Best Brightest and Most Beautiful 2007: Shani Peters

5. Shani Peters
Painter and Visual Artist

Shani Peters works in multiple mediums including, painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and digital collage and creates works that are largely reflective of her young, black, female perspective.  Born in Lansing, Michigan Shani currently lives and works in Harlem, NY where she is a candidate for a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the City College of New York.
Shani went to Verlendin Elementary, Otto Middle and J.W. Sexton High Schools.   She had her first art class with Gretta Pitts at Otto Middle.  She said that Ms. Pitts was one of the first people  she ever knew that made art making her career.  Her mother, Sharon Peters was in The New Citizens Press’ Most Influential and Interesting 2007 edition.  Ms. Peters has worked for children’s rights and educational issues for most of my life and her father, Dr. Melvin Peters  is a scholar of African American Studies.
Shani said, “I am very aware that the themes that I feel most motivated to address in my art production are directly inspired from my parents.”
She is very passionate about the issues that directly affect people adversely,
Shani said, “The issues I’m dealing with right now in my work are race, family and incarceration.  I believe the current disproportionate numbers of blacks in the U.S. penitentiary system is one of the most critical problems of our time as it relates to other major social problems like drugs, under education and crippled family structures.”
It is the issues that chronically disintegrate the family structure that  allow her to intertwine those in the system and not in the system.
Shani said, “I collage, paint, and silkscreen together images of film characters and historical figures who inspire me with actual mug shots of young black men to create works that draw connections between race, family and incarceration. I hope that the work I’m creating can inspire thought, closer attention to damaging circumstances that have become normalized, and love for ourselves and one another.”
Shani also designs and manages her Apple Tree Accessory jewelry line for which she creates pieces of wearable art from sterling silver and natural gemstones. When she is not making my own art, she teaches collage and jewelry making to New York City middle and high school students.
Before committing to her creative pursuits Shani earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Michigan State University and held full time positions in the municipal government and public finance sectors.  In the future Shani intends to continue to create and exhibit her art as well as develop and manage public arts community programming.
A sample of Shani Peters’ work can be viewed at
Shani is getting married this summer.  She also like to watch films, go to museums, listen to good music, hang out at parks on nice days and shop.  Well, who wouldn’t if they lived in New York City!!!