green self portrait

Melanie Mowinski (Mowinski_CV2015) began her career as an art education major at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art.  After graduating, she went west to seek her fortune, teaching in Arizona and San Francisco. Ready for another adventure, she then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean where she developed arts curricula, community-centered arts programs and her love of the outdoors.

She left the tropics after three years to study in New England, earning an M.A.R. in Religion and the Visual Arts from Yale University in 1999 where she was the Katsuo Miho Scholar in Peace Making. Many seeds were planted during her time at Yale, and she let them germinate while teaching for a few years at Buxton School in Williamstown, MA. Residencies at Windgrove in Tasmania and Jentel in Wyoming kept her art practice alive during these intense years of teaching. Eventually, the seeds blossomed and led her to Philadelphia where she earned her M.F.A. in Book Arts/Printmaking from The University of the Arts (UArts) in 2006. UArts awarded her the Harry Eaby/Piccari Press Scholarship in recognition of her Tree Wrapping project.

Mowinski’s work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Tate Modern, Oberlin College, the Love Library at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. She’s taught courses and workshops at Williams College, the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and at art centers in Ohio, Massachusetts, Wyoming, St. Kitts, and Australia.

She continues to seek out residencies as opportunities of intense focus and creation including Denali National Park in Alaska, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska and Mount Greylock State Park in Massachusetts.

In 2011 she founded PRESS: Letterpress as a Public Art Project a hybrid gallery, teaching, studio spaced devoted to letterpress and book arts on Main Street, North Adams. Originally conceived as a summer project, due to its success it continues today. During the2013-2014 academic year she will teach all of her MCLA classes there while the building where she normally teaches is renovated.

Mowinski is an Associate Professor of Visual Art at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, MA. Recently MCLA honored her with a Creative Project Award for PRESS: Letterpress as a Public Art Project and the Hardman Initiative Grant to create an interdisciplinary approach to teaching writing and art.

She continues to dream of making an epic walk, drawing, making tree rubbings, collaging and being along the way. (Epic walk: AT, PCT, The Way of Saint James or some equally incredible pilgrimage.)