Craft & Material Studies


Samantha ‘Banks’ Schefman


Deputy Director

On her first birthday, Samantha ‘Banks’ Schefman was introduced to the high-end world of design when her grandmother bought her a Christian Dior dress.

 Since then, this dynamic industry has been an inspirational force in her life, whether she is designing jewelry, studying the cultural influences of iconic women like Jean Toussaint and Marcia Tucker, or brainstorming creative ideas for production of art and music events.

“In high school, I took every opportunity I could to perform on stage, develop photos in the darkroom and get my hands dirty in the jewelry studio,” she said. “Once I got to college, I started to pursue a photo and psychology double major, but quickly realized I wanted to be an artist. I met with Tom Madden from the crafts department at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) to explore my options there. I immediately felt energized and eager to study under his wing.”

Schefman was born in New York City and raised in Metro Detroit. She lived downtown while completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in metalsmithing at CCS, where she became actively involved in the creative community. After graduation, Schefman returned to New York to begin her career designing costume jewelry and watches for internationally recognized brands such as Betsey Johnson and Henri Bendel. Through her combination of professional experience, passion and knowledge of the art world, Schefman landed the position of Gallery Manager for Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea, New York, where she worked through 2014. She has since returned to jewelry design to focus on the development of her own line.

“The inspiration for my artwork is endless,” said Schefman. “I'm always looking at everything whether I’m walking down the street, perusing magazines, diving into books, surfing the Internet, or exploring nature. I even dream about what I want to make.”

For the past five years, Schefman has also been actively supporting fellow creators and arts education as Co-Founder and Deputy Director of PLAYGROUND DETROIT since its inception in 2011. This creative platform “connects emerging artists who represent Detroit and New York City’s talent in visual arts and music with exposure and collaboration opportunities. By establishing a link between artistic communities in these cities we seek to synergize and empower Detroit’s creative community. Through presentation of emerging talent, engaging events, active online media, and partnered residency program, we support artists and positive progress in Detroit.” She has been especially focused on the project since moving back to Detroit in March 2015.

While Schefman credits her experience and education to helping her find success in the design world, she recognizes the importance in receiving personal support along the way.

“I owe my parents the world on a platinum platter,” she said. “Their support, patience, understanding and knowledge is endless. I’m extremely lucky to have such beautiful brilliant and creative people to have raised me. I have them to thank for the career path I have chosen to take.”

To learn more about PLAYGROUND DETROIT, visit ;