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Sharon Kopriva "Snakes and Ladders"
photos by Katy Anderson

Back for the project’s tenth anniversary, Art League Houston’s 2001 Texas Artist of the Year and Houston Heights native Sharon Kopriva was part of the second True North installation in 2015 with her multi-media sculpture “Marcella,” an homage to Marcella Perry—a businesswoman and powerhouse in the 70-80s whose behind-the-scenes activism paved the way for the Heights community we enjoy today. Sure to captivate the imagination and memory of young and old alike, Kopriva’s True North 2023 sculpture "Snakes and Ladders"—made of cane, waddles, coiled tube and paint—is inspired by the children's board game of the same name which had its beginnings centuries ago in India. The historic version had its roots in morality lessons on which a player's progression up the board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes). Its basic, more G-rated concept was introduced in the United States in 1943 by Milton Bradley under the name of “Chutes and Ladders.”

For more than thirty years, Kopriva has worked in both two and three-dimensional media. Her visual journeys have taken her through investigations of Pre-Columbian cultures in Peru, a lengthy examination of her Catholic faith, and finally, to a convergence of formal religion with the encroaching light of the green forests in the Pacific Northwest where she has redefined and connected her personal spirituality forever with Nature.


A Reagan [now Heights] High School grad, Kopriva earned her undergraduate degree and MFA in painting from University of Houston and maintains studios in the Houston Heights (Redbud Arts Center) and Hope, Idaho. She has permanent collections in The Menil Collection, Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Kopriva has served on the boards of Kienholz Foundation, Texas Sculpture Group and Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

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