Mary Welcome (Palouse, Washington) is a multidisciplinary cultural worker collaborating with communities towards cultural empowerment in rural and under-recognized landscapes. Her work is conversational and research-based, in response to the social, built, and natural environments we situate ourselves within. She collaborates with local schools, city councils, civic groups, arts organizations, youth groups, summer camps, libraries, neighbors, and friends to build cooperative environments that encourage civic engagement, radical education, and community progress.
Mary brings a nuanced perspective to the contemporary field, as an artist-activist working in service to small towns, as a cultural producer across American geographies, and as facilitator of entrenched place-based arts programming. Her practice is focused on rural cultural advocacy and building community through arts initiatives. Studio projects and social programming go hand-in-hand to create radical contemporary dialogue in unexpected situations.
She believes in small towns, long winters, optimists, parades, and talking about feelings.
FIELDWORK Q&A – May 2020
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork is the environment where my projects are situated. Whether social, environmental, physical, or conceptual, fieldwork is the guiding principle and establishes a culture of care and attention for the site or community. Fieldwork is the practice of looking and listening, reading between the lines, a slow and steady with.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
Data is a storyteller and the more we can build language from conversational data, human-metrics, empathetic mathematics, the closer we are to telling the truth.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I’m working on an extensive archive and indexing of my social practice on my website.