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Maria Ojascastro is passionate about using art for self-expression and encouraging change and awareness. She has been a professional visual artist for over 30 years and an educator for over 15 years. Through the Center of Creative Arts (COCA ), she has worked with numerous under-resourced students from the Ferguson-Florissant School District, St. Louis Public School District, and University City School District. Currently, Ojascastro teaches visual arts primarily to adults enrolled in the Stress Management Program at PALM Health, an integrative medicine wellness center. In Spring 2020, she co-founded Arts, Writing, and Expression Collaborative (AWE) to provide expressive art and writing opportunities to men transitioning out of the Criminal Justice System.
Her art was exhibited in January 2019, at the Presser Performing Arts Center in Mexico, MO, when she was the keynote speaker for an Arts and Aging Summit. In recent years, she exhibited in “Global Cultures" in the Manchester Arts Courtroom Gallery, an exhibition featuring 27 artists from multiple world cultures; “Breathe” in the Millstone Gallery at COCA, for a two-person show; and “Washington University Diversity Initiative” in Washington University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, an eight person exhibit presenting under represented populations. In August-September 2020, two of her recent artworks were exhibited in Art Saint Louis’ virtual exhibit, entitled “This Moment.” All work in this exhibit reflect upon or are otherwise inspired by the impact, significance, complexity, profundity and meaning of This Moment in our lives as individuals, as a community, as a nation.
Ojascastro received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, studied in Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, and completed the 270 class room hours of Anthropedia Well-Being Coach training.