Katy McCarthy Awarded UT’s First Ever St. Elmo Arts Residency


It’s a sweet gig.

Artist Katy McCarthy is the first recipient of the St. Elmo Arts Residency and fellowship, a new opportunity established by the University of Texas’ Department of Art and Art History and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

The residency and fellowship offers a newly minted M.F.A. artist — from any university and working in any media — a $30,000 stipend and nine months of studio and living space in the St. Elmo district of South Austin.

The residency takes place over the 2018-19 academic year and will include a solo exhibition at the Wildflower Center. The artist will also teach one studio art class per semester at UT and teach two workshops at the Wildflower Center.

St. Elmo Residency house and studio compound

“McCarthy works in the realm of video performance, but true to her degree moniker, she often makes installations for her films to exist in their perfect world,” said Jack Risely, chair of the art and art history. “She is an exciting artist, and we are thrilled by the prospect of having her as part of our community for the next year.”

McCarthy’s recent films revolve around female historical figures for whom she imagines conversations for whom she imagines conversations that span the centuries. In one, Mary Todd Lincoln frets about overspending the congressional budget as she redecorates the White House; in another, Manet’s muse/model admits to her nervous breakdown in a Skype chat.

Most recently McCarthy has focused her research-based practice on the narratives of First Ladies. During her St. Elmo Residency, she will deepen that exploration through a focus on former first lady Lady Bird Johnson as part of her collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Watch: Katy McCarthy’s “Mary Todd Lincoln or Why I Couldn’t Finish the Video in Time” 

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