Erika Lawlor Schmidt is a visual and performance artist whose work is deeply shaped by investigations into Eastern philosophy and Indian mysticism. She received her early dance training in ballet and theatrical dance forms in Evanston, Illinois with the faculty at Giordano Studios. Schmidt received her B.F.A. from the University of South Florida in Tampa followed by post-baccalaureate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her M.F.A. from the University of South Florida, where she founded Vital Spark Performance Group, an interdisciplinary performance art ensemble that has traveled to major U.S. cities and throughout Europe.
Erika relocated to Vermont in 2008 with her husband Gary, a pianist and composer. Since then she has produced numerous multimedia dance projects throughout the state. She currently teaches at CCV and Stone Valley Arts in Poultney. Erika founded DanceFest Vermont! a biennial event that has been produced at the Barre Opera House and Stowe Performing Arts Center in 2014 and in 2016 at Castleton University.
Erika has been guest artist at the Honghua School in Guangham, China, The Anderson House: Harvard Club in Wash. D.C.,San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont, The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, Elon University, Elon, N.C., GraphicStudio at the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL., She has been awarded numerous commissions acknowledging her unique approach to art and performance including projects for international dance festivals : Jazz World Congress in Chicago,Illinois, and in Prague, Czech Republic (1999); Cecena, Italy (2001); and Barcelona, Spain (2006