Mary Gilkerson was born in Columbia, South Carolina and grew up exploring the woods, creeks, and marshes. That passion for the natural world and grounding in place is an ongoing part of her work. Mary studied drawing and painting at the University of South Carolina where she received both her BFA and MFA. In addition to gallery and museum exhibitions as well as inclusion in private and corporate collections, Gilkerson has been recognized for excellence in teaching by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU). She has received grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties in addition to having been selected as a Southern Arts Federation Fellowship Finalist. Recently Mary served as artist-in-residence at the Congaree National Park where she completed a large-scale mural for the Harry Hampton Visitors Center.
After serving on the art faculty at Columbia College for over 20 years, Mary has created her own series of workshops and online courses that teach people how to make their own paintings come alive and bring balance to their creative careers.