About Mary

Photo by Kelsey Brown

Thank you for visiting my website!

I am a native Texan from a small Gulf town situated between the sprawling campus of the National Aeronautics Space Administration and the salt marshes and estuaries of Galveston Bay. I developed a deep sense of wanderlust as a kid and have been following my passion for exploration ever since. I spent my junior year of high school as a foreign exchange student in Lubeck, Germany, where I fell in love with Pflaumenkuchen and marzipan. I’m still fluent in German and have done extensive work as a translator for both digital and print platforms. 

I attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography + Imaging. Upon graduation, I received the Rosenberg Fellowship which supported the creation of The Hymnbook Project, a series of artist books crafted from hymnals collected from communities affected by a spate of church arsons across the American South in the early 2000s. This project took me across the Southern United States and awakened in me a curiosity about religious art that continues to animate my life. In the midst of my work on this project, I began my freelance practice as a liturgical artist. This work eventually led me to the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

While pursuing my Master of Theological Studies I became fascinated with narrative ethics and its visual possibilities in Christian devotional art. I created my first Stations of the Cross series while a graduate student. Ten years later, I’ve created six more series addressing: the uprising in Syria, the struggle for LGBTQ equality, mass incarceration, mental illness, climate change, and the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. These varying projects all explore the intersection of justice and Christian spirituality. This ongoing body of work is available in multiple formats, including poster prints for pop-up exhibitions, coloring pages and books, videos, and prayer cards. You can find them in my store. Every year dozens of churches across the country host art exhibitions using these Stations of the Cross artworks.

After graduating from Emory, I moved to Memphis, TN and became the first Minister of Visual Art at First Congregational Church (UCC). During my time at First Congo (as the community is affectionately nicknamed), I led a community art studio called Stranger Studios where members gathered to create intricate paper flowers, floating tree banners, giant origami stars and more. Together with my team of volunteers we created whimsical art installations for each of the liturgical seasons. You can see many of these projects on my homepage. After more than four years serving First Congo, I accepted a position as Mission Developer at Evergreen Presbyterian Church. Evergreen is a dynamic, social justice-oriented community that was in the midst of a transition between leaving an old, beloved but too-large campus to a beautiful storefront space. It was a gift to be a part of their community as they discerned the next steps on their journey.  

In 2018, I moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue my Master of Divinity at United Lutheran Seminary. I am currently a candidate for ordained ministry in my home church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I continue to have a thriving freelance practice. My clients include Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, the National Council of Churches, Ecumenical Women at the United Nations, and many more. I also have experience teaching in a variety of complex settings across vastly different learning types. I’ve taught in both a state prison and county jail, in nursing homes, at a rural community college, and in church basements, multipurpose rooms, and Sunday School classrooms across the country. 

When I’m not writing papers or icons, you can find me curled up next to my sweet doggo Pumpkin, reading Gothic novels about haunted rectories and stubborn women. I love baking and sewing, but not in a way that would be helpful in a post-apocalyptic scenario. My specialities are more like fancy caramel pies and embellished pillowcases. My knowledge of The X-Files is vast, All Things Must Pass by George Harrison is my favorite album, and I’m glad we’re in this thing together. I hope you drop a line! 

A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.
— John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces