Bisa Butler was born in Orange, NJ and raised in South Orange ,the youngest of four siblings. Butler’s artistic talent was first recognized at the age of four, when she won a blue ribbon in the Plainfield Sidewalk art competition. By age five, Butler was named the “artist of the month” at her nursery school. She currently resides in West Orange, New Jersey and teaches art at Columbia High School in Maplewood New Jersey.
A formally trained artist, Butler graduated Cum Laude from Howard University class of 1995 with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art degree. It was her education at Howard that Butler was able to refine her natural talents under the tutelage of such lecturers as Lois Mailou Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, and Ernie Barnes. While at Howard, Butler also studied the works of Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, and Henry O. Tanner.
While in the process of obtaining her Masters degree on the road to a career as an art teacher, Butler took a Fiber Arts class that the light bulb went on and she finally realized how to express her art. “As a child, I was always watching my mother and grandmother sew, and they taught me. After that class, I made a quilt for my grandmother on her deathbed, and I have been quilting ever since.”
Bisa has been a part of the nationally renown traveling exhibitions by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi ; Textural Rhythms, Constructing the Jazz Traditions, Quilting African American Women’s History and The Journey of Hope in America , quilts inspired by President Barack Obama. Bisa is represented by the Hearne Fine Art gallery of Little Rock, Arkansas.
She has artwork in private and public collections such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the Arkansas Art Museum, and the Kinsey Collection. She has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and internationally. Bisa has been teaching workshops around the country, and has students who come from as far away as Alaska. Recently Bisa Butler had the honor of having her artwork displayed with The Kinsey Collection at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and is currently exhibiting at Walt Disney Worlds Epcot Center. While at Disney Bisa taught workshops as a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy. Last year Bisa was the featured artist for the annual Art in The Atrium gallery show in Morristown, New Jersey, and is currently exhibiting at the Richard Beavers Gallery in Brooklyn. The highlight of Bisa’s career was being chosen to exhibit in Johannesburg South Africa during the International Quilt Expo.