About

Mary Coss is a multidisciplinary artist known for her monumental sculpture and haunting installations that explore the human condition. Born in Detroit to a family of makers, Coss traveled and lived throughout the country and settled in Seattle. She received her MFA from Syracuse University, Dept. of Experimental Studios. This hybrid sculpture/media program, coupled with a minor in sociology, inspired a life-long commitment to create cross disciplinary socially conscious work. Her research based projects put familiar imagery and themes into new contexts to explore culture and society through allegory.

Coss has been recognized through awards and grants by the NEA, Ford and Puffin Foundations, 4Culture, Seattle Arts & Culture, SOLA and Artist Trust. Her extensive exhibition record includes galleries, museums and sculpture parks. The installation Public Debt to the Suffragette received the “Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice” Special Recognition Award from the ACLU at ArtPrize. Coss’ public work encompasses commissions and socially engaged practices. Extensive work in affordable housing combines site designed artwork, coordination as lead artist, and the authorship of art plans. Collaboration on the Greenbridge Master Plan team garnered four local and national design awards. Critically acclaimed Layers of the Hijab, a three-year social engagement project, received NEA funding.

Coss has garnered an international profile as travel and cross-cultural relationships are integral to her practice. These  partnerships include a cultural exchange and exhibit at Candyland Arts in Stockholm and Museo Civico Palazzo della Penna in Perugia, and artist engagements in Ireland, Turkey and Guatemala. Past residencies include Willapa Bay, GoodHart, Playa, James Washington Foundation, Cornish Incubator, and Cill Rialaig and Greywood Arts in Ireland.

Coss is a cultural worker evidenced by years of mentoring, teaching and curating projects that infuse the arts with social justice. She has taken on leadership roles in diverse settings, including her role as cofounder for a variety of institutions including:  METHOD Gallery,  a youth public art program at SEEDarts , Reach (formerly CASA) a rape crisis center that flourishes after 30 years, and Borealis Festival of Light in Seattle, WA.

Sound   Video   Public Art Archive  

A Cross Generational Talk on the Creative Process w/ Daughter and musician Roxy Coss  

Ghost Log article in Crosscut

Silent Salinity article in The Stranger

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