Laurie Beth Zimmerman

Artist Laurie Beth Zuckerman creates altar installations and memory jugs using an eclectic blend of Catholic, Hispanic, African, and Haitian religious sensibilities. Laurie collects antique religious art and found-objects to construct her memorials, honoring the lives of her Russian-Jewish ancestors. Her enigmatic memory vessels are small-scale assemblages of natural materials and vintage memorabilia. Laurie designs her work for curated exhibitions in museums, universities, and galleries, from her home studio in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Raised in Los Angeles, Laurie completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts at the University of California at Berkeley in 1973. She earned graduate degrees in secondary art education and then painting at the University of Oregon in the mid-70s. Laurie headed north to Seattle in 1981 to further her award-winning painting career, but after moving east to Virginia in 1991, she experimented with her first three-dimensional home altar. Over the next seven years, Laurie filled her house with a dozen eclectic altars, and lectured about her assemblage work at Virginia Tech University and Chicago’s Elmhurst Art Museum. After relocating to Fort Collins in 1999, Laurie began exhibiting her altars and memory jugs in Colorado, New Mexico, and Virginia, and presenting gallery talks at these shows.

Laurie’s home altars and memory jugs have been profiled in three art books: A Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars, by Kay Turner, 1999, cited Laurie as one of 100 American women altar makers.  Lynne Perrella’s 2008 book, Art Making, Collections, and Obsessions: An Intimate Exploration of the Mixed-Media Work and Collections of 35 Artists, and her 2010 book, Art Making and Studio Spaces: Unleash Your Inner Artist: An Intimate Look at 31 Creative Workspaces. Laurie wrote a book on memory jugs, which she sells on CD in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Laurie is a drawing and painting instructor at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, and has been with the art department since 2000. Laurie also taught drawing and painting at Colorado State University, the Art Institute of Seattle, and Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. Laurie’s own drawings are inspired by her cast-iron bust of the Madonna, to be included in her future altar installations.

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