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Barbara virtual.jpg

Barbara, a talented interdisciplinary artist, began drawing & painting in elementary school. Her teen years focused on portrait painting & studying with the National Ballet Company of Canada.   While completing her MFA degree in visual arts & art history from Carnegie Mellon University, she  continued a career in performing arts as a choreographer and a dancer — this included several films.   She moved to St. Louis from the East Coast in 1970 to work for Katherine Dunham as artist-in-residence at SIUE.  For decades, she has both taught & worked in museums.  In 2009 she founded the Urban Museum Collaborative.  Several of her most recent projects include guest curator  for the exhibit What’s Past is Prologue: A House Brimming  with Stories for the Field Museum & a children's book for the Campbell Museum House, The Boy Who Lived at the Top of the House, which she wrote & illustrated.

“On the cusp of 80 & having just completed another museum project . . . I feel this is a turning point . . . a time to sort out projects — many of which were put on back burners — investigate possibilities & move into the future once again.   What sustains me now & in the past is my creative work as a writer & an artist & my  desire to make a difference.  It has been enormously gratifying to engage & enliven students . . . to help them experience success so they know that they can succeed.  Similarly, when working with teachers, the goal was always, to not only convey content, but to provide tools to inspire students, especially reluctant learners.”

A few of the numerous projects Barbara has developed through the years courtesy of the artist:
When she was a 17 year old student in
high school, this painting was selected
in juried competition for adults 
1964 Dancer in an award winning film 
"Book of Days" 1999 - 2000
1990s "Framing Nature"
2012  "It's Just Oh"  
2006 "Namaste" 
1991 From "Red Series"

2018 Wrote & illustrated for Campbell Museum House


2000 "Paper Dolls Series"
2021 Untitled
2016, Guest Curator, Field House Museum   
A House Brimming with Stories 
Artwork Copyright Barbara Decker
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