Meet the Artist

Judith Fisher McManis

was born and grew up in a small Midwestern town as a ‘cradle’ Episcopalian. Creative and artistic forebears certainly supported her love of drawing and ‘making things’ as a child, resulting in many contributions to the annual Christmas Bazaar at her local church. Her early love of music – especially church music (in the day of Elvis and The Beatles) – drew her to involvement in Madrigal singing and eventually demanded a decision as to which would be her life’s work, art or music.

Art won the ‘toss’, leading Judith to earn a BFA from Drake University in 1965. She taught Studio Art in both elementary and high school classrooms for five years before moving to Connecticut where she spent 31 more years in secondary and junior-college teaching assignments. Along the way, she earned a MA from Central Connecticut State University, the recipient of a scholarship. During the last decade of her teaching career Judith wrote a Humanities curriculum built on the great questions of humankind expressed through the Arts. She team-taught the course with a music colleague, finding it some of the most rewarding years of her long and achievement-filled career in education.

Liturgical Art began to ‘show up’ in Judith’s life in the early 1970’s when she made a set of banners for her Connecticut Parish. Many of these earliest banners have not survived but a steady flow of Liturgical work has certainly followed them. Most of these works are pictured in the Laudata Gallery. Each is accompanied by the story of how and why it was created. Upon retirement from the classroom, Judith moved to Vermont with her husband, Charles McManis, where she set up her current Liturgical Art and Calligraphy business: Laudata. Charles, an internationally respected builder of pipe organs, passed away in December of 2004.

Laudata is Judith’s Latin name (from her high school Latin teacher), meaning The Praised One.  As a name for her Liturgical Art business, it seemed a perfect choice.