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Karen McCoy, Professor, has been a member of the Kansas City Art Institute faculty since 1994 and was Chair for a decade. Prior to teaching in Kansas City, she was on the faculty of Williams College, in Williamstown Massachusetts and at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978. Her primary work is large-scale site responsive sculpture. McCoy focuses on the relationship between nature and culture, creating work based on extensive research into current ecological conditions, and the natural, cultural, and social histories of each site. Her most recent project Consuming Questions includes hundreds of consumer goods encased Missouri mud and portrayed as an arrested landslide or avalanche. Her research for this piece included a personal experience with a landslide while on a recent sabbatical in Italy, and continued study on the cause and effect of global climate change, including our role in its precipitation.

While on sabbatical in 2014 McCoy attended and presented her work at the Soil Culture Forum at Falmouth University in the UK and was invited to participate in Footwork, the research group of the Walking Artists Network, at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. Other recent projects have included Sound and Sight Walks in New York’s Central Park with the Walk Exchange New York and Parson’s New School, and in Delphi, Greece at the Made of Walking Symposium. McCoy’s has been shown across the United Stated, in Europe and Asia. 

In 2017 Karen McCoy was awarded a Charlotte Street Visual Artists Award in Kansas City, MO and was Visual Artist for the Land Institute, creating a site specific collaborative exhibition and walking art project for the  Prairie Fest. In 2015 she was granted the Special Project Award from the Kansas City Art Institute and the Distinguished Achievement Award there in 2011. She received a three-month grant from the Asian Cultural Council in 2007 to conduct research in Japan on the relationship of culture, landscape, and built form. McCoy received support to participate in the Creative Capitol Professional Development Program in 2007 sponsored by the Kansas City Metropolitan Arts Council, Charlotte Street Foundation, and the Mid-America Arts Alliance Headquarters in Kansas City. McCoy received support from the Andy Warhol Foundation (2000) under the auspices of the Camargo Foundation for a three-month Artist Residency in Cassis, France; from ArtsLink a program of CEC International Partners: National Endowment for the Arts, Open Society Institute  NY, Soros Centers for Contemporary Arts, Ohio Arts Council, Kettering fund, and Trust for Mutual Understanding, in support of the collaborative project in Lithuania at Europos Parkas (1998). She has had other residencies at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming (2001); Youkobo and Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, Japan, Artist Residency, Asian Cultural Council; Presentation & Open Studio Asian Cultural Council, New York, NY; Fellowship, Artist Residency
Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA, Fellowship for digital editing and large format printing; Randolph Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, VA, Lecture; and Djerassi Foundation, Pritzker Foundation Endowed Fellowship, June 2000, Woodside, CA. 

Karen McCoy’s work has been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine (2010, 1996), the New York Times (1993, ‘96), The Dallas Times Herald (1989), and the Philadelphia Enquirer (1986) among others. Her work is been written about in books including Ways to Wander, 2015, published in  the UK by Triarchy; World of Art, Henry Sayre (6th Ed. 2010, 7th Ed 2012); Gardens without Boundaries, Paul Cooper (2003); Earthworks and Beyond, John Beardsley (3rd Ed. 1998); and Landscape Narratives, Matthew Potteiger and Jamie Purinton (1998). Significant articles about her work have appeared in Lake (2008), in Land Forum Magazine (1999), in the Land Report (1996) and in Art and Design; Art and the Natural Environment (1994). Her work is in the Oppenheimer Collection at the Nerman Contemporary Museum of Art, Overland Park, KS and featured in the catalogue of that collection.