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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.



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

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