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Photo by Amery Kessler

MARY JANE WARD (b 1983, in Eugene, Oregon) is an artist based in Columbus, Ohio. A draftswoman and painter, Mary Jane prefers to work from life, finding the most inspiration in the presence of her subjects, whether sitting in a studio with a model or still life, or immersing herself in a landscape—en plein air. Many cross country road trips have inspired her plein air work. Mary Jane has taught portrait, figure, and studio landscape, and plein air landscape painting classes at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, and landscape painting classes for the Grand Central Atelier's part-time program. She has taught a master copy class for a small group of painters at the Columbus Museum of Art. She has given drawing and painting demonstrations for many Central Ohio art clubs and groups, including Central Ohio Watercolor Society, Ohio Pastel Artists League, The Riffe Gallery, The Columbus Museum of Art in conjunction with their Ohio Plein Air Society show, and at the Cultural Arts Center as a part of the Columbus Arts Festival. 

Mary Jane had a ten year career as a professional dancer, dancing for classical ballet companies as well as small modern companies, individual choreographers and interdisciplinary projects, including Ballet West, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Ballet Memphis, Ballet Idaho/Eugene Ballet, and Gleich Dances in New York City. She has also worked with her partner, artist Amery Kessler, assisting with the production of some of his interactive, relational artworks. 

Mary Jane studied drawing and painting at the Grand Central Atelier in New York City, under Jacob Collins from 2012-2015. The program is a collaborative studio space, pursuing the methodology of historic ateliers to create drawing, painting and sculpture from life. Mary Jane was a recipient of The Hudson River Fellowship in 2015 and in 2021. In 2017 she was one of three artists in residence at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, in Bainbridge, Ohio. She is the recipient of several Artists in the Community grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and serves as a Trustee for the Ohio Plein Air Society. Mary Jane’s work has been shown at Eleventh Street Arts in New York City, The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, The Columbus Museum of Art, The Riffe Gallery (Columbus, OH), The Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH), The Southern Ohio Museum (Portsmouth, OH), and Keny Galleries (Columbus, OH). She is represented by Keny Galleries.


Plein air at Plum Point, near the Hudson River, 2022.

Photo by Amery Kessler.

Portrait drawing demo at Grand Central Atelier Open Studio 2014.

Photo by Mariana Hernandez-Rivera.


Ciel Studio at La Porte Peinte Artist Residency, Noyers sur Serein, France. 2023.

Photo by Amery Kessler.

Teaching a drawing workshop at TAMUK, 2013.

Photo by Amery Kessler.

Gleich Dances.1
Gleich Dances.3
Gleich Dances.2

Mary Jane Ward and Claire McKeveny (Schaal) dancing for Julia Gleich at Camp Pocket Utopia, Rouses Point, NY, 2011. Video stills.

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