Mara Smith - Brick Sculptor    □   Recognition
Anatole front
Exterior of the Anatole Hotel, Dallas TX; this commission brought more work in its wake


Since her stellar entry into the brick-sculpting field with the Anatole Hotel commission Mara has executed over 350 brick murals and free-standing carvings.

Mara Smith has been described as "The pioneer of modern brick sculpture" by the Brick Institute of America, and has been a pivotal player in the recent renaissance of brick carving. Indeed a number of practising brick sculptors today were launched into their speciality by seeing her work. The Anatole Hotel in particular (although her first major work) has been influential. “I discovered brick in 1978 or ‘79 at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas,” recalls one artist, “I saw these two outdoor panels and went berserk. ‘How is this done?’ I had to know...”

The Smithsonian Museum of American Art maintains a catalog of significant public works by American artists. Seven of Mara Smith's works are listed in their catalog. These are:
"Fire theme", 1981 Tulsa, OK
"Townspeople" 1982, Atlanta, GA
"Gazelle Keeper" 1982, Atlanta, GA
"Reflections" 1982, Reading, PA
"Celestial Sun & Moon" 1985, Bethesda, MD
"First Hill Medical Center" 1988, Seattle WA
"Nature of the Northwest" 1993, Lynnwood, WA

You can see the full records, with descriptions of the works, at:
Smithsonian Siris database


Nordstrom entry Nordstrom detail
Details from Nordstrom Mall entry, San Mateo, CA. Patterns of bending tree trunks, and waterside plants.

Mara has carved panels for a number of building projects which have won architecture awards, including the African Journey Pavilion, Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Mara's work is recommended by various brick and architecture professionals. She is a founding member of the National Association of Women in Masonry (NAWM) and carved NAWM's original logo (in brick, of course!).

Mara has been a featured artist in Home & Garden TV's Master Artist series. She appears in Placemakers: Creating Public Art That Tells You Where You Are by Ronald Lee Fleming. Her works are featured in the Seattle Arts Commission's Field Guide to Seattle's Public Art, and in the online guide to Seattle Outdoor Art, among other publications.

Awarded the Distinguished Alumna of Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX 1985

Selected Bibliography
Brolin, Brent C. and Jean Richards.
Sourcebook of Architectural Ornament:
Designers, Craftsmen, Manufacturers and Distributors of Custom and Ready-Made
Exterior Ornament. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982.
Fleming, Ronald Lee and Renata von Tscharner, with George Melrod.
Place Makers: Public Art That Tells You Where You Are.
New York: Hastings House, 1981
Redstone, Louis G. Masonry in Architecture.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.

Lincoln Zoo panel
Panel from the Lincoln Zoo Reptile House.