Seattle based artist Mary Coss believes in the power of art to transform individuals and communities.
Coss makes gestural mixed media sculpture inspired by life’s stories. Born in Detroit and raised in an atmosphere of intense politics, art, and spirituality, she has lived throughout the United States collecting stories and telling them through her artwork.
Coss received her Masters of Fine Art from Syracuse University in an interdisciplinary sculpture and media department. Graduate studies were funded through several grants and scholarships. Travel, studies, and work experience have provided a rich background in fine arts, design, and public and community art and nourished a 30 year professional art career.
Fine arts studies were followed by on the job design training. Her practical design experience started in window display, and grew to incorporate event and set design. Developing and overseeing fabrication of large complex design projects prepared her for public art design and management. As Public Art Manger and Artist in Residence Coss broke into community building while working for a Community Development Corporation, SEED, in southeast Seattle. At SEED she ran a community driven high school foundry and led community based public art projects, while overseeing projects melding the non profit’s housing division with the arts division to integrate artwork into affordable housing. Her extensive work with youth from this underserved community cemented her belief that art can humanize the built environment while supporting social justice.
Mary Coss’s public art experience encompasses a wide range of commissioned installations and written community art plans. She has worked on several collaborative community art projects with groups such as Pomegranate Center, Seattle Housing Authority, SEED, Seattle Department of Neighborhood’s Pea Patch Program, The Garfield Jazz Foundation, and Northwest Tap Connection.
Coss has an extensive national exhibition record. In addition to public commissioned installations, her studio based sculpture currently resides in several outdoor sculpture collections. Her work can be seen in several Washington and California collections including San Juan Museum and Sculpture Park, Webster's Woods Arts Park, Bellevue Community College, Carlsbad Public Library, King County Housing Authority,and the Seattle Public Schools. As a member of Shift Studio Gallery in Seattle, she engaged in an artist run gallery exchange with Candyland Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden and traveled there to exhibit artwork in 2010. Coss currently divides her creative attention between studio work, teaching, and public art projects.