Betty Vera grew up in the Midwest and studied art at Southern Illinois University before graduating from The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore with a B.F.A. in drawing and painting. She went on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design in New York. Merging painting and fiber art, she began combining techniques to create two-dimensional art textiles.
While earning her M.F.A. in Studio Art at Montclair State University, she expanded her studio practices into sculpture (and was named Outstanding Graduate Sculpture Student) as well as digital weaving technology. She studied Jacquard weaving at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles as well as The Jacquard Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Vera’s work is in corporate and private collections and has been exhibited widely in galleries, museums, and art centers around the country. It has been featured in American Craft, Fiberarts, Surface Design, Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot, and Interiors magazines, as well as several editions of the Fiberarts Design Book; Marypaul Yates’ Fabrics: A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects; and Fiber Art Today by Carol K. Russell.
A former art book editor, Vera worked as a weaver in the Michelle Lester Studio in New York and for nearly twenty years maintained her own studio on Union Square. She has taught at Montclair State University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as intensive workshops at the Society for Contemporary Craft, in Pittsburgh; Penland School of Crafts; Peters Valley School of Craft; and Harrisville Designs. She has led workshops for fiber guilds nationwide, and at conferences including HGA Convergence, the Mid Atlantic Fiber Association, Intermountain Weavers, New England Weavers’ Seminar, Contemporary Handweavers of Texas, and the Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference.
The Empire State Crafts Alliance twice recognized her work through its New York State Craft Artist grant program. She has won project and exhibition grants from Artists Space, and in 1997 she received a Ruth Chenven Foundation Award. She was granted two Special Opportunity Stipends from the New York Foundation for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts (2009 and 2010); and in 2010 she was awarded the Silvio and Eugenia Petrini Grant by the Handweavers Guild of America. In 2012 the New York Foundation for the Arts selected her for its NYFA MARK 12 artist career development program. Artist residencies include the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Betty Vera currently lives and maintains her studio in the northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.