Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Mary Rothlisberger is a citizen artist and relationalist from Palouse, Washington (pop. 998), working in collaboration with rural communities and remote landscapes. She builds spaces that help people and places work better together. Her creative practices are driven by systems of sharing in order to enable positive change and compassionate action. She uses conversational research, publications, performance, picnics, and play to express and understand the environments we situate ourselves within.

In recent years, Mary has focused on rural cultural advocacy and building community through arts initiatives. Being a neighbor and an active citizen are necessary components of her career as a socially engaged artist. Her studio projects and social programming go hand-in-hand to create radical contemporary dialogue in unexpected situations. Rural communities are a minority voice among cultural producers and she has diligently built a practice that reaches out to audiences beyond the urban elite. Mary brings a nuanced perspective to the contemporary field, as a citizen artist working in service to small towns, as a cultural producer across American geographies, and as facilitator of entrenched place-based arts programming.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

I have been working in the field for nearly a decade by intentionally collaborating with rural communities across America, primarily in the inland west and upper mid-west. Communities I work with are often marginalized due to poverty, politics, and geography; rural America is statistically severely underfunded and under-recognized. My methodology and projects advocate for the cultural voice of America’s hinterland.

Due to limited funding for rural artists, I often have to travel for commissioned work; I am so grateful for the gift of support from Artist Trust, which will allow me the freedom to spend more time working in service to my hometown of Palouse, Washington. The Fellowship gives me an opportunity to exchange ideas on a national level while facilitating cultural projects in my home region. I anticipate being able to bring new resources back to my communities, collaborators, and implement arts regeneration strategies for our rural regions.

Mary Rothlisberger