Back to Arts

Mary Mann named muralist of the month

Tacoma Art Group's inaugural honor goes to teacher

Mary Mann created this awesome mural on the side of the Antique Sandwich Co. near Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Tacoma Art Group - or TAG to the cool kids - is a conglomeration of Tacoma's museums, galleries, artists and other artsy goodness that has set out to support Tacoma's arts scene. Its latest artsy razzmatazz sees TAG highlighting a mural/public art artist monthly and his or her contributions to the community. With this new form of recognition, TAG hopes to bring more attention to local muralists and public artists as well as their awesome dedication to the community.

Tacoma native Mary Mann, TAG's very first Mural/Public Artist of the Month, was selected for May 2013.

"TAG chose Mary due to her specific dedication, both collaborative and individual to mural projects throughout the city of Tacoma," says Gary Boone, TAG co-president. "We love that Mary teaches art, and has worked on a number of varied mural projects."

Mann now teaches art at the Science and Math Institute High School in Tacoma, but worked for more than 20 years as a freelance artist. She started with greeting cards, illustration and others works that could at least fit on a tabletop, but branched into murals up to 110 feet long - because sometimes there's just not enough room to express yourself on a greeting card.

"I am inspired by the work of the masters, especially allegorical paintings," says Mann. "I like to create work that has a narrative quality. Capturing light on form is a challenge I never get tired of. I am very attracted to pattern and enjoy painting in a way that has a sense of realism with mystical subject matter."

While Mann has worked in several media, her murals are likely her most visible contributions to Tacoma, and include murals for Tacoma Little Theater, Stadium District, Foss High School and Children's Museum of Tacoma. She also created the two Native American mermaids on the side of Antique Sandwich Co., as well as another piece made up of 96 carved and glazed tiles just across the street. Her SAMI students helped with that one and their names are all impressed into the clay of the bottom right tile.

In short, you've seen Mann's murals even if you didn't know you had.

"Every project has to start with brainstorming and sketches," she says of her process. "I play with composition with tracing overlays, then develop preliminary drawings for my clients. Whenever I am painting a large-scale mural, I always paint a small study, usually about one inch to one foot scale. If everything is worked out perfectly on a small study, the large painting will go very smoothly. It is just a matter of measurements, and enlarging to scale."

Of all her pieces so far, she names the Historical Stadium District Mural as her most difficult, just because it was her first public mural. This one, she completed in 1995 with the help of other local muralists, Joni Joachims and Josh Keyes. And, as luck would have it, the mural is now mostly covered up by a building on the corner of Tacoma Avenue and Division.

These days, she spends most of her time focused on her students and helping them plan their projects, but she's also partnered with other Tacoma Public Schools art teachers in a project called The Young Creative, which puts together shows and exhibits works from emerging artists. She's crossing her fingers that her future might include a project for the upcoming Tacoma McMenamins.

Read next close


Sweet prints

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search