Claudia Widdiss was born in Harlem, New York City in 1950. Her family encouraged her to develop her talent, and she studied in various community programs, such as the Arts and Culture Program sponsored by the Harlem Youth Act of New York City. Graduating from the High School of Art and Design with a major in sculpture, Widdiss received scholarships to the National Academy of Fine Arts and The Art Students League of New York. At the age of nineteen she was awarded the Chaloner Prize Foundation Grant to continue her studies in Europe. She apprenticed with the English sculptor Denis Mitchell in Cornwall for one year, and then continued her studey during an additional year of stone carving in Carrara, Italy. After her time abroad, she lived in George for ten years, working primarily in Metal.
In 1981, Widdiss returned to New England to earn a BFA in sculpture at Rhode Island College. In 1989, she was awarded an MFA in Sculpture from Souther Illinois University at Carbondale. Since 1993, she has been teaching sculpture at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Widdiss has exhibited extensively and received a number of scholarships, including one to the National Academy of Fine Art, and another to the Art Students League, both in New York City. Her many awards include the Excellence in Sculpture Award from the High School of Art and Design; the National Scholastic Magazine Award; the Graduate Dean’s Fellowship Award from Southern Illinois University; a Sculpture Award from the Arts Festival of Atlanta; a Chalone Prize Foundation Grant; and in 2003, an Excellence in Teaching Award from Eastern Connecticut State University.
Widdiss has been given commissions for private and public collections, amoung them the commissioned Healing Curtain series at Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library. Her work figures in a number of permanent collections as well, such as those of the Omni International Hotel and of Spellman College in Atlanta.