Collection Facts

Extent: 
30 items
Dates of Original: 
1972 - 2019
Collection Owner:
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

Traci Vedder Schuster is a local artist from Fayetteville, NY. She was born at Griffiss Air Force Base Hospital in Rome, NY on December 15, 1954. Her father was in the reserves and stationed in Japan when she was born, while her mom and older brother remained in Fayetteville until he returned from his assignment. The Vedder family continued to grow. Two younger sisters and an additional brother came along, making the family very lively and full of artistic subject matter. Traci’s dad taught Social Studies and coached at Fayettteville Manlius High School, while her mom began driving a school bus for the same district. While a student at Fayetteville Manlius High School, Traci studied art under the direction of local artistic legend Gordon F. Muck, graduating in 1973. Her intention was to go to college and receive a degree in Art Education, but somehow life got ahead of her. She dropped out after a few years to work full time, as her husband John continued his education. Traci continued to paint, however, and throughout her life she has developed a style based upon natural themes, beloved family objects, her Aunt Monica’s handmade stencils, and anything else that “works” in a painting. Her approach is unconventional. She starts a painting without prior knowledge of what it will be, waiting for the subject to become “uncovered” by a process of overpainting and mixing various mediums to convey how everything is connected, even mediums for artistic expression. She credits her style to the fact that she has had little direction for her art since she left Buffalo State College in 1976.

Traci has been married to her husband John for 45 years. They have lived most of their married life in Morrisville, NY, and have also resided in Buffalo, West Seneca, Chicago, Cazenovia and Haimhausen Germany. The couple has two married children, as well as four grandchildren. Traci has worked as a waitress, bookseller, picture framer, librarian, social worker, childcare worker, gardener, as well as been a volunteer for various organizations linked to the communities in which she has lived. She always had a place at her table for budding young artists and invited them into her home frequently. She also taught art at the Morrisville Summer Recreation Program for several years. Besides exhibiting at various libraries in the Central New York area, Traci was the Exhibits Coordinator for New Woodstock Free Library. She was responsible for soliciting, assisting and/or creating various exhibits at the library for three years, bringing in talented local artists, some of whom are already featured in the New Woodstock Free Library Collection on the New York Heritage web site. Traci was able to obtain additional funding through grants to have professional photographers photograph and digitize local artists works and share them to the New York Heritage website as well. In September 2020, she left left her position at the library and is presently retired.

This quote from Agnes Martin says it best for Traci. “Devotion to life is a feeling. Art work is made with this feeling, and response to art work is exactly this same feeling. This feeling of devotion literally carries us through life, past all distractions and pitfalls to a perfect awareness of life, to measureless happiness and perfection.”

Scope of Collection

This collection contains 30 paintings by Traci Vedder Schuster, an artist from Fayetteville, NY. The artwork in this collection features mixed media, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, often with an abstract approach.