Katy McCarthy reflects on St. Elmo residency and teaching at UT

Established in a partnership between the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Department of Art and Art History, the St. Elmo Arts Residency offers one newly-minted MFA artist a fellowship each academic year. Within that fellowship, each artist is given use of a house in South Austin, studio space, a stipend, teaching experience and a solo exhibition at the Wildflower Center. This year’s artist-in-residence, Katy McCarthy is an alumna of Hunter College’s MFA program.

As part of her residency, McCarthy was given the time, space, and access to materials and equipment to advance both her practice and pedagogy. In the Fall of 2018, she taught Expanded Media II/III at The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Art and Art History as she worked toward her solo exhibition. McCarthy has always aspired to teach at the college level; being the St. Elmo artist-in-residence has given her a chance to learn—iteratively, together with her students—the capacity of new media software and technologies.

"This experience [as the St. Elmo artist-in-residence] is significant for a myriad of reasons. Teaching a course in a discipline I work in and I am interested in has allowed me to really focus on creating a great course while not getting burnt out," McCarthy said.
two images side by side of new media work

Image Left: Fall 2018 final project, Junior Itamar Benitez
Image Right: Fall 2018 final project, Senior Katie Broyles

With a background rooted in experimental and narrative short video, McCarthy’s work is currently video and sculpture-based. This interdisciplinary focus and keenness toward material exploration has translated into her teaching, where McCarthy and her students worked in 3D animation and augmented reality to think of how these new technologies relate to the human body while considering narrative flow and content.

“This learning seeps into my own practice. It's also super inspiring to see the work my students present at critiques. They are so talented, it motivates me to make my own work," McCarthy said.

From UT Austin to the Wildflower Center, being immersed in these rich resource environments has helped McCarthy as she works on her solo exhibition set to open on April 25, 2019.

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