Erika grew up in a midwestern town located on the shore of Lake Michigan, north of Chicago. Throughout her youth she explored the ravines and woods by walking, became an avid beach comber and began making art objects from sticks, stones and other curious things that she found. Erika was raised in a family of theater artists and musicians. She was fortunate to receive her formal training in dance and music from several renown teachers in Chicago. Erika is married to Gary Schmidt, an accomplished pianist and composer. They have been collaborating for many years as artists and entrepreneurs and are the parents of 2 grown daughters. Erika's work as visual and performance artist is deeply shaped by investigations in to the relationship between Eastern philosophies /metaphysics and quantum physics. She received her M.F.A. from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.where she founded Vital Spark Performance Art Group ( now Vital Spark North.) an interdisciplinary performance ensemble that has traveled to major U.S. cities and throughout Europe. Erika's prints and collages are included in numerous collections and are widely shown in national juried and invitational exhibitions including: The Contemporary Art Museum , Tampa, Fl., Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center , New York, Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL. Thompson Gallery, Lincoln, Mass. BIgTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt., EO ART LAB, Chester, Conn. ART CHICAGO, Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, Sarasota, FL., Slater Museum in Norwich, Conn. Baymaro Studio, Duxbury Mass., NEW AMERICAN PAINTINGS, Burlington City Arts.