Esther Sheppard has had a varied background working in fields that involve audience, communication and interaction. She began as a professional actress in NYC with an interest in non-verbal communication studying with Jacques Chwat of the Polish Lab Theater as well as workshops with Spalding Gray and Richard Brooks.
Sheppard developed interactive work in the form of networked installation; online therapeutic models for one to one and group therapy; development of online software for art therapy; and created a virtual community for healthy and ill people. Working primarily with people with ALS (PALS) she designed a social environment that dealt with quality of life issues including loss of communication and identity. She created an online gallery for PALS to exhibit artwork and creative writing, addressing user experience for people with low motor skills.
Networked projects were supported by Mattel Toys Inc and InstantSessions.com. She exhibited and presented work nationally, internationally and conducted health arts workshops traveling to St. Petersburg, Russia and Prague, Czech Republic. She consulted for Universal Aid for Children in Odessa, Ukraine where she assisted orphanages to design and implement digital technology and curricula.
Most recently she has been developing assistive devices for people with low motor skills and communication problems, targeting but not limited to people with brain damage.
She holds a BS and BFA from Syracuse University (painting), an MFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design (New Genres) and attended Skowhegan.