Better Festival's Featured Artist, betterArts Resident Mary Negro

Drawings made of Sharpie ink on an index card. Each is approximately 3 x 2.5 inches.  
BetterArts resident Mary Negro will be Better Festival's featured artist in the Art Barn this Saturday, June 21, from 12-8 p.m.

Mary is a born-and-bred Connecticut girl living and working in New York City. She has degrees from Fordham University's College of Rose Hill and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her chief artistic pursuits involve drawings and collage; both focusing primarily on her feelings toward technology, the media, and digital methods of communication. Mary works by day as gallery manager at the Brooklyn Art Space and Trestle Gallery; and though her worked is steeped in art and she has a studio space in Brooklyn that she uses regularly, Mary sought additional time and space to focus on her work.

"For the past few years," she told us, "I have been balancing multiple jobs while receiving a master's degree in art-market studies. These experiences have been extremely rewarding, but it has been difficult to maintain a continual, rigorous practice... I am at a crucial point in my career where I really need to delve into projects that have been brewing in my mind for over a year. Further, I would absolutely love the opportunity to escape New York City and spend time at a rural farm that highlights the arts and sustainability. It will be a welcome change of pace and environment that I really believe will invigorate my practice. I think the betterArts dual-purpose mission is very interesting and I would love to participate in all of the programs you offer."

Mary has been extremely active at the farm since her arrival June 9. In addition to all the art she's producing, she's kept busy by helping to paint siding for a house, planting Brussels sprouts, boating and swimming in local lakes, helping to prepare for the festival this weekend, and helping with the rehabilitation process of our rescue hens.

At Better Festival this weekend, you'll have the opportunity to check out some completed works and works-in-progress to learn more about Mary's creative process.

"The crux of my work lies in an unease of how information is filtered and distributed," Mary told us. "I always use commonplace materials, like crayon, Sharpie and newspaper—and I typically work both sides of the surface. The scale references the size of my cell phone. I aim to visualize a tenuous relationship between the amount of information readily available at our fingertips and the amount of information we encounter that is obscured, censored, or just plain false.

Here's her work station in the Art Barn:

...and a couple works-in-progress:

Learn more about Mary at her website, For more information about the betterArts Residency Program, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.