Devotion to Motion
Mara Alper's affinities with dance, animation, film and video as expressive media have shaped her life. Her themes focus on social issues, older traditions and questions about people's similarities, differences and motivations.
These questions led Mara to study world mythologies and religions with Joseph Campbell and absorb the work of Carl Jung. Her enthusiasm for first-hand experience of the wisdom of older traditions leads her to study sacred dance from around the world and to unique travel experiences in Europe, Asia and Central America.
In Mexico, she has interviewed shaman and tribal leaders in the native Huichol tribe, descendants of the Aztecs. They discussed forgiveness, attitudes toward aging and death and imagery in their sacred arts. This led to her video Visions of the Huichol.
In Bali, she studied the art of shadow puppets, dance and sacred water rituals, intrinsic elements in the Balinese Hindu religion. After five visits to this Indonesian island, she created Sacred Waters of Bali. On the Greek island of Crete, she wrote and painted for several months in a mountain cave facing the Mediterranean Sea, influenced by their ancient Minoan culture. These experiences have helped her learn to appreciate and respect the many values humans share, and to focus on our similarities rather than our differences.
Mara teaches digital video, media art and courses aboutr water issues at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY as an Associate Professor.
AWARDS, HONORS, GRANTS
Green School, Bali 2015
Westbeth Gallery, NYC 2014
Institue of Contemporary Art, London 2013
Contemporary Arts Institute, New Orleans, 2012
Global Social Action Film Festival, Bali 2011
Kampo Musuem, Kyoto, Japan 2010
Experimental Television Center (15) 1990 - 2011
Sadhu Poetry Video Festival, India 2006
New York State Council on the Arts 2004
Walker Art Center 2003
Berlin Sommerfest der Literaturen 2002
James B. Pendleton Grant (8) 2000-2015
Johnson Museum of Art 2000
Wexner Center for the Arts 1998
Museum of Modern Art, NYC 1997
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1996
Dallas Museum of Fine Art 1994
Folkwang Museum, Dusseldorf 1993
Axe-Houghton Foundation (2) 1993-95
Dance Film Association Gold Medal 1991
NEA/Rockefeller Foundation Inter-Arts Grant 1990
National Educational Film & Video Gold Medal 1990
Sundance Institute Screenwriting Finalist 1988
Yaddo Colony Fellowship 1987
Millay Colony Fellowship 1986
MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2) 1985, 1993
B.A. Harpur College, SUNY Binghamton, Theater/English
Magna Cum Laude
M.A. New York University, Educational Theater
Summa Cum Laude