July 12, 2011
40th Anniversary Alumni Spotlight: Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano ’94; Botanical Artist, Author and Teacher in International Collections
Olivia Marie Braida-Chiusano ’93 graduated with a B.S. in Business Management and Economics from the Hudson Valley Center. She is the founder of the Academy of Botanical Art, a division of OM Art Designs. She has authored a 10-book series, “Ten Steps-A Course in Botanical Art,” which she has used as the foundation of the classes that comprise her academy’s Botanical Art Certificate Program.
Founder and board president emeritus of the Florida Society of Botanical Artists, Inc., Braida-Chiusano is delighted to expand awareness of botanical art for both adults and young teens who take the classes to develop their skills. She also has online students in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Australia and Mexico and instructs at the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Braida-Chiusano has received many awards and publishing honors and is featured in “Today’s Botanical Artists,” by Cora Marcus and Libby Kyer and in “Karpal Singh, His Grace Lives on,” by Ruhani Satsang. She created a collection of 13 grand-scale, commissioned pieces depicting the biodiversity in the Caribbean, which now hang in Cornell University’s Conference Center for Biodiversity and Medicinal Plants, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She has been recognized by The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Research Division of Carnegie-Mellon University by the purchase for its private collection of her original watercolor, “Magnolia gradniflora ‘Little Gem’ #2,” and the South Florida Museum by its acquisition of “Nelumbo Baby Doll, “ a Dwarf White Lotus. Her clients are spread across the world, from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Europe and Thailand.
In addition to graduating from SUNY Empire State College, Braida-Chiusano earned a Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate from the New York Botanical Garden. She also studied at SUNY Purchase, Pratt, the New York Arts Students League and under master painters Caesar Borgia and Anne Marie Evans in New York and the United Kingdom, respectively. She lives in Sarasota, Fla. with her husband, nearby other family members. Her two young grandchildren love to draw and paint.
In honor of the college's 40th anniversary year, we will spotlight alumni from across the college, celebrating the range of academic, career and personal paths; geographic locations; modes of learning; and life circumstances and experiences supported by a SUNY Empire State College degree program.