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Ellen McMahon

Associate Dean

Professor, Art

Art Bldg, Room 207D
520-621-1493

MFA – Vermont College, MS – University of Arizona

Ellen McMahon uses a range of media (artist books, writing, painting, drawing, photography, design and video) to investigate the relationship between visual art, daily life, and the ways we frame and study social and environmental problems.

McMahon came to the University of Arizona in 1980 to study Scientific Illustration (MS in Biology 1983). After several years of professional experience as an illustrator and graphic designer, she received an MFA in visual art (Vermont College, 1996) and was hired in a tenure track position in the UofA School of Art. Between 1990 and 2005 her work addressed the social and cultural construction of motherhood and the politics of intimacy in the mother-child relationship. Since 2005, fueled by her conviction that art and design are foundational in effecting positive change, she has developed a number of projects that support individual creative inquiry among her peers and students through interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships with community organizations.

In 2007 McMahon received a Fulbright Fellowship to work as an artist/designer with the Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans in Mexico and presented her work as a delegate to the World Design Congress (ICOGRADA) in Cuba.  From 2010-2012, she served as initiator and director of a collaborative faculty research project focused on regional water, which included 29 participants from art, design, humanities, the natural and social sciences, as well as city and regional water managers. The resulting book which McMahon art directed and co-edited, Ground|Water: Interdisciplinary Responses to a Dry River received national and international design awards and has been collected by over 40 public institutions worldwide.

McMahon’s artist books are in 15 public collections in several countries. Her visual work has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and in solo exhibitions “Redressing the Mother” at AIR Gallery in New York, “Maternal Matters” at Cal State San Marcos, and “In Nature | Of Nature | Perceptions of Place” at University of Wyoming. Her published writings include personal essays about motherhood, op-eds about design and the environment, and technical papers about scientific illustration.  Her autobiographic essays are published in Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood (Seven Stories Press, 2002), The Oldest We’ve Ever Been: Seven True Stories of Midlife Transition (University of Arizona Press, 2008), and The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art (Demeter Press, 2010). Her design work is featured in Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design, (MIT Press, 2002) and Graphic Design: Sustainable Principles and Practices, (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016).

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1 hour ago
Arizona Arts

This summer Michelle Fricker attended the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive, thanks to the support from the College of Fine Arts Medici Circle donors.

#MediciMondays

Michelle is an undergraduate student in the The University of Arizona School of Dance. She took various technique classes, learned LINES repertoire and studied the concepts and ideologies that the company practices.

“I took choreographic workshops by the faculty, company members and the one and only Alonzo King and even had a performance at the end of the intensive where I got to perform work choreographed by Carmen Rozestraten.”

The #MediciScholar program helped make one of her dreams become a reality.

“Growing up, I dreamed about going to intensives just like this one but could never afford it. Going to these summer programs is vital in a dancer's training in preparation for life post-graduation. Going to LINES exposed me to a new way of moving with emphasis on a specific quality and intention that I had not prioritized in my training prior. I will forever value the connections I made with dancers and faculty and the personal growth in dance I made over the three weeks I was there.”

“I would like to thank my donors: Ms. Silverman and Judge Smelkinson! Thank you for all you do for aspiring artists like myself. I am so grateful to have been able to go to San Francisco this summer and continue my dance research which was made possible due to your donation.”

To learn more about the program.
>> azart.fyi/MediciCircle

Thanks to donations made by generous #MediciCircle members, talented artist scholars like Michelle are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.
... See MoreSee Less

This summer Michelle Fricker attended the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive, thanks to the support from the College of Fine Arts Medici Circle donors. 

#MediciMondays 

Michelle is an undergraduate student in the The University of Arizona School of Dance. She took various technique classes, learned LINES repertoire and studied the concepts and ideologies that the company practices.

“I took choreographic workshops by the faculty, company members and the one and only Alonzo King and even had a performance at the end of the intensive where I got to perform work choreographed by Carmen Rozestraten.”

The #MediciScholar program helped make one of her dreams become a reality. 

“Growing up, I dreamed about going to intensives just like this one but could never afford it. Going to these summer programs is vital in a dancers training in preparation for life post-graduation. Going to LINES exposed me to a new way of moving with emphasis on a specific quality and intention that I had not prioritized in my training prior. I will forever value the connections I made with dancers and faculty and the personal growth in dance I made over the three weeks I was there.”

“I would like to thank my donors: Ms. Silverman and Judge Smelkinson! Thank you for all you do for aspiring artists like myself. I am so grateful to have been able to go to San Francisco this summer and continue my dance research which was made possible due to your donation.”

To learn more about the program.
>> https://azart.fyi/MediciCircle

Thanks to donations made by generous #MediciCircle members, talented artist scholars like Michelle are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.
4 days ago
Arizona Arts

We are thankful for our Arizona Arts family on campus, in our community and beyond. Have a happy, safe holiday weekend.

#beardown🐻⬇️

University of Arizona School of Art
The University of Arizona School of Dance
The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Arizona Arts Live
Center for Creative Photography
The University of Arizona Museum of Art
... See MoreSee Less

We are thankful for our Arizona Arts family on campus, in our community and beyond. Have a happy, safe holiday weekend. 

#beardown🐻⬇️

University of Arizona School of Art
The University of Arizona School of Dance
The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Arizona Arts Live
Center for Creative Photography
The University of Arizona Museum of Art
7 days ago
Arizona Arts

The dance majors at The University of Arizona School of Dance are more than performers! They are talented choreographers. Arise/Student Spotlight is an inspiring performance of student works, Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

azart.fyi/AriseTix

Photo by Ed Flores, featuring Jacob Amey and McKaylee True, Kennedy Frazier and Alexander Turner.
... See MoreSee Less

The dance majors at The University of Arizona School of Dance are more than performers! They are talented choreographers. Arise/Student Spotlight is an inspiring performance of student works, Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

https://azart.fyi/AriseTix

Photo by Ed Flores, featuring Jacob Amey and McKaylee True, Kennedy Frazier and Alexander Turner.
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