Gianna Paniagua was born in New York City in 1991. At the age of 14 months, she was diag- nosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and became the recipient of a heart transplant at Babies & Children’s Hospital of New York. Much of her time growing up was split between
the cities of Manhattan and Miami. Gianna received her BA from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2013. Her papercutting sculptures have created a following in the Pittsburgh art scene and has exhibited at Wood Street Gallery, The Westmoreland Museum of Art, and 707 Gallery. Her initial years post graduation were spent working bi-coastally in Pittsburgh and San Francisco as she collaborated with companies in the Bay such as SF MOMA, Square, and the Kala Institute for Printmaking. In 2014, she received the Grand Prize award for the VSA Emerging Young Artist Program in association with The Kennedy Center which honored artists with disabilities. Thanks to her award, she was given the opportunity to exhibit in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and was part of a nationally touring exhibition throughout 2015. Because of the deep emotional connections the work has with her health experiences, Gianna continues to use art as a way to involve herself in the medical community. She was invited to lecture and teach at the Cleveland Clinic, partnered with Genentech in San Francisco to create art revolving around transplantation, and hosts classes for her practice of Meditative Papercutting for art students as well as chronic illness patients. In 2016 she began her studies towards an MFA as a graduate student of sculpture at California College of the Arts.

Gianna currently works on all things paper from her Potero Hill studio in San Francisco.

Click here to read an article about my work on Young Millennial Adult


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Gianna Paniagua, a Studio Arts major at the University of Pittsburgh, describes her formative experience on the Wyoming Field Studies trip and the subsequent work that she produced as part of her Brackenridge research.