Mary Carothers



Mary Carothers artworks are often site-specific, using a socially engaged process as a way to bridge memory and identity with the geography of a specific place or group of people. Carothers’ collaborative project with Sue Wrbican , The Frozen Car (2008) was featured on the Discovery Channel, Floating Seeds (2013), juried by COD+A (Commission of Design and Architecture) received an international merit award and most recently, her sculptural commission Beneath the Surface was recognized by Americans for the Arts as one of 38 of the most outstanding public art projects created in 2015. Beneath the Surface was reinstalled permanently at Great Meadows Estate owned by Al Shands in 2016. Carothers received her BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She has been a professor at Hite Art Institute, Louisville, Kentucky since 1998.

Course Offerings

ART 105: Foundation 2-D Design
ART 106: Foundation 3-D Design
ART 351: Introduction to Black and White Photography
ART 554: Experimental Photography I
ART 556: Experimental Photography II
ART 557: Advanced Photography
ART 555: Directed Study in Photography
ART 578: Image and Installation
ART 651: Workshop in Photography

Special Topics courses have included:

ART 390/590: Urban and Public Art
ART 590: Photographic Presentations
ART 590: Collaborative Projects
ART 590: Documentary Photography
ART 590: Camera-less and Experimental Photography


My artwork bridges memory and identity with the geography of a certain place or group of people. I use a range of solitary and publicly engaged practices to create site-specific responses. The vast majority of my works incorporate materials that are somehow specific to a place. I have collected and worked with white clay, sand, seeds and ice from particular regions, for example. My most recent sculptural installation was inspired by migration journeys and the metaphorical qualities of rope.

By working with intention, but remaining open to changing contexts and shifting meanings, my approach aims to encourage audiences of their imaginative capabilities, understanding of themselves and their personal sense of empathy. Much of my work addresses nature or ecological cycles that shape a place or inform its culture. Addressing the consequences of progress on nature, geographic border issues and ecology as a form of healing are reoccurring themes in my work.


Photography • Urban and Public Art • Video • Documentary • Installation • Collaborative Projects



Teaching and Class Sites:
KiiS-Kentucky Institute for International Studies-Teaching in Berlin, Germany 2012
Impacto Project-Worked with Director Anayanso Prado as Site Supervisor, Bocas del Toro, Panama-Summer 2011
ARTIS-Study abroad to Florence Italy, Taught Photography, Summer 2006
Collaborative Projects:
School of Music-Sound and image installation/research and production with Professor Krzysztof Wolek
Text and Image projects in conjunction with Professor Annette Allen

Recent Awards

2017: Communications Award for 36 Miles, Revealing the Ohio, The State Chapter for Landscape Architects (Award presented to collaborative partners Mary Carothers, Louis Johnson and Ryan Hargrove.)

2016: Award for Outstanding Public Art- Beneath the Surface, Americans for the Arts, May 2016

2013:  CODA (Commission on Design and Architecture) Floating Seeds, Merit Award for Global Competition, juried as within top 3 healthcare commissions created over past 3 years.

Selected Feature Exhibitions

April 2017, A Place Between, Zephyr Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky

Sept 2016, The Passage, a commission for Peter Krupp, Grand Rapids, Michigan

June 2016  Beneath the Surface,Al Shands, permanent collection, Great Meadows Estate, Crestwood, Kentucky

August 2015  Beneath the Surface, Commissioned by Louisville Metro Government, Riverfront, Louisville, Kentucky

May 2013, Floating Seeds, Commissioned by Owensboro Medical Healthcare System, a permanent installation, Owensboro, Kentucky

April 2012  From Dirt to Gunpowder, Longwood University Art Department, installation in art department foyer, Farmville, Virginia

March 2011 The Butterfly Sanctuary, Loudon House, Lexington Art League, Lexington, Kentucky

Sept. 2010 Frazier International History Museum, Pony Express, Revisited, Louisville, Kentucky

Feb. 2008 The Frozen Car Project, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan

Selected Group Exhibitions

Aug 2016- Sept 2016 I Witness, Photography exhibition, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, Award- Best in Show

Nov. 2015-March 2016  After the Moment Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Oct. 2015- Jan. 2016  Photography Since the Millennium, Carnegie Center, Indiana

Feb. 2015 Reference, Work House Art Center, Lorton, Virginia

Professional Memberships

SPE-Society of Photographic Education

AAUW American Association of University Women

Selected Lectures

Aug. 2016 Visiting Artist Presentation, Taigh Chearsabhagh Art Center, Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist, Scotland

March 2016  Lost in a Doocot, Visiting Artist Presentation, Say Hello to Architecture conference, The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture, Glasgow, Scotland

Jan. 2015  Inside and Outside Gallery Space,Creating Visual Narrative, Lecture, NOVA, Woodbridge, VA

Nov. 2014  Activating Public Space, Respondent/lecture, Creative Time Summit: Public Art Agency, 21C, Louisville, KY

Sept. 2014  Art as Social Practice, Art on Campus and the Future of Public Art in Louisville, Lecture, Public Art and The City 2014, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

April 2014 Visiting Artist and Lecture, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York

Nov. 2013   Inside and Outside of Gallery Spaces, Subjective Narratives, Lecture, The Intimate Archive, Oxford University, School of Modern Languages, England

May 2012  Roundtable: Documenting Ghost Signs: Deciphering the Traces of Another Era Discussion, Ideas To Action i2a Institute Critical Thinking Innovations Conference speaker with Rachel Howard and Amy Purcell, University of Louisville Shelby Campus

March 2012 ‘Making Connections: Using Art to Empower and Heal,” Lecture with Amerisa Waters, 2nd Global Conference: Trauma: Theory and Practice, Prague, Czech Republic

Feb. 2008 The Frozen Car, Lecture to students and Faculty, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

July 2006 The American Art Fair, The Humanities Conference, University of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia

July 2006 The American Art Fair: Management Conference, Monash University Center, Prato, Italy