Alumni Profile: Mary Kay Davis

Vice President of Design and Management
French Fountains & Bella Dura
Baton Rouge, LA

Provide an educational background including professional experience.

Bachelor of Fine Art from Kansas State University. (1982)
Master of Fine Art from Louisiana State University. (1986)
Upon graduation from LSU I established my studio at home in Baton Rouge. I marketed work from my studio and with Wyndy Morehead Fine Art Gallery in New Orleans. I continued to exhibit works from newly developed collections through the juried museum exhibition circuit. Recognition from that venue brought the opportunity to have my work held in the permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute and a personal invitation to be an artist involved in the Art in American Embassies Program.

Concurrent with studio work, my interest in the relationship of industry and the arts led me to manufacturers of tile and architectural elements. My first position was designing tile and architectural elements for Duralin Tile. This forum inspired me to design, fabricate, and install ceramic and cast concrete murals. The scale and scope of my work grew to full room bas-relief installations.

Presently I am teaching three-dimensional clay design for Newcomb College at Tulane University and hold the position of Vice President of Design & Management for FF & BD, a division of French Fountains on Saint Charles Ave. in New Orleans. The work I do for French Fountains & Bella Dura Architectural Stone, entails full scale property design. Every element is appointed or designed specifically to create an environment reflective of the client’s individuality.

Atelier de Conception, my studio in Baton Rouge, is where I provide space, materials, and equipment to Tina Ufford, a clay artist, to create her work while continuing the produc- tion of my signature series.

Why did you choose LSU for your education?

I came to the LSU Clay Program because of Joe Bova and the program’s status within the top ten graduate programs in the United States. The diversity of artists and working in a studio comprised of ten graduate students provided a dynamic forum for exchange of creative knowledge. The vitality and success of the program is clearly reflected in alumni professional achievements.

How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?

The information exchange within such a dynamic group of graduate students and the ceramic program’s facility provided me the opportunity to hone skills of every type of fabrication technique in clay. Those skills translated to many types of manufacturing and building processes. The translation of idea into design, design to scale, the relationship of scale to environment, provided me the foundation and knowledge, which is critical to the success of the work I now produce for FF & BD and teach to my students at Tulane.

What current or past research and projects/exhibitions have you done?

My Master of Fine Art Degree from LSU has provided a broad based palette from which I work. Writing skills, management skills, and people skills coupled with the talent to visualize, fabricate, and bring a conception to viable product has resulted in many successes. One of the most rewarding projects has been the opportunity to give back to the College. In 2003, I completed a project with my distinguished committee members to enhance the atrium of the College of Art and Design. The atrium now is graced with original artwork reflective of the creative environment that serves as a public area for the students, faculty, and visitors to campus. It was a project that pioneered the procurement of work to be held in permanent collection by the College yet owned by the LSU Museum of Art.

This spring more than 50 LSU Clay Program Alumni have donated their works to gener- ate sales to support the final scholarship fund envisioned during Professor Joe Bova’s tenure at LSU. The fundraiser is fortune from many with the penchant for giving. This most recent project has been effortless due to the enthusiasm of fellow alumni, associates, and LSU supporters. The fundraising exhibition opened April 1, 2005 at Signature Shop & Gallery in Buckhead and traveled to the LSU School of Art Gallery at the Shaw Center in Baton Rouge.

What are your plans for the future?

Always create.