A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Why I Give

Erina Shibata

by Bree Witt


Hauling paintings up the stairs of the Columbus Drive Building, preparing for critiques, the solitude of studio work mixed with the camaraderie of classmates who are in the same boat. Alum Erina Shibata (Post-Bac 2014, MFA 2016) reflects on these memories fondly when discussing her time at SAIC.

Shibata, who was born in San Francisco, grew up in Tokyo, and attended school in New England, came to SAIC because of its reputation and interdisciplinary education. Living in Chicago—which she calls “a whole new world”—was almost equally enticing. By the time she graduated, Shibata found a community of artists who challenged the status quo and provoked new ideas. They were, and still are, a support system as she navigates her career as a painter.

Shibata, who is a 2016 Luminarts Fellowship recipient and whose monoprints are featured in Entropy: Chaos & Order at Brown University, attributes that bond with the community in helping her find success at SAIC and as an artist today. “There’s a lot of self-examination, self-investigation, finding your own voice,” she says. “It was not something I found on my own. It was every encounter, every conversation, every faculty or peer critique [that] really helped me develop my voice as an artist.”

This profound experience at SAIC drives Shibata to stay connected to the School, serving as an alumni leader for the New York community, staying engaged with her former classmates, and giving to SAIC’s Annual Fund as part of Beautiful Work: The Campaign for SAIC.

“[Giving back] is one way to support the School, support its values, and stay connected; I see it more as giving back my gratitude,” says Shibata. “It feels natural for me to continue to extend that sense of community, and it’s also now part of my art practice.”