Though best known for her crane paintings, Clare Cooley is a visionary artist who paints everything from insects to outer space, classic to modern.  She also skate dances, plays the flute, writes, and performs--all as a contemplative practice.  Clare Cooley has dedicated her life work--her art--to inspiring in others a life of harmony and balance.  The unifying purpose of all that she does is to open hearts, celebrate community, and foster creative reverie.  She does this by sharing her artistic essence through collaborative performance art.

Clare Cooley has over 400 paintings, drawings and etchings in
"I respect the courage to create more than any manifestations of creativity."
    – Clare Cooley
her portfolio, which have been exhibited in galleries and world-class restaurants such as Domain Chandon and Auberge du Soleil.  Her art has appeared in “Accent On Design,”the juried section of the International Gift Show, San Francisco.  Clare’s art has been featured on the cover of Red Rose Catalog as well as in Nordstrom department stores.  Her work has been exhibited in the corporate headquarters of Hewlett Packard and Chevron, and is in the permanent collection of the Natural World Museum of Art, in the Presidio, San Francisco.  Clare Cooley has also led art demonstrations as part of the crane exhibit at the Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Museum in San Francisco.

She designed and built her sanctuary/studio, and created most of its furnishings, all of which were showcased on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Artist Studio Tours.

Clare Cooley designed and taught an eclectic arts curriculum titled, “Dancing into the Arts.” in the public schools (elementary, junior high, high schools) as an Artist in Residence for the Board of Education.  She has also taught similar curricula at universities, mental hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers, juvenile delinquent homes, crisis shelters, retreats, and in trainings for nurses, therapists, and teachers. 

Clare Cooley’s first dance performance was at a gallery opening interpreting the paintings.  She went on to dance children’s stories and poetry.

The published work of Clare Cooley includes the Book of Cranes, which she wrote, illustrated, and designed.  She has held readings of her life prose stories and poetry on Minnesota public radio and at Sonoma State University, California.  Ms. Cooley has been interviewed on public television’s, “Woman of Vision,” as well as the University of California Berkeley’s radio program on spirituality. 

Clare Cooley conceived, directed, and performed in a Napa Valley Arts Council Performance Art festival called “Freedom Flight,” which included over 90 artists.  The event was dedicated to world peace and featured a massive cluster of one thousand origami cranes at the center of the Yountville Community Hall.  Children from the Napa Valley School District, after a lesson and demonstration by Clare Cooley, made the origami cranes.  The cranes were then strung and assembled by the senior citizens of Napa Valley.  The audience was invited to paint their own colorful wings on white silk, which were then lifted high above the audience in the hall, like rows of laundry in heaven.  The hall was fully decorated with paintings, drawings, and sculpture—all relating to freedom and flight. 

The “Freedom Flight” performance began with a reading of the dedication to world peace by a young child.  Accompanied by live music, the first dance piece was Clare Cooley and the children crawling out in white silk tubes as caterpillars to the music of the blues, then wiggling around as cocoons to jazz, and finally bursting out of the white silk cocoon to fly around the hall as butterflies to the music of rock and roll.  The audience was then asked to put on the wings they had painted—people of all ages, and all walks of life, from Robert Mondavi to the elders of Napa Valley—all danced joyously together for world peace!

Clare Cooley performed at Theatre Artaud, in San Francisco, dancing on skates to Stravinsky’s Nutcracker Suite.  She also skate danced at Fort Mason at “Give Peace a Dance.”

Clare Cooley began creating her Pieces of Peace Performance in 2004 at Mill Valley Middle School when her son Bodhi asked her to do an art project with his art class.  Clare chose the focus of the project as peace because, as she states, “There is nothing the world needs more.  If we have peace we can address all the other issues such as natural disaster relief, poverty, illness, pollution, the elderly, education, and so much more.  Besides the moral issues, being engaged in war requires an enormous commitment of resources that might otherwise be made available for humane purposes.” 

Clare Cooley is continuing to expand the Pieces of Peace project, which she describes as an opportunity for all its participants to reflect on peace, which in itself increases peace in the world.


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