Maria Schaedler-Luera, Co-Founder of Atomica Arts, Joins the Club

Maria Schaedler-Luera, Co-Founder of Atomica Arts, Joins the Club

She is a Brazilian-born educator and artist with extensive work experience and knowledge in theater, music, arts and literacy, and cross-cultural engagement. On the Suncoast, Maria Schaedler-Luera has served as the Manager for Arts Integration for Any Given Child Sarasota at Sarasota County Schools and serves as a drama teaching artist for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Her company, Atomica Arts, has a simple mission: To explore the building blocks of extraordinary.
She studied with theater director Augusto Boal and has taught classes and workshops that focus on Theatre of the Oppressed techniques for the American Repertory Theater, Harvard Extension School, Lesley University, and several other non-profits in Boston and Sarasota. She worked at the Harvard Art Museums developing, coordinating, and teaching gallery classes to immigrants in English, Portuguese and Spanish and at the Community Art Center in Cambridge, MA leading the Community Programs and Public Art Initiatives.
Take a listen to her life's work, journey, and passion. You will be a better human for it.
Come along and Join the club!

• Maria Schaedler-Luera Website & Facebook & Instagram

• Any Given Child Sarasota Website & Facebook

• Augusto Boal Theatre of the Oppressed Website

• State College of Florida Theatre Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

• The Gallery at SCF Facebook & Instagram

• State College of Florida Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

• State College of Florida Foundation Website & Facebook & Instagram & LinkedIn

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Katherine: . I am thrilled to be here today in a team interview with Amanda Schlachter assistant professor of theater here at SCF. My name is Katherine Bazaara, assistant professor of art history and the gallery director at SCF. We are both so excited to have Maria Shandler Lucara of Atomico arts with us today. 

Amanda: Maria is an educator artist and healer with an extensive background in theater, music, arts, and literacy. She studied with theater director, Augusta BOL, working with the techniques of theater of the oppressed and came to us here in Sarasota to be the manager of arts integration for any given child with the Sarasota County schools. 

Katherine: Before we explore the now of your creative life and what it's like to be a cultural leader in 2021. Amanda and I want to explore the history of you. I'll start. What were your early interests?

Maria: Whew. Great question. Well, first I'm so excited to be here. I have missed you both in the real world and so fun to get to see you both together.  So I grew up in  South America, Brazil. I've spent most of my life there. And I always wanted to travel and explore cultures. I think that was , my biggest interest. Early on, be an Explorer. I just want to see the world. So that was always like a big motivator for me. But I would say because of our culture is so artistic in many ways, music was my first.  Art forum in many ways was just part of the culture. I grew up with my dad that was the language at home. Like my dad would sit down with me and we wouldn't have conversations. He would just play his guitar and I would sing. And that was how we talked. And like, we were just like sing together.  And we did this for hours. So music was, you know, definitely what took me to. All of the other art forms that I ended up engaging with later in life. And that started everything.

Katherine: That doesn't sound like a terrible way to get started.

Maria: not at all.

Katherine: Like imagination. It's often hard to. Put words to some of the things that we think when we're kids.

Maria: . Yes. And  one of the quotes that I love about,  Augusta while he talks, he talks about why he, he did theater in many ways, but he talked about the different art forms. So he always talked about music being, you know, just like the art form that organized this silence in time. And so  in my culture , we had long periods of silence. So when I moved to the us and I went to New York city,  identified any silence. So I can talk into people because I would always wait bit of silence to talk and been in a conversation. And I could never find that. So very interesting. But the silence also, as as you know The thing, right. It's not just music and it's not just sounds in that space, but also silence. So very interesting for me. But later on when I discovered theater, I knew that that was it.

Katherine: We all have that moment, 

Amanda: right, 

Katherine: right. 

Amanda: Moment. Yeah. 

Katherine: We'll probably end up talking about that a little bit more. 

Amanda: Yeah,  well, with that, I'm curious a little bit more about your background in your evolution as an artist and a healer, because that's when it. The things I really love about everything. I know that you've done here. And I know I haven't gotten to take one of your workshops. I really want to, but my boyfriend did. And you just, every time, your theater of the oppressed workshops, he was on like cloud nine from, so  I'd love to know about your evolution and because there are two different paths, but then they intersect. 

Maria: Absolutely. So , I started with music first when I was in Brazil. And early on I was studying with my Mastro and became a voice teacher was doing opera. And then my group in Brazil, they started doing musical theater. So I took that opportunity and I looked for a program and that's what really brought me to the United States to do musical theater program. So I went to AMTA in New York city, but that was after college. Because I knew I wanted to go abroad and I was always so interested in cultures. I actually studied international relations with a focus in cultural diversity. But arts were always my tools for work, right , the  entry point for me to learn about cultures was through the arts. So I came to the United States and then , I did musical theater first. And then ended up going to grad school in Boston. And I did intercultural relations with the focusing arts for social change. Because as an immigrant, when I moved here, you became quite apparent that I was a very privileged immigrant, like who moves here as an immigrant to study the arts. First of all second you know, the color of my skin was very apparent because even though my accent was much stronger when I moved here 17 years ago I've never really received the immigrant treatment. And I know it's been attributed to the color of my skin. You know, people would always just like, Oh, where in Europe are you from? And just place me, you know, their countries. I'm like, I'm not from Europe you know, from Brazil, but that whole experience gave me the sense of responsibility. And so the arts for social change,  that was like , , the first entry point for me to be able to do something like I want to use the arts to do something good in the world. And so I started doing that and I trained with a Busta ball and I did a lot of theater for the oppressed work with immigrants first in,  the Boston area when I was there. And so in doing this work, you know, theater is as service, well would say like the art of looking at ourselves. The art of looking at human actions. And , it served me so much and I,  tell people when I  added the wellness aspect to my career, I always tell everyone that theater was my yoga. Because when we talk about yoga, yoga is the union of body mind. And so that for me was theater, right? Where   the tools of the actor. My body, my imagination, my voice is voice teacher. So for the longest time doing theater, whether it was scripted or improvised whatever format. Or applied like I do now. It's, been about that, understanding who we are, understanding where he came from and where we're going. And then also having that creative aspect of like, if you don't like where you're going, then change it. Right. Be able to use theater. Not just as a mirror, like Shakespeare would say, right, theater is a mirror, but as a  magical mirror, when you look at the image, you don't, if you don't like the image, then you transform that image. And then when you transform it, like rehearsing for future actions, and then we can change our story. So becoming aware of being the protagonist of our own lives. And, but also understanding that at many times we're playing the role of the antagonist in other people's stories. And so it's just.  This big for me self-reflective arts that also empowers me to manage who I am and my thoughts and my emotions and my behaviors, and then become responsible in the world. . In terms of taking actions and serving others. And so. One day in the middle of all this work still doing serving as the manager for arts integration in the school district. I decided to give myself a birthday gift and I went to a retreat, a meditation retreat in California. , just needed to get away for three days. Just a little gift for myself. I'm good for three days. And As I was in that meditation retreat, I had tried meditation, you know, through all the years with varying degrees of success. And then when I'm there and I started learning about just the language of , how they were using and talking about meditation. You know, understanding that we all have thoughts, many of them in fact, the estimates 60 to 80,000 thoughts a day. So we have thoughts, but we are not, our thoughts were to think or have thoughts and how I taught theater was very much aligned. , the idea that we play many roles in life, but we are not the roles we play where the player roles. And so I started making this connection like meditation in theater for me was like, yeah, , the art of looking at ourselves. Right. Meditation very much is that we become the observer of our thoughts and realize we're not our thoughts. So I'm observing myself. And theater gave me that other aspects that, yes, I'm observing myself, I'm observing human actions, but I'm also making choices and I'm transforming and, , acting in the world. So there was that combination. And so one thing led to another and I'm like, of course I can just read a book being who I am. I can just like, I'm going to buy a book about meditation and rate. No, I have to find a teacher training course,

Katherine: Okay.

Maria: but I do, I think also a lifelong learner and I love being a student, you know, I love to teach. But I also love to learn. and for me that's , the best way to learn is to teach in many ways. So I became a certified meditation teacher, and then I started combining that with my theater work. And then that led me to, , looking at the tool of the actor of the physical body, as well as something like to,  incorporate, because there is no separation between body and mind. It's like, , we talk about just body mind now. Right? As one thing, how. One effected the other is it's part of the same thing. And so that's when I discovered other , traditions from the East that  I've incorporated in my lifestyle. And then it started to teach as well, which is your Veda, which stands for science of life comes from India saying tradition of yoga and meditation and the Vedas. So something that's been around for 6,000 years.  For me it,  provided A lifestyle that's been really helpful. I guess we become aware of ourselves through theater or meditation. Like, , being able to consciously take care of this body. That's becoming aware and being realized in the world you know, meditation provided that additional tool. And so I love just to combine all of that. So I call it like the art of self care,  the idea of radical self-care to be able to then yeah. Look at ourselves and look at human actions. And for me, all of those things combined are equal the art of social change. And so I'm like going back full circle,  go back to on a beat, the change you wanted to see in the world and , all of those things. So I know I landed a loop and it's a lot, but I can talk about this forever

Amanda: It's so beautiful.

Katherine: I think you explained it in a systemic way, which I know a lot of artists and it takes a while to understand all the complexity and the different ways in which their work is working. And.   I've known you for a number of years and I don't know whether you've ever explained it that well. So he knew Warren, just all in one shot. It really makes sense. And this is what we're hoping for our listeners. Many of them have not had experiences with some of the things that you're talking about. And you're telling us your portal really, to wanting to be a teacher. Was that retreat. And , I just want to say, we're going to talk about students here in this next question, but these kinds of things are open to all just in our area, really to get that first exposure. If you're at all curious about any of the things we're talking about, and we will link of course, to all of Maria's resources to find out more. But for our next question, I do want to get back to students because we're talking, we're all curious, and we love to be continuous students. So here at SCF, we have students with various backgrounds in life experience. I know, they'd love to get some advice from someone as accomplished as yourself in art. It's not enough to have the talent. There's a whole business side. , in quotes art career. What advice do you have for our students here, or really anybody that's striving to make these changes and and make a living on it.

Maria: Yes, that's a great question. You know, of course there were moments in my life where I thought about I'm going to make my life as a performer. I'm in. I did, I definitely had , experience being a performer and getting paid to be a performer. But For me, you know, like as many,  artists , like when you're studying and getting your diplomas and all this, and you start auditioning, you need to place a lot of people. Talk about getting a day job as well to  help you continue your career and for additions. And I always said that I wanted my day job, but I'm like, okay, I can get a day job. And I understand that there's a need to do that, but I want my day job to be related to my art form or all of my art forms. So even when I was doing my conservatory program, I did the work study program there. And so I wanted to learn. Every aspect related to theater. So I learn how to soul. I was in the costume department working for a while, and then I worked in lights and assistant stage manager, like all of the aspects , everything that I could learn, even though , my goal was to be performing it, to be on stage. I wanted to learn about everything. And so that gave me this holistic view of also of the art form and opened up other avenues. So  early on that was asked , to start teaching. And so theater and education also was you know, the moment I moved from New York to Boston I was asked to teach in some programs and . With the edit aspect that I can speak other languages as well. You know, that was always a plus in the work that I do to be able to teach theater whether it's a bilingual class or entirely in Spanish, bring some Portuguese in it. That's been really helpful as well. To reach more students and more people. So I think  that's been a big part of I think that has added to my career here in the West and the applied to theater and education theater. World. But I'd say explore every little aspect of your art form or , what do you want to do now?  I definitely have jobs in arts organizations and I worked in a variety of locations . And then when I decided to leave and go on my own and open my own LLC, you know, everything that I've learned has helped me because now I have to do the administrative part of my business. Like I'm the marketing, I have to do my own marketing. I have to do all of these other parts. And I discovered that, , I can apply my career Tivity and so many other areas as well. So , every now and then I'm asked to do marketing for some other people, as they see how I do it for myself. And I'm like, I didn't go to a school, like a communication school. I'm not a journalist. I'm not, but , as an actor, as a writer, Either artists, I developed skills  and I've used what I know. And you know, artists are so resourceful and I think it doesn't matter which direction you take later on. We learn how to be resourceful and resilient and you can apply that across the board. So I'd say never stop learning and try it all just experience. You never know what you're going to be interested in at the end. And one thing will lead to another.

Katherine: I love seeing my students at Publix and. You know, always be yourself. Cause when you see your students out in the world, you know, and I tell them that the skills they're building, working at Publix are gonna serve them no matter what, I mean, my waitressing jobs and everything that I've done. In service to become who I am, has been extremely useful. So I love that you mentioned that, and especially now that you're running the whole show, you really do have to pull in some of those experiences you had with the smaller arts organizations or volunteering or any of the jobs you've ever had. I love,  that. It all means something in the end. 

Maria: never know. Sometimes you'll take a job that you're like, I don't see the connection here, but maybe it's through that job that you're going to meet somebody who will make a connection for you. You really never know.

Katherine: And that's a very hopeful message, especially right now for our students. So thank you for that. 

Amanda: And I appreciate it because one of the things with our theater students like if you're in theater with us here, you really have to do all aspects, especially if you're on. Scholarship and, you know, you got to get over in a screw gun and run stage management. And so it's so. Positive for our students to hear that from such a successful artist, because you've had such a wide range of experiences and I will add one thing. I love the way that you described what you do. When I was in grad school. I remember someone explaining what, getting a graduate. Degree meant. And they said to be a master. And I really think of you as a master teacher and the artist, is that not only can you do the work and experience the work, but you can explain it. , so you have all of those pieces because there's many people who can do, but , they can't then serve it up as beautifully as you did.   This idea of what is it to be a master of , a degree or have a specific art form. So with that, I'm curious, you touched on it. What was the inspiration to go out on your own and start your own company? And , I know you,  touched on theater of the oppressed too, but for many of our audience members, because I've been in the Sarasota community a long time with theater, and I don't think we've had. Someone as accomplished specifically, I could be wrong. I'm sorry, Sarasota. But that really has done, , the hands on work. , I've worked with people who worked with, but, you know, have always been impressed with it and, , read the work of Augusta BOL, but again, to have worked with him. And so if you could touch on both of those things 

Maria: absolutely. So I'll start with you if the past, because that's,  what started everything for me in many ways. So , for those who are listening and are not familiar with the, of the oppressed, , it's a body of work that was created by Augusta Boyle, who was the Brazilian theater director. He started that in the seventies when Brazil was still under military dictatorship. And what was happening was just, you know, oppression from the government to the people, censorship for the arts. In a lot of other things, people being arrested and tortured. He was a theater artist there. He was doing theater at the time there. So just like many, many other people, he was arrested in portrait and ended up leaving Brazil. And he  saw that oppression meant monologue. And there were like, it was just the government oppressing the people and not allowing for the people to speak their minds or what they wanted. So his mission was like to reinstate dialogue. We have to reinstate dialogue. We have to talk. And   you read his main book, which is the first book he wrote theater for your past, he does a whole study on the history of theater, how everything started. So for him , he wanted to go back to the very beginning when people in small tribes were gathering and sharing the role of telling the story and watching the story and performing the story. So,  theater was made from the people by the people, to the people. And then you started having , the birth of the first cities. And then you started seeing how theaters started to show that division as well. And like, you have some people that are more important than others, the birth of the protagonist and , the masses or the choir. So like, depending on where you were in the times. And then, , if you look at the Greek tragedies, no matter how hard the. Protect, this tried would always end in tragedy. There's just like, so kind of like reinforcing , in a way. And to the,  mass and the people, making them just pure observers and passive observers of what was happening on stage. So Blau didn't like the idea of becoming just a passive observer.  Spectator, right? So that's why he changed the term spectator to SPECT actor. So we,  take turns in observing. An action that's happening that onstage or in the world, but we also take turns acting. So he developed this theater technique that you can go on stage as an audience member, as a spectator and become an actor. So you're respect actor, and you can intervene and change the outcome of the scene. So there are different. Techniques within the umbrella theater request. But my,  whole entry point on that, and I did study him in grad school and he was still alive at the time. And I got to train with him a couple of times and I always feel like it's interesting. Cause I trained with  in the United States and not in Brazil, even though he was from Brazil and I was from Brazil, but I had a very special connection with him while I trained with him and the us.  We could speak Portuguese together. I would email him when I was writing my thesis and he would respond within 24 hours, which was pretty amazing to me. I was able to just do like ride my thesis while he was alive and  have that interaction with him. And I always felt in many ways, he was like , the godfather , or like a grandfather figure for me , in this work. So I, . Embraced the idea of being the SPECT actor. And so , moving forward , I'm managing arts integration for the school district. And fantastic mission that I  still very much believe in I'm a part of and,  all of that. But it was  very much administrative work  I was, , behind a desk and yes, very important. I saw myself as like the bridge to make that work happen and it's necessary. It's important, but . That's when I started also learning some other techniques more on the meditation world and I are Veda and I wanted to be more active in bring that back to like my role of becoming again, a teaching artist, which I served as for years. So while  I've had some opportunities to work with teachers and students, most of my time was dedicated to administrative work related to the arts and the art programs that were happening. So I wanted to be more active and that's when I said, but I want to combine this and this and this and this. I'm like, I don't see where I can do this. I'm going to create my own. I'm going to create my own. Business and collaborate with everyone. , and  that's what I did. And it takes a while to do that. And it's definitely not easy  it's a big transition. I could go from a stable job with, , a paycheck and benefits and like that stability to, okay, let's figure this out and just build it , on your own. And and I was doing this for   maybe like seven, eight months when the pandemic hit. And so that transition that everybody felt in the beginning of like now I'm working from home, I was already working from home. So I felt last affected in the beginning. I was already creating opportunities for me to. , have like online courses.  Not that I felt that I was ahead of the game at all. In fact, then I felt like I was ready to do this, but now the whole online world is so saturated. I don't think people want this right now.  But I feel like I'm finally getting to a point where I never regretted this by any means, but I'm finally at a point where I can  breathe easily and  there's always work happening. It's just like, you have to manage yourself in a different way. You manage your business in a different way. Cause you'd do some times large contracts here and there and you have to, , budget in a completely different way. So there's a lot of learning that's happening as well in that area. But it is possible. And I just love the freedom of. Creating my own schedule and coming up with a new project that I want to work on, I get excited about the creative process of that, but then I also have to do all of the backend part of it. . The marketing and setting up the class and how to do, and, , contact people and all of that, which.  , if I had not done all the work that I've done before, and we're all , the administrative order that had done before for a different organizations as well, it would be harder. So I feel like it all combines perfectly and I'm really happy to be doing what I'm doing and happy to collaborate with everyone. So I still collaborate with the school district as well. I still go now, but I now serve more as a teaching artists working more directly with teachers and students.

Amanda: Wow. It's so inspiring. 

Katherine: It is. It is 

Amanda: awesome. 

Katherine: And it's,  time for us to take a  break because when we come back, , we want to talk a little bit more about how you're balancing life and work in the , middle to end of a pandemic. So we'll be right back after this break. 

Amanda: Welcome back to the Suncoast culture club podcast. Where today we are visiting with local arts superstar, Maria Shedler Lucera so. Maria. Tell us what the last year has been like and how you have adapted with the pandemic and has any creativity come out of this very challenging time for the world? Cause we're all,  in it together.

Maria: Yes.  I,  want to say that I am so grateful to the tools that I have been learning in the last couple of years from theater to meditation to I Veda, because I feel like. I was able to use all these tools to keep myself sane and balanced in the middle of everything. It's very easy when we face ourselves with something major like this  to react. And I saw that happening around me so much from friends and families and,  everybody, you know, close and far away , a lot of stress and fear and, , the fear of the unknown , if nothing else, I think the arts have prepared a lot for this, just to be comfortable with the unknown, to be , okay. With that. And we don't know what's going to happen, but we can. Be in the present moment and build on it. , , when we  teach theater, I'm like, okay, you're going to get out of your comfort zone here. . Or we're going to do an exercise or this, I never really liked the term getting out of your comfort zone much. Because nobody wants to be uncomfortable. I cool wants to be uncle.  I've always used a more active  Way to say that. So instead of telling people, okay, we're going to get out our comfort zone here. We're going to step into our growth zone because that's really what we're doing. But like, when we say that way, you feel like you're more in charge of it because the unknown and certainties you're,  already, like,  it's so hard and , people deal differently with like losing control or not being in control of things. And the pandemic certainly made everybody feel like we are not controlling anything. And so to look at it, well, I am in control of my growth zone. I can step into this.  Challenge now and figure something out and like, what am I going to do next? I was in the process of already creating some online courses for my business. , but then, because the whole world shifted online so quickly.  I didn't want to overwhelm people even more. I'm like, Hey, let's  do this course do this course or that course. So I waited a little bit. I wanted to like a sass, take a moment to like, see what was happening. And I want to just figure out a way to serve people and serve others. In a way that was not overwhelming. So I created a series of videos, just like free videos. I started there. There were short videos and I just started posting them on my social media. They're all on my website as well. And just talking about different little aspects, whether they were about theater or about meditation or veda, just like little moments, I call those words and just like really short. A as I was doing this, I was learning also about how to use the camera and just record myself and,  bring this content to the world. So there was that learning part of it as well. That kind of, you learn on the go, you'll learn as you're doing it. , I was not , like a film editor before, and I had to learn how to do basic things, but I had to learn how to do my own  , film editing.  And so just like learning that work and try to put some. Content out there that I thought would be helpful for other people. And then at some point, too, when I felt like there was more of an opening and an opportunity than offer the same classes that I used to offer in person, I transfer them online. And while a lot of them are absolutely possible. Some had to be modified and,  we find ways to make it work. One aspect that I really enjoyed that I welcomed with the whole online thing is that people from other parts of the world were able to. Take advantage of this opportunity. So I had people joining my classes from other States. And so that was,  neat. That was a neat opportunity to connect. And the other thing is, as a,  performer, I was able to reconnect with an old troop that I was a part of and the Boston area who specifically performs playback theater, which is another form of social theater. And if you're not familiar, the idea is like, . Somebody from the audience, a teller will tell a story and then the actors on stage will play that story back. So it's  improvised because it's on the spot, bud. We're following a story and there are short forms and long forms, just like in regular improv. But it serves a purpose of more like social healing. I know the idea of like honoring each other's stories and,   I'm honoring somebody's stories by playing that story back on stage and also serving the purpose of dialogue. So I was able to reconnect with my former playback troop as well during this whole thing, because , I was also looking for my own creative outlet and , a way to keep doing some work as a performer. And then learning how to use the camera. Also now as another player. And so as we started playing virtually, like  we're not on stage where in our own living rooms, How do we do that? , yes, we see each other's faces, but even being able to use our hands and like disappear from the screen and just show hands and put your feet up in the air or whatever you needed to do, but to just play with that idea of like what you can see or what you can hear and not see. So I've welcomed that challenge of just like, okay, now looking at the camera. As another player. So we're playing with a camera as well as each other when you see each other or when you hear each other. So that's been interesting to explore. I feel like when we are able to come back to more live interactions, I think that some part of this will still remain. , I think we will see more of a hybrid. World. , I'm not going to move back up North to rejoin the troop, but whenever the troop wants to do virtual shows I can join them and I'll be able to do this. So that's,  been an interesting thing that I've welcomed. And, just to summarize, I think for me, . This pandemic allow the opportunity for me to walk my talk. So everything that I've been teaching in wellness and meditation and theater about being the protagonist of your life, about being in the present moment, not identifying with your thoughts, whether they are fear of the unknown or,  whatever it is, is just practicing that. And yes, some days I was more successful than others, of course, but it's the opportunity to walk the talk. 

Amanda: Right. , put all the techniques to the test, you know, and I love what you said because one of the things with the pandemic that I think is occurring and that I think will remain that I love about these workshops or these virtual theater experiences. Is that for those that can't go to theater, for whatever reason, you know, physical, emotional health, , when the world really is vaccinated and opens back up, I think there is going to be a whole other leg of this type of theater, healing workshops. I know many people in town have been doing that over the summer, and I think that's a piece that will keep so, wow.  busy in the pandemic. I love it. 

Katherine: I love what you were saying about innovating with video. And I just have to say that one of the places I'm seeing this happen is on Tik TOK. The way that young people are learning to put their hands up, and then they put a little other photograph on that, or they're pointing to things, and I'm just thinking, how did you guys learn to edit? It seems like they do it in an afternoon. Then all of a sudden  they posted a hundred videos and I'm like, wow. I think the kids are going to be okay when I watch tick tock, you know, not to mention the animal videos, it's like, I want to teach a class I'm telling you, but then I realized the class could probably teach me about how to do the videos on Tik TOK. So  , I have a pretty big question for you. I want you to tell us about your wildest dreams for art education and integration in the future. 

Maria: Oh, I know. Great question. . , yes, I can visualize the,  future. And I think for me right now would be  I love what I'm doing. I love the connections from doing interested in learning more, gaining more experience in doing what I'm doing and then reaching more people. So for me, would be to reach a larger audience whether it is as a speaker or as a teacher or through videos or what any  like multimedia format. I mean, I welcome any way to,  have that, but. I feel like what  I am able to them my life my immediate circle, what I've been testing and trying and doing and teaching you know, I trust and I believe that can be helpful to other people. So. In a broader sense, you know, like when you think of our purpose in life, , our reason , for being here I always saw myself as a bridge. , as an immigrant was also very easy for me to make that connection, whether I was like translating or just, , whether it's the culture that I'm translating or the actual language that I'm translating. to be a bridge. And so for me in many ways, it's, , the bridge to ourselves, it's just like, you know who we are and , where we're come from and where we're going which we do through theater, meditation, Arvada, all of those things. We can use those tools. To do that to , empower ourselves, you know, we say knowledge is power. So knowledge about ourselves is self-empowerment so, Oh, I want that for myself. I want that for my kids. I want that for the world. So I would love to see that spread. So for theater, I want that for all students. I want everybody to have access to these tools. And so, , I'm really happy that I've been able to partner as a teaching artist with a man weasel locally. And they're also shifting because, you know, we haven't really had school shows. We can take kids to the manway. So right now, so they've been, , innovating their own as well, and to be able to participate, , and create videos for them as well, so that those leaders can be used in classrooms has been really great. And then , through the generosity of their own foundation, they're the venue, the foundation to be able to bring this work to students and teachers for free this year entirely free. So at any point during the school year, if any teacher, any classroom wants to have me zoom into the classroom to do a live zoom experience or anything like that. As well as other teaching artists that they work with, they can do that for free, which is awesome. And then as the van Wezel will supports us as teaching artists. Cause we do get paid to do this work, you know, students and teachers have access to that work for free, which is wonderful. so grateful that we have people in our community , the donors that can make this work possible because it is so important. So I would love to just See this spread more and more. So I think that's , my wildest dream is that every,  school, every,  teacher, everybody will have access to this work and these tools and then they can decide how to use those tools , in, no, I'm not thinking that I'm bringing them the knowledge as well.  I want to just facilitate their experiences and I'm going to show some tools that I've been using that I identify with. But.  I can see that happening more. So want to see it as growing, beyond our community here. Which, , I'm so grateful for. Alrighty. , so many wonderful things happening here, Sarasota, Manatee.  

Katherine: Right. Augment. And,  I think as we get wiser and we don't want to say older, but we move through these skillsets. We've all been talking about. We really do learn to enable others to do the work, to teach them wholeheartedly. So that,  it's not just about us being able to really explain things well or bring people on board, but we've done that. And that's how we spread our network. I mean, viral is a bad thing, but if we can. Go viral with this message and,  get it to the national platform or go from,  local to regional national. 

Maria: Yeah, 

Katherine: So I love that you, you wouldn't really do anything radically different. You just want what you're 

 Maria: Disseminate , it's the accessibility to this work, which we can do  right now without donors,  making this possible. And so that's really what I would like to just see going that role. Now, of course, along,  

Katherine: Right. And hopefully people like us will be creating content for people like us  right. Interconnection, right. Interconnected, this inter interdependence. Right. 

Amanda: Yeah. And what you all said too. , I think it's so true. We're so lucky on the Suncoast here, because we do have a community and donors and people that believe in this work and it is really this sort of work that creates the change. But I love what you say about accessibility because that's the piece and the bridge, right. That often is missing for all of those young students and even into the college level and beyond even those adults out there that are wondering about to be able to have this kind of work available to them is so important versus thinking it's something for either,  the eccentric or the privilege or whatever. It's really not. It's really the building blocks. So so Maria, we're going to shift a little bit. We have something at the Suncoast culture club where we do a rapid fire segment. And we're going to ask you some questions and you give us the answer that pops into your mind. The fun section you say, Catherine is, is fun with it. I'll I'll try to do my best. so we are we ready? 

Maria: Yes. 

Amanda: dancing or break dancing, 

Katherine: motto or mantra, 

Maria: mantra,

Amanda: improv comedy or Shakespearean tragedy,     

Maria: Hmm. My carport 

Katherine: supper club or speakeasy? 

  Maria: I would say something really low. I sing anything and everything like whether it's thinking well or not, that's another thing, but I, you know what, 

Katherine:  in Sarasota.  Or just in our region, Maria, in our region, don't let me limit you please. 

Maria: Okay. I love anything Asian food. So whether it's space station or all you can eat, sushi is similar. Like I just like give me all the Asian food.

 Amanda: Oh, coffee served me up there. But I would say 


Katherine: Congratulations, Maria. You are now officially a part of the club. Let's say someone to follow you and keep up with your work. Where would they go? And where can we find you in this virtual Suncoast world of ours?

Maria: And so the easiest way would probably go to my website. And in there you will have access to links, to other projects I'm working on, whether it's through the van ways or or the social media for the business that you can follow me. So the website is Tamika, 

Amanda: Perfect. And we'll put all those links into our show notes. It'll be connected to this podcast. So listeners can go to your website to find those links. Maria, we're so grateful for all that you give to the Suncoast community, and we can't wait to see what you do next. Thank you for being an artist and a healer, and now a member of our club. Thank you so much.

maria-schaedler-luera_1_01-25-2021_110445: lovely 

Maria: and so much fun. 

maria-schaedler-luera_1_01-25-2021_110445: Thank you.

Katherine: excuse to see your face. so much for being with us.

Maria: Thank you.