Valeska Maria Populoh was born in Germany and now lives in Baltimore. Before beginning her work as an artist and cultural organizer, Valeska worked as a policy advocate and educator on environmental and social justice issues. She earned an undergraduate degree in International Affairs at American University in Washington DC, a certificate in ecological gardening and permaculture design from The Linnaea Farm Society in British Columbia and apprenticed on organic farms. She returned to school in 2003 to earn a BFA in Fiber and an MAT in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she now serves on the faculty of the Fiber Department.
Valeska utilizes costume, mask and puppetry techniques to create performances and actions in public spaces that respond to environmental and social concerns. An interest in meditation and right action as pathways for transformation, both personal and societal, are central to her work. Valeska works in collaboration with other artists, community organizations and performance groups to invent, create and curate cultural actions and performance events. She has worked with and learned from Black Cherry Puppet Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, Nanaprojects, Great Small Works, the O'Neill Puppetry Conference and Kids on the Hill. She is an associate artist at Black Cherry Puppet Theater, where she curates the Puppet Slamwich performance series. Valeska has performed at the Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America sponsored by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the International Toy Theater Festival in Brooklyn, NY, the National Puppetry Festival in Atlanta, the Transmodern Festival and Artscape in Baltimore. She has been awarded grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and received the Trustee's Award for Excellence in Teaching from MICA in 2011.