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Sara Shai’s Curriculum Vitae
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About the Author
Sara Shai is a writer, teacher, fashion designer, business owner and an artist. Her commitment is to communicate through creativity and to inspire people to see what is possible for themselves. Her journey to self-expression started at an early age.
She has worked as a journalist and teacher in Israel and California, and continues to teach to this day. She creates fashion accessories available through her private line, Sara’s Fashions. She is the founder and producer of the annual Honoring Life Event. She is the author of Beautiful in Black, her autobiography, and The Little Girl on the Sand Hill, a novel based on her own life experience.
Her sculpture and paintings offer a fresh look at the human figure. For her, the raw stone and the still pose are frozen moments of life. The themes and the images of her work emerge from the inner fabric of her experience as a “woman of the now.”
Sara’s art is poetic and lyrical, and her engagement with the material is strong yet innocent. It is often rich with emotional metaphor.
Artist’s Statement: My art comes from a silent inner space within me, where words and thought have no power. When I finish a piece of art, I feel as if I have participated in God’s work. It is the peak of fulfillment. To create is to feel, think, struggle and live until it becomes real. Every creation is always a new and fresh birth. For me it is the interaction with the medium that determines the final creation and I am only the instrument that brings it to life. Art is the language of the soul.
Sara graduated Bet Reveka teachers’ college in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1964. After teachers’ college, she also attended art school in Old Jafa, Israel. From 1965 through 1971 she taught Hebrew literature and writing at Shorashim Junior High School in Tel Aviv, a junior high in Ashkelon, and Habad School in Kirata Gat.
Sara married Israeli author Moshe Shai in 1965. Moshe was an analyst of Israeli-Arab relationships and a commentator and journalist for the highly regarded Israeli Haretz Newspaper. In 1971, after Moshe’s untimely passing, Sara moved with their young son to Los Angeles, California.
In 1967, she began working as a freelance writer for the popular Israeli woman’s magazine La’esha and the music magazine La’hiton. After moving to Los Angeles, she continued writing as a correspondent for those magazines until 1973. Her writing included interview of celebrities and people of interest and also a fashion column.
At the same time, Sara was teaching Hebrew literature and Jewish history at private schools in Los Angeles: Emek Hebrew Academy, Golda Mier High School and Sinai Hebrew Academy. She served as the Director of Education for Sephardic Hebrew Academy in 1977.
She earned a diploma from West Coast Teaching College at Yeshiva University in Los Angeles in 1976.
In 1978, Los Angeles City College awarded her the Certificate of Appreciation. The award recognized her for assisting and supervising students/employees in the College’s Cooperative Education program, which served to prepare students for careers.
The same year, Sara launched her fashion business. She expressed her love for fashion, creativity and business by opening her first boutique, Sara’s Fashion, in Beverly Hills. At the same time, she was pursuing painting and sculpture.
In 1985, she closed her boutique and spent a year in Europe learning about multi-media and absorbing the influence of the great masters of fashion and art. During this year, her son was an exchange student in Israel.
She returned to Los Angeles in 1986 and once again flexed her business muscles by purchasing her first piece of real estate and also by opening a new boutique, Sara’s Designers Outlet, located in the central San Fernando Valley. Over the next few years, she opened two more boutiques – Sara’s Designers – one in Toluca Lake and the other in Woodland Hills. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “The proprietor’s flare for fashion…emanates from her artistic talents.”
Since the mid-80’s she has continued to fiercely pursue her art and fashion design. In the early 2000’s, she closed her stores and focused on her art and writing.
In the early 1990s, Sara began her training with the multi-media artist Manny Kremaer. She also studied figure molding and shaping with Harriet Hochberg, and stone carving with art historian Bernice Schachter.
She worked in Pietrasanta, Italy, in 1999, where she carved in marble and alabaster. Pietrasanta is recognized by sculptors around the world for its exquisite marble and artistic legacy.
In 2002, she resumed teaching at Temple Beth Hillel, North Hollywood.
Writing was always Sara’s tool to challenge life. When she moved to Los Angeles, she began privately journaling her experience of her own perseverance and view of life. Over the years, she watched that stack of paper grow. Naturally, she began converting her notes into a book she could offer as inspiration to others.
Her autobiography, Beautiful in Black, explores the human longing for love, acceptance and freedom. At the same time, it is an important contribution to those who suffer loss.
Sara was raised in Israel and grew up during the struggle for freedom and independence. Those events left a deep impression on the artist, molding her personality and shaping her dreams. Her biography reveals her challenge to persevere as a little girl growing up in a dysfunctional household and to become resilient and whole as a woman.
The book was self-published in 2006 and became a contribution to her community. Out of this, she founded the annual Honoring Life Event to acknowledge those who persevere over tragedy and take action to empower people to dwell in possibility. (To learn more about the Honoring Life Event, visit www.honoringlife.org.)
Through the success of her autobiography and the Honoring Life Event, Sara realized her story could be a powerful contribution to a wider market if it were offered as a fictional novel. Therefore, Beautiful in Black evolved into The Little Girl on the Sand Hill.
Shorashim Junior High School, Tel Aviv, and Habad School, Kirata Gat, Teacher, 1965 through 1971.
La’hiton music magazine, freelance writer in Israel, from 1967. Correspondent in Los Angeles, until 1973.
Sephardic Hebrew Academy, Director of Education, 1977.
Emek Hebrew Academy, Golda Mier High School and Sinai Hebrew Academy, Teacher, through 1978.
Sara’s Fashion, Beverly Hills, proprietor, opened 1978. Sara’s Designers Outlet, central San Fernando Valley, proprietor, opened 1986. Sara’s Designers Boutique, Toluca Lake and Woodland Hills, opened late 1980s. Closed all stores in early 2000s to pursue art and writing.
Private studio, Los Angeles, artist and fashion designer, from mid-1980s.
Private studio, Pietrasanta, Italy, sculptor of marble and alabaster, 1999.
Temple Beth Hillel, North Hollywood, teacher since 2002.
Beautiful in Black, author, self-published 2006.
Honoring Life Event, founder, first annual event in 2006.
The Little Girl on the Sand Hill, author, completed manuscript 2010.
Bet Reveka teachers’ college, Tel Aviv, Israel, graduated 1964
Art school, Old Jafa, Israel, from 1969.
West Coast Teaching College at Yeshiva University, Los Angeles, diploma, 1976.
Trained in multi-media art by Manny Kremaer, early 1990s.
Trained in figure molding and shaping by Harriet Hochberg, early 1990s.
Trained in stone carving, by art historian Bernice Schachter, Pietrasanta, Italy, early 1990s.
Exhibits and Awards
1978 Certificate of Appreciation for LACC Cooperative Education program, Los Angeles City College – Los Angeles, CA
1993 “Every Woman’s Village” – Van Nuys, CA
1995 Artist Exhibits – Jupiter, FA
Sculptor Symposium – Seattle, WA
1996 Golden State Sculptors Association exhibit – Thousand Oaks, CA
1998 Golden State Sculptors’ Association award for “Merging Love” – Jocelyn Fine Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1999 Sephardim Art, A Search for Identity exhibit, Sproul Hall Library, UCLA – Los Angeles, CA
Israeli Independence Day Festival Art Exhibit – Los Angeles, CA
2000 Moments in Time Exhibit – Los Angeles, CA
2002 Benefit for the Susan G. Koman Foundation, Sebastian Corporate Head Quarter – Woodland Hills, CA
Pierce College Theater and Art Show – Woodland Hills, CA
2003 Soho Gallery exhibit – Studio City, CA
“Figurative Expressions” exhibit, Topanga Canyon Gallery – Topanga, CA
2004 Art show, The California Market Center – Los Angeles, CA
2006 Art exhibit, Beverly Hilton Hotel – Beverly Hills, CA
Art exhibit, USA Today Hollywood Hero award show – Beverly Hills, CA
First annual “Honoring Life Event,” The Art House Gallery – Santa Monica, CA
2012 Dreams on Canves - Four Four Seasons Hotel - West Lake , Ca