a variety of art and writing supplies, and candid reflections on personal life experiences.
• 2009-2015 Author of Rhodia Drive the company blog dedicated to the French stationery brand.
• 2016 Career Representative, Liberty High School, Bethlehem, PA
• 2012-2014 Career Representative, Multicultural Leadership Conference, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA
• 2013 Judge: Healing Through the Arts high school student art competition, Allentown, PA
• 2012 Artist: St. Luke's Cancer Survivor's Day, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Allentown, PA
• 2012 Judge: Notre Dame Elementary School Art Show, Bethlehem. PA
Personal Mission Statement: “My world is one of abundance. I believe there will always be more than enough. I create this reality by modeling openness, living in a mindful way, and by inspiring others through my own means of honest self-expression; art, writing and teaching.”