About the Artist
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From the time she was small Barbara Schwarz was at home with color. As a child she carved wood, made puppets, and experimented with the arts.  But as life happens, Barbara grew up. 

A member of the Order of Preachers, Sister Barbara Schwarz , OP taught for 13 years in Catholic Junior High and High Schools. She was a Director of Religious Education for 14 years. 

In 1982 Barbara was afflicted with viral encephalitis. She attributes her recovery to the arts which helped her to regain coordination and verbal expression. In time she wrote poetry for each piece.  Her carved cross and candlesticks for the 750th anniversary of the Order were works of triumph.

Barbara has an MA in Scripture from Providence College and a certificate from Salve Regina's Institute for Healing through the Expressive Arts. She is a monthly preacher on Word.op.org

Her art is prolific in form and style. From clay and wood, to paint, and graphics on the computer. Her photography and video work have been found on YouTube for the Heritage Center of the Amityville Dominicans and on her own site. She also does publications for her Congregation. She was the first featured artist of the Dominican Institute for the Arts. 

Her art comes from a belief  that it is through the arts one can experience  the depths of one's heart. Her art is passionate and vibrant with color. Creativity is the manner of her preaching in the tradition of the Dominicans from the time of Fra Angelico. Her workshops on Art as Meditation are well received and alive with surprises. She regularly does workshops for the Centerlight Program on the Motherhouse grounds.

Global Sisters Reports Visual blog has published almost 100 of her paintings, photographs and poems. 

Barbara  has been the regular keynote speaker on the Arts as Preaching to the National Dominican High School Preaching Conference and the National Dominican College Preaching in Action Conference. She also does workshops at those conferences and local gatherings.

Barbara did the cover, art and graphic design for the book, Where the Pure Water Flows by Margaret Galiardi. She has also done graphics for numerous Dominican groups. Her art and photography have been published by the Global Sisters Reports in the visual life blog. and is in their commemorative e-book.


She has been webmaster of diartsop.org and past sites of the NE Dominican Sisters Vocation Directors. Her videos grace the Heritage Youtube website of the Amityville Dominicans.

Her mandala work has been recognized and has been published internationally in the Millionth Circle calendars of 2002 and 2003.  She has created works for conferences from art and installations to graphics works. 


Barbara was mentored in color and strappo by Harold Garde who was featured as a Master of Maine in its PBS Artist Series, nominated to be one of New England's notable artists.  His work graces the side of the Miami Museum of Art.

She is currently President and past Vice President of the Dominican Institute for the Arts , an international group of friars, sisters, and laity who work in the arts.. In 2006 she was awarded the Spirit of DIA award. In 2013 She was the recipient  of the Fra Angelico award.

The Fra Angelico Award is the highest honor that the Dominican Institute for the Arts bestows on one of its members. The Fra Angelico Award is presented every year to a DIA artist who exemplifies Fra Angelico’s dedication to furthering the Holy Preaching through art.

Criteria used for this designation:

  • the artist’s work is of the highest quality in his or her discipline
  • It is highly honored in artistic circles
  • the artist exemplifies the ideals of the DIA

"Barbara Schwarz uses the many gifts she has been given. She does this clearly, freely and liberally, sharing vision of art that recognizes the power of art to preach the gospel, comfort those in need and encourage us to be the best we can be. It is a joy for me to present the Fra Angelico award of the Dominican Institute for the Arts to a member whose hear is truly " Art a fire", our Sister Barbara Schwarz OP. - Mary Fran Gorman OP, President of the Dominican Institute for the Arts

Barbara continues to do creative retreat work and workshops to promote the arts in education. 
Barbara with her installation
at Turning Point on Block
Island. It overlooks a
labrynth she helped to build
Barbara  Schwarz, OP with one of her strappos at the juried show at St. James
Cathedrald text.
Barbara  Schwarz, OP as DIA Presidentd text.
Recipient of the 2013 Fra Angelico Award

www.artafiregallery.homestead.com