City, State, Country:
Nashville, TN, USA
Fiber Arts, Printmaking, Illustration, Animation
As an artist, my work is driven largely by themes of communication, discovery, exploration, and interaction. I am interested in the ways in which we navigate and generate spaces - whether physical, digital, or cultural - to create our own marks on culture, identity, and expression. My work investigates these themes through actions that create space for dialogue. This work takes place by documenting vital conversations within communities, creating physical space for collaborative creativity and conversation, and/or in building interactive experiences designed to unite audiences and provide them with the tools to share their own voices and hold ownership within place, culture, and forward progression. Intentionality with site-specific elements - flora, terrain, and communal engagement - is a vital element; engaging this language, symbolism, and reflection leads to the creation of artifacts in the form of printmaking, drawing, fiber arts, and assemblage intended to be handled, engaged, and dispersed into the community as objects of use. By becoming accessible and utilitarian in purpose (as opposed to sterile exclusivity of the "gallery piece"), I hope that the everyday engagement of an object can generate a series of interactions that serve to call into question our assumptions about cultural dominance, place, and identity, and open us into the realm of rethinking and possibility. The audience is asked to step into the role of cultural archivist, and identify what elements of themselves and their world they deem important and valuable to preserve; I serve as facilitator and creative mediary to make it possible.
Megan Kelley's career includes a diverse and thorough approach to the arts. Inviting others into collaboration, curiosity, and cross-pollination, Kelley helps create immersive, interactive spaces for dialogue, design thinking, and connection. Kelley’s civic and social practice work focuses on sustainability for artists at all levels, through creative placemaking, civic consulting, community development, advocacy, equitable access, and mentorship, with a focus on building and activating creative community workspaces. They are a graduate of The Learning Lab, the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership Institute, and Vanderbilt's Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture, and a member of the Metro Nashville Committee for Antiracism and Racial Equity. As the ArtLab Community Artist in Residence at Vanderbilt's The Wondr'y, Kelley helps create spaces of engagement and creative disruption, while mentoring students in the intersections of creativity, technology, and innovation. Driven by themes of communication and borderlands archivism, their work with The Inbound Lands explores the ways in which people of color (especially those of mixed descent) navigate, generate, and hold space for cultural memory, traditional practices, place, and leadership in forward progress. They have been pleased to connect with corporate spheres in pursuit of meaningful design, including work for clients such as Toyota Prius, NRDC, RedBull, USAID, The Ad Council, The FBI, and Harvard University, among others. They have been honored to serve in civic and social practice work for Metro Nashville, The City of Hodgenville, the Lexington Art League, ArtWorks, Creative Mornings, Ryman Lofts, The Housing Foundation, the internationally acclaimed Circuit Benders Ball, and others. As an activator of physical space, they have been pleased to work in administrative capacities with makerspaces and creative coworking spaces such as the Innovation Incubator makerspace with the Adventure Science Center, designing innovative STEAM-based curriculum for ages “Pre-K to Grey!”; with Platetone Printmaking, Paper and Book Arts as an active instructor and member of the Board; and as a co-founder of Make Nashville and previous boardmember and Community Liaison. And, as a public speaker on equitable creative practice within the arts ecosystem, they are honored to have been asked to speak with audiences including The Frist, Vanderbilt, University of Iowa, Belmont University, Postmates, Pecha Kucha, The Carnegie Writers Group, The Arts and Business Council, and more. They are proud to serve as a community ambassador to Nashville’s vibrant artist culture. As a studio practice, their portfolio includes venues and collections both locally and internationally; their work has been shown in venues within Cambridge, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Calgary, Seattle, San Francisco, Paris, and Lexington, among others, and resides in various academic, institutional, and private collections. As an arts reporter, Kelley writes for arts journals and news outlets across the American Southeast and works as a sketchnote artist, live-documenting contemporary dialogues about equity, policy, and community within the arts, tech industries, and social justice fields.
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