Environmental Artist

Mattingly is known for her large-scale art installations that address ecology like a mobile, free public food forest on a barge in New York City and an education center for estuarial plants in the UK. Her photographs and sculptures are represented by the Robert Mann Gallery in New York.

She is also a sought-after lecturer and speaker throughout the world.

1 of 5

Above: Swale is an edible landscape on a barge in New York City. Docked at public piers but following waterways common laws, Swale circumnavigates New York's public land laws, allowing anyone to pick free fresh food. Swale instigated and co-created the "foodway" in 2017. The "foodway" is the first time New York City Parks is allowing people to publicly forage in over 100 years. Over 264,000 people have visited Swale since 2016, attended its workshops, and picked food. They have learned about care for the water and soil, recycling, and conserving natural resources. Swale is currently undergoing a redesign. The new structure will focus on saline farming and salt-tolerant agroforestry.

Help Support Swale

Environmental Art Lecturer

Mary Mattingly is frequently asked to speak at events, colleges and universities around the world on the role of art in environmental awareness.

Invite Mary To Speak

Recent Lectures


"Night of Philosophy and Ideas", at the Brooklyn Public Library. Mary, the 2020 artist in residence, designed this sculpture and spoke at the event. Photo by:

Telephotography, FotoFocus, OH

April 2022, Mary participated in FotoFocus, a photography conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, she was part of a panel discussion questioning the relevance of discerning between a center and a remote location. Mary spoke about her research work specific to the photography supply chain, the parts of the camera, the mining, production, and distribution of the elements that make the camera, film, and paper she prints on, describing the interconnectivity of places surrounding the production of photography.

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts, MA

In March 2022, Mary lectured about several ecologically-focused artworks that function as a type of soft activism that bridge concerns and communities, as part of a week-long environmental art symposium. Mary spoke about bundling the objects in her possession into large sculptures and pulling them through New York City in absurd performances that emphasize the emotional weight of those objects. She spoke about spectacle, public performance, and art as a regenerative act.

University of Cincinnati, OH

In February 2022, Mary presented her artwork to students and faculty at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, for a lecture geared towards undergraduate and graduate students that took place over zoom. She described the importance of balancing public art projects with photography and storytelling.

CalArts, CA

In January 2022, Mary lectured at CalArts about ecological art projects as part of a curriculum that focused on imagined futures curriculum hosted by several faculty. Mary focused on co-creating regenerative culture through art, collective world-building, and talked in depth about specific projects, including the Flock House, Swale, Waterpod, Wading Bridge, and Pull in Havana.

Fordham University, NY

Mary lectured about her community based, local art projects at Fordham University in March 2022. She focused on the Swale project, a floating food forest that docked near Fordham University at Concrete Plant Park and specific community groups she worked with in order to complete the project, as well as the effects the project had on New York City Park land. Mary also focused on the Waterpod project, a precursor to Swale, one that helped to identify many community groups.

Oxford University in the UK

In 2016 Mary spoke at Oxford University in the UK about photography and environmental public art, and the power of art. 

National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

At the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia Mary spoke about her work with the US Department of State through a project called smArtpower, and how she facilitated the making of a collaborative sculpture based on a project called Wearable Portable Architecture. She also spoke about bundling the objects in her possession to make statements about her personal consumption and waste, and how to co-build meaningful actions in the world.

Alaska Design Forum, Anchorage Museum, AK

As part of Alaska Design Forum, Mary traveled to several cities and towns in Alaska including Anchorage at the Anchorage Museum, AK. Her lectures included public artworks such as Waterpod, Wetland, and Wearable Homes.

Harvard University Graduate School of Education

In 2014, with Art21s Jess Hamlin, Mary lectured at Harvard University Graduate School of Education on topics of arts-based research, public engagement and social practice in the arts, and looking towards art in the Anthropocene.

See Full Lecture Bibliography

1 of 3