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Mary Coss

4309 South Alaska Street
Seattle, WA 98118, U.S.A.
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Phone: 206-769-1151

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Seattle artist Mary Coss makes gestural sculpture inspired by life’s stories. The pairing of organic and figurative forms with everyday objects creates associations between the manmade and natural worlds. These poetic allusions are based in the narrative and manifest in mixed media sculpture.

Born in Detroit and raised in an atmosphere of politics, art, and spirituality she received her MFA from Syracuse University in an interdisciplinary sculpture and media department. Mary has lived throughout the United States collecting stories and telling them through her artwork. Travel and work experience have provided a rich background in design, and public & community art.

She currently divides her creative attention between studio work, teaching, and public art projects, with art experience encompassing a wide range of commissioned installations and written community art plans. Her extensive exhibition record includes a recent show in Sweden where she engaged in an artist run gallery and cultural exchange with Candyland Arts Center in Stockholm. Her public work is in several collections including King County and Seattle Housing Authorities, McNeil Island Corrections Center, and Carlsbad Public Library. In addition to public commissioned installations, her studio-based sculpture resides in several outdoor sculpture collections, including San Juan Museum and Sculpture Park.



Master of Fine Arts- Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y (1980) Graduate Teaching Fellowship 1978; Graduate Research Grant 1979; Graduate University Fellowship 1979; Ford Foundation Grant 1978 & 1979; Syracuse University 

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, Eastern Michigan University (1977)

Major: Visuals Arts, concentration in ceramics and drawing; Minor in Art History and Sociology

Gerard Tsutakawa Sculpture Scholarship; Pratt Fine Arts (2004)

Studies in Florence Italy; Drawing and Art History; through EMU (1976)

Selected Public Art

Waters of Wonder; Tukwila Community Center; Tukwila, WA (2014-2015)

Fern Street Finalist; Cambridge Public Art Program (2014)

“Walk of Fame”; Sidewalk Inlay; Bronze Biography, Signatures, & Footsteps; Nordstrom Flagship; Seattle, WA  (ongoing since 1999)

Sumac Pods; Rainier Vista; Seattle, WA (2011)

Lean On Me; History Bench; Rainier Vista; Seattle WA (2011)

Tamarack Place Water feature; Seattle Housing Authority; Seattle, WA (2010)

Seeds Of Jazz; Squires Park Pea Patch; Seattle, WA (2010)

Wellspring Family Services “Footsteps to Lasting Solutions” Donor pathway artwork; w/SEED (2009)

Educare; Puget Sound Educational Services District; Gates funding ; White Center, WA (2009)

Sister Cairns; 8’ carved granite and metal fabricated matching cairns; KCHA; White Center, WA (2007)

Aladdin’s Rendezvous; Pocket park w/ magic carpet benches and lamp; KCHA; White Center, WA (2007)

Three Wishes; Three 7’ Wishbones made from reclaimed cedar and bronze; White Center, WA (2007)

Greenbridge Greendrain; Passive temporal water feature; KCHA; White Center, WA (2006)

“Be careful What you Wish For”; B.C.C. Day Care Center; Site Design Walkway treatment; Bellevue, WA 2002

“Hearts and Minds”; Gateway with Integrated Lighting; Cast Glass and Cement; Solar Power Integration; Orca at Columbia School; Seattle, WA 2002


Selected Exhibitions

Heaven and Earth; Outdoor Installation at Carkeek Park; CoCA Seattle; 2014

MetalURGE; Outdoor Installation Toleffson Square and exhibit at Raven Foundry; Tacoma, WA 2014

Bellwether; Bellevue Biennial Sculpture show; Outdoor Installation; Bellevue, WA ; 2014

“Public Debt to the Suffragette”; solo show at METHOD Gallery; Seattle, WA  2014

Arte Laguna Artprize finalist; 8th Annual at the Venice Arsenale; Venice, Italy 2014

Under My Skin; Race in the 21st Century; The Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, WA  2013

Layers of the Hijab; socially engaged art culminating exhibit; Columbia City Gallery; Seattle, WA 2013

Stories we Tell Catalogue; Women’s Caucus for Art; Porter Contemporary; 2013

Descendant; Museum of Sound; Arts in Nature Festival; Seattle, WA 2013

Blood and Water; Museum of Sound; Arts in Nature Festival; Seattle, WA 2013

The Meaning of Wood; Lower Columbia College; Longview, WA 2013

Summer Set Community Arts Festival; Art Installation; Shoreline, WA  2012

“Boundaries”; Visiting Artist and solo show; Heritage Gallery; Adrian College; Adrian, MI 2012

“Blood and Water” Installation at the Alki Bathhouse; Seattle, WA 2012

Port Angeles Fine Arts Museum; Reverie; Webster Woods; Port Angele Fine Art Museum; Port Angeles, WA  2012

Columbia City 7th Annual Exhibition; Jurors Choice Award; Seattle, WA 2012

Arts-a-Glo Lantern Festival;; Outdoor Installation; Burien, WA; 2012

Who Does She Thinks She Is? Tashiro Kaplan Building; Seattle, WA 2012

SummerSet Community Arts Festival; Art Installation; Shoreline, WA  2012

The Art of Collaboration; with June Sekiguchi; Antioch University Seattle, WA 2011

Port Angeles Fine Arts Museum; Reverie; Webster Woods; Outdoor Iinstallation; Port Angele Fine Art Museum; Port Angeles, WA  2012

San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park; Friday Harbor, WA   Three Graces; 2012

San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park; Friday Harbor, WA  “Tides of March” 2011

States of Being; Candyland Gallery; Stockholm, Sweden; 2 person show; 2010

Artscapes; Tacoma, WA;   The Blood that Runs Through Us…an ongoing dialogue; Storefront Installation; curator Rock Hushka 2010

Bloodlines, Columbia City Gallery, WA with June Sekiguchi and Pam Hom 2010

Parts of the Whole: Two Visions; Shift Collaborative Studio Gallery; Tashiro Kaplan Building; 2009

from the tongue… ; Lotus Gallery Space; Tribeca, NY 2010

Green on the Edge; San Juan Islands Museum of Art; jurors: Tom Toperzer, Eric Metcalfe, Marisa Sanchez 2010

Safe Harbor, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center; juror: Jake Seniuk, 2010

San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park; Friday Harbor, WA “Ladderwalk” 2010

San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park; Friday Harbor, WA “Ghost Whisperers” 2009

City of Issaquah Outdoor Sculpture Placement; Issaquah, WA “L’Air” 2009

PARKing Day; Street Installation; Seattle, WA; 2008, 2009

“All That and a Bag of Rocks”; La Conner Sculpture Exhibit; La Conner, WA 2008

“Art Outside”; Port Angeles Fine Arts Center; Port Angeles, WA “Ghost Spores” 2008

“Studio to Public”; Solo show; Greening Properties; Everett, WA; 2008

“Maternal Instincts”; Solo show; Shift Collaborative Studio Gallery; Tashiro Kaplan Building; Seattle, WA; 2008

“Women’s Studies”; Solo show; Green River Community College Gallery; Auburn, WA 2007

“Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition 2006”; Jurors: Eloise Damrosch, Laura Matzer, Nancy Mee, Jesus Moroles, Mary Shirley, Bellevue City Hall; Bellevue, WA 2006

“Art in the Built Environment”; curator: Carolyn Law; GGLO Gallery; Seattle, WA 2005

“Guest Artist”; Solo Show; Grand Opening of the Columbia City Gallery, Seattle, WA; 2004

“Dream House”; Solo show; Commencement Art Gallery; Tacoma, WA; 2002

“Window Dressing: Urban Art Installation”; Inaugural windows; Woolworth Building; Tacoma, WA 2001

Selected Awards and Honors/Grants:

NEA Challenge Grant; Layers of the Hijab Exhibition; with SEEDarts (2013)

Artist Residency; James and Janie Washington Foundation; Seattle (2013)

Centrum Artist Residency; Centrum Arts; Port Townsend, Washington (2013, 2014)

Jurors Choice Award; Columbia City Gallery 7th Annual Exhibition; Seattle, WA (2012)

Artist in Residence; San Juan Island Museum and Sculpture Park (2010, 11, 12)

Youth Arts Grant; Layers of the Hijab; Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs (2012)

4culture Group Arts Project Grant; "Beneath the Burqua"; Project Designer and Art Lead with East African Cultural Arts Association (2011)

Installation Artist in Residence; San Juan Island Museum Sculpture Park (2011)

4Culture Site Specific Program Roster; King County, WA  (2011)

Greenbridge Design Team; Master Art Plan; ACEC of Washington (2009) 

Special Mention Design Award for Social Response; Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects; Greenbridge Parks and Trails; Design Team Member (2008)

“Legacy of Livable Communities” The Governors Smart Communities Awards; Greenbridge Design Team; Master Art Plan   (2006)

Gerard Tsutakawa Sculpture Scholarship; Pratt Fine Arts (2004)

Nordstrom Corporate Design Awards: “Best Set Design”(1998)

Nordstrom Corporate Design Awards: “Best Regional Event Design”(1997)

Juror’s Award; “Expressions of the Human Figure”; Muckenthaler Art Center; Fullerton, CA (1986)

 Public Collections

Archdiocesan Housing Authority of Western Washington; WA

Bellevue Community College; WA

Carlsbad Public Library; CA

City of Seattle Parks Department; WA

Educare; White Center, WA

Hudson Town homes; Seattle, WA

King County Housing Authority; WA

McNeil Island Corrections Center; WA

Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club; WA

Seattle Housing Authority; WA

Seattle Public Schools; WA

Southeast Effective Development; WA

Wellspring; Seattle, WA

Professional Experience

Co-founder METHOD Gallery; Pioneer Square; Seattle, WA

Lead in several Socially Engaged Arts and Culture projects with residents in southeast Seattle; 2010-present

Public Space Ranger; Pomegranate Center; Issaquah, WA; 2009-present

Antioch University; Adjunct Professor; Sculpture and Public Art & Placemaking classes; 2009-present

Coyote Central Hit The Streets; Community Arts Program;  Lead Artist; 2010,2011,2012

The Art of Collaboration: Artist Talk with June Sekiguchi; Antioch University; 2011

Artist Run Gallery International Exchange; Shift/Candyland; Seattle, WA USA/Stockholm Sweden  2010

The Blood That Runs Through Us; Artist Talk; with Pam Hom, June Sekiguchi, Paula Stokes Moderator 2010

Cambridge Art Council Public Art Registry; 2009-present

PARKing Day; Street Installation; Seattle, WA; 2008, 2009

Guest Panelist Allied Arts: Arts Neighborhoods: Does Seattle Need Them? 2008

Southeast Seattle Gateway Project; Design Team Member; Pomegranate Center with SEED; 2008

Art Plan for Seattle Housing Authority Rainier Vista phase 2; Hope 6 Project; Seattle, WA 2007

Artist in Residence/ Public Art Manager; SouthEast Effective Development; Seattle, WA 2002-2006

Set Design; Reunión; A Celebration of Dia de los Muertos; by Olga Sanchez; Rainier Valley Youth Theatre; 2004

Tour of European Fantastic Architecture Sites 2003

Co authorship of comprehensive arts plan for Master Plan; w/Jerri Plumridge; SEED for King County Housing Authority; Hope VI; White Center, WA; 2003

Artist Residency; Collaborative artwork with author and inmates at Stilicom Prison; Washington State Arts Commission 1990

Artist in Residence, Washington State Arts Commission; 1988-90