Rhythm & Spirit: Where Music Meets Spirit

Join us for the closing reception of this beautiful exhibit curated by our beloved founder, Holly Schneider. Drawn to the work of Susan Matthews because of the way she has been able to capture the spirit of the people of Cuba and the rich tradition of Rumba,  Holly knew these pieces would fit beautifully into Studio Grand. This was an opportunity for Holly to visually capture and pair her passion for visual arts and deep love for Afro-Caribbean music and traditions.

Sue met with Holly twice. One of those opportunities was when Holly and Amy Lacour visited Sue at her artist studio. While there, Holly fell in love with the paintings Sue had done of the Cuban rumberos. Sue, having studied with Rumba percussionist over many years in Cuba, was able to share her passion for drumming with Holly who was also a drummer, particularly of the Puerto Rican traditional music, Bomba.


About Susan Matthews

A painter and percussionist from Oakland, California. Susan's current paintings are based on experiences in traditional communities of Cuba and Niger. She has traveled to Cuba often since 1995 to study music and folklore. Inspired by the flourishing traditions on the island, she has done an extensive series of paintings on the subject of folkloric music and dance.

In the summer of 2004 Susan spent three weeks in Niger, West Africa. She was impressed by the beauty and energy of the people she met, and from snap shots she created a series of gilded portraits of Hausa and Fulani farmers and herdsmen from the Sahel, just south of the Sahara. Because of their formal, idealized poses and gold, copper and silver leaf backgrounds, the portraits recall the Byzantine icons of Russia and Greece.

Susan has a BFA from UC Berkeley, and an MFA from San Francisco State University. Her work has been exhibited throughout the greater Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Havana. She teaches Drawing and Painting at the College of San Mateo, and at Maybeck High School in Berkeley. She is a member of an all female vocal and percussion ensemble called Ojala.