Woodbury’s Mary Ann Morgan is an artist and creative entrepreneur best known for her vibrant floral and abstract paintings, as well as her fused glass compositions. Since 2015, her work has been on display at Gallery Immaginé, a co-operative space located within the Northrup King Building, a major Northeast Minneapolis creative hub. This month, Morgan will join more than 250 artists there as part of the venue’s annual, three-day fall showcase known as Art Attack.
In addition to Gallery Immaginé, Morgan’s work has also found a home at Woodbury’s Kelley Gallery and adorns the walls of many businesses and homes in the community. Among the many local and national awards Morgan has received over the past two decades, her most recent was a People’s Choice Award at the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s annual Art in Bloom competition last spring. While Morgan’s success leaves little doubt as to whether she has earned herself the title of artist, there were many years where she did not see herself as such. “Art was what I did when I had my special, mom-time,” says Morgan, a mother of two. “I often took art classes or workshops in the evenings when my husband came home from work.”
This lifelong dedication to learning has allowed her to expand her repertoire of techniques over the years. She is now adept in a broad range of art forms and media including woodcarving, stained glass, oil painting, floral design, ceramics, watercolor and even photography. Recently, she was inspired to combine her two primary media—fused glass and acrylic paint—resulting in a dazzling and uniquely textured form of hybrid composition.
Morgan places the moment she went from student of art to artist back to 1995: the year her painting, “Sapphire Reef" received an honorable mention at the Minnesota State Fair Fine Art Competition. On the heels of this win, Morgan sold her first two paintings for approximately $1,250 apiece and received several commissions for new custom work. “That’s when I first saw my hobby as an opportunity,” she says.
Commissions have always been at the core of Morgan’s artistic enterprise, and she views this fact through a pragmatic lens. “You have to sell your art, so that you can buy more supplies so that you can make more art. A lot of artists won’t do [commissions], but I like knowing that someone is enjoying my painting in their home or office.” It certainly helps that Morgan’s aesthetic is always in high demand. She describes her paintings as “bright and colorful, [without] any heavy, deep messages behind them,” a style which Morgan has recently discovered is also a great fit for adult art education.
Last spring, Morgan launched her own itinerant painting party business, in response to the ever-growing enthusiasm for events that meld art education with a night-on-the-town atmosphere. Her first event, held at O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Woodbury last April, was such a hit that guests signed up for the next one before it was even scheduled. She has since hosted parties at Moose Lake Brewing Company in northern Minnesota and at private residences. Morgan provides materials for up to 40 guests, plus step-by-step instructions and individualized support adapted for all experience levels. She observes that people have the most success—and fun—in replicating her more “abstract and free-form works.” “It leaves a lot of room for self-expression,” she says. “People get a chance to play with the paint and really surprise themselves.”
Mary Ann Morgan’s artwork will be on display at:
November 3-5 at the Northrup King Building.
To schedule a painting party with Morgan, go to the website here.