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Mary Ann Mears

Mary Ann Mears

Artist Work

Reston Rondo
Painted Aluminum
18' x 21' x 16'
Lotus Columns
Stainless Steel
Eight columns 14’-8” to 16’ in height
Spun Grace
Painted Aluminum
12' x 40' x 30'
Poplar Petals
Stainless Steel, Painted Aluminum, Water and Lighting
14 works sited in a park space approximately 100’ x 400’, Individual pieces range in size from 30’ to 2’ in height,
Painted Aluminum
17’ x 13’ x 8’
Painted Aluminum and Stainless Steel
22’ x 30’x 20'

Artist Information

Baltimore City
(410) 435-2265
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

Mary Ann Mears Statement The primary focus of my work has been creating sculpture for specific sites. I enjoy the challenge of responding to the physical and spatial qualities of new sites as I envision the potential for a work of art to enhance the experience of encountering and moving through a site. And the perspectives of the communities, institutions and individuals who live near and use sites are vital for me to express the spirit of the particular place. I have worked with many sites and at varied scales from very large scale to more intimate. My work has included pieces that are suspended, wall–hung, and freestanding. Some have been conceived as focal objects, others create environments or series of encounters. I work primarily in metals such as aluminum and stainless steel and may use many colors, a single color, or simply the finish of the material itself. I have also incorporated other materials such as stone and water. I draw inspiration from many sources. Engaging and collaborating with the individuals and communities from a site is an important part of my process of imagining possibilities and creating art. My analysis of a site is only partly about its physical characteristics; I am deeply invested in understanding the goals and aspirations of the community and the individuals and institutions it comprises. Those conversations shape the expressive content of the work. My sculpture may reference multiple images and ideas, creating meaning and metaphor from their intersections. My recent piece at Saint Agnes Hospital, Spun Grace, was conceived in response to the compassionate care that this wonderful Baltimore institution provides for the community. Likewise, Charispiral, at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston reflects the special inter-relationship of care-giver and patient evident there. Another important part of my work is collaboration with design professionals, civic leaders, public officials and others who may bring particular expertise or insight to a project. My current project for Columbia, Maryland is intended to be interactive for families in a park setting and to engage them in play while reflecting sensitivity to the natural environment and green landscape design. I am collaborating with the landscape architect throughout including designing a sloping landform on which curved sculptures will be placed for children to slide down. We are incorporating wind movement with revolving pieces; additionally, activated water features and light are integrated into this work. And another member I brought to the team adds expertise in cognitive science connected to how children play as we scatter “petals of thought” across the site to engage imaginations. This project is one of the first parts of a major expansion in Columbia between the Columbia Mall and Symphony Woods including a series of large-scale multi-use buildings and public spaces. Many of my pieces sited in public plazas invite physical interaction and engagement. Gyre and Gimble, a piece created for Imagination Stage in Bethesda, at a site which caters to children yet is located in a downtown area serving many people and purposes and thus needs to be elegant and sophisticated at the same time. The sculptures sited on the paved area serve as seating while being part of the flow of the overall work through Intermission Alley. Starting with an early piece, Red Buoyant in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, my sculptures have come to be recognized as landmarks and important symbols for the communities and institutions where they are located. A copy of Red Buoyant was given to Baltimore’s sister City, Kawasaki Japan because it represented the spirit of renewal shared by the two cities. My sculpture at Bethesda Metro Centre, Beacon, has served as a landmark and identifier for the transit station below the plaza. Reston Rondo is another gateway/welcoming piece. Sited in a public park along Reston Parkway, it announces the entrance to Reston Town Center. Spun Grace is now an icon for Saint Agnes Hospital. Images are used in publications. As an artist who believes in the important place of art in daily life whether encountered as a work of public art that is part of the streetscape, the workplace, schools and other public facilities, I became committed to nurturing the arts and arts education as an arts advocate. Since moving to Maryland, I have been an active community member committed to helping our state grow and become a vital arts center ensuring that the arts are accessible to all. My resume details the roles I have played. I believe that my work as an artist has been deepened by my endeavors in public service. Public art is key to creating optimal places for people to thrive and enjoy creative and socially active lives. As a Knight Foundation funded study by Katherine Loflin (Soul of the Community) about place-making and cities shows, people choose places to live because of esthetics, cultural and entertainment opportunities, and a feeling of connection to others.

Artist Bio

Mary Ann E. Mears
903 Poplar Hill Road Baltimore, Maryland 21210
Phone: 410 435-2265 Website: email:


2015 Poplar Petals, in progress, Columbia Downtown Project, Parcel D, West Promenade, Columbia, MD

2014 Reston Rondo, Reston Town Center, Reston, VA (painted aluminum 18’ h)

2013 Aeriads, Private Residence, Annapolis, MD (exterior relief, painted aluminum 13’ x 3’x 5”)

2013 Charispiral, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA (exterior, painted aluminum, 17’x13’x 8’)

2011 Spun Grace, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD (suspended, moving, painted aluminum, 12’x 40’x 30’)

2010 Calla Pods, Private Residence, Baltimore MD (exterior, painted aluminum, 4 forms 3’h - ‘6-6” h)

2009 Lotus Columns, Silver Spring, MD (exterior, eight column forms, stainless 14’ 8”-16’ h)

2009 Sun Drops, Private Residence, Baltimore MD (exterior, painted aluminum, 3 forms 4’h - 5’ h)

2008 Leaps and Bounds, University of Central Florida, Orlando (interior relief, ptd. aluminum 15’x 28’)

2006 Callooh Callay, Millenium Bike Trail, Anne Arundel County, MD (painted aluminum 16’ h)

2004 Floating Garden, Cheverly Health Center, commissioned by the Prince George’s County Revenue Authority, MD (suspended, ptd. aluminum and stainless, 20’x 36’x 44’)

2003 Gyre and Gimble, Betty Ann Krahnke Intermission Terrace, Imagination Stage, Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts, MD (site extends length of a city block, stainless and painted aluminum)

2002 Coloratura, commissioned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for the Southern Ave. Station (suspended and wall relief, painted aluminum and stainless, 22’x 30’x 20’)

2002 Life Cycle, Tollgate Marketplace, BelAir MD (exterior, painted aluminum, 22’ h)

2002 Fifth Season, Baltimore, MD (exterior relief, stainless, brass, silicon bronze 9’x 20’)

2002 Dance of Life, Baltimore, MD (exterior, 3 pieces, stainless and painted aluminum, 10’-6” h)

2000 Ashburton Aery, Ashburton Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD (painted aluminum 58’x 34’x 12’)

1999 Oasis Diffraction, commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council for the North Carolina School for Science and Math at Durham (suspended, painted aluminum and stainless, 20’x 16’x 16’)

1999 Starstruck, F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville, MD (suspended+relief, ptd. Alum., 8’x18’x18’, 12x20’, 12’x20’)

1994 Sky Dancing, commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council for the Student Recreation Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (suspended sculpture painted aluminum, 16’ x 24’ x 22’)

1991 Sayra’s Syrinx, Baltimore, MD (wall relief, painted aluminum, 7 1/2’ x 16’)

1988 Arboresque, series of 5 outdoor installations including a large fountain piece (25’ x 36’ x 16’) and 4 other pieces (13’, 16’, 15, 15’ in height) for the Centre at Park Forest, Park Forest, Illinois (painted aluminum, stainless steel and basalt boulders)

1988 River Flight, 3 wall reliefs, Park Charles, Baltimore (painted aluminum, 8’ x 15’, 8’ x 16’, 8’ x 17’)-reconfigured for Baltimore School for the Arts lobby in 2008.

1987 Streamings, commissioned, State of Maryland, Owings Mills Station of the Baltimore Metro (relief sculpture four walls 10’ x 600’ x 1’ overall and suspended sculpture 10’ x 100 x 10’, painted aluminum)

1985 Volary, atrium sculpture for Trappers Alley, Detroit, Michigan (18 pieces ranging in length from 6’ to 16’ suspended in 4 groups, painted aluminum)

1985 Caracol, for Snowden Center, Columbia, Maryland (height 10’, painted aluminum)

1985 Beacon, for plaza at Bethesda Metro Center, Bethesda, Maryland (height 17’, painted aluminum)

1983 Red Buoyant II, commissioned by the City of Baltimore as a gift to Kawasaki, her sister city in Japan (height 13’, painted aluminum replica of Red Buoyant)

1983 Esperance, Ella Grasso Regional Center in Stratford, Connecticut, State of Connecticut 1% for Art program (height 13’, painted aluminum)

1982 Larks en Ciel, atrium, Rainbow Centre, Niagara Falls, New York (112’ x 50’ x 40’, ptd. aluminum)

1982 Pendere, United Iron and Metal of Baltimore (relief, 12 3/4’ x 5 1/2’, painted aluminum

1982 Scales, relief sculpture commissioned by Lawrence B. Simons for the law office of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, Washington, DC (30” x 78”, painted steel)

1981 Sinsyne, relief sculpture commissioned for the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore. The Hyatt also purchased four prints. Howard N. Fox, Juror (21” x 78”, painted steel)

1978 Red Buoyant, commissioned by the City of Baltimore, Inner Harbor, (15’x 21’x13’ painted aluminum)

1978 Boanerges, Northeast Middle School, Baltimore 1% for Art program (height 22’, Corten)

1974 Brio, commissioned by the City of Baltimore for the Fort Worthington Recreation Center and Library under the 1% for Art program (height 10’, painted steel)


2013 Co-Chair Governor’s Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools

2011 Maryland 9/11 Memorial Committee

2010 Maryland’s Top 100 Women, The Daily Record

2009 Distinguished Service to the Arts Award, National Governors Association

2006 Nina Collier Award, Young Audiences of Maryland

2005 Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and delivered Commencement Address at UMBC, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

2005 Music Education National Conference Eastern Division Award

2002 Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award, National Art Education Association Award

1996 Recipient Governor’s Arts Award at Art Salute

1996 Maryland Music Educators Association Corwin Taylor Leadership Award

1996-1997 Panelist National Endowment for the Arts American Canvas

2006-Present Chair Emeritus and Trustee AEMS, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance

1992-2006 Founder and Chair of AEMS, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance

1989-1997 Member of Maryland State Arts Council

1992-Present Trustee, Maryland Citizens for the Arts (Executive Committee)

1982-1992 Founding Board member of Maryland Art Place (1983-1984 President, Board of Trustees)


Mount Holyoke College, B.A. with Distinction and with Honors in Art, June 1968

New York University, M.A. in Creative Arts - Sculpture, June 1971

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, May 2005