Columbus makes art presents Mary Ann Krago: a lifelong artist and librarian weaves a story through fine art

“When something really works or is super interesting, you just know it.”

– Mary Ann Krago, Painter

Westgate and Hilltop artist Mary Ann Krago has worked all her life. Now that she has recently retired from her career at the Columbus Library in Sofia, she can focus on her art. Among the upcoming shows and events this summer and fall, Crago will be the supplier of Summer Jam West on July 9th.

Data: How has your life as a librarian affected your art?
Mary Ann: I don’t know if I’ve always recognized how it works, but I think that with the development of my work, something that has come out in recent years is that there is a story. Since I’ve been a children’s librarian for so many years, there’s probably some influence, and I like that. I don’t always know what the story is; it develops with the development of the songs, but I like that there is a story to tell or the viewer has the opportunity to decipher what is happening in the song.

Data: You seem to enjoy the research while working on something.
Mary Ann: I like the finished pieces, but I’m super inspired by the process, both the technical process of doing things and trying something out. I really like how it turns out, but I like the evolution of the song. I don’t mind that I don’t know what it will look like in the end. This is an interesting way to watch it develop.

Data: How do you describe your art?
Mary Ann: [Laughing] Forever changing! Even the work I will have at this year’s festivals and shows is different from what I have done in recent years. I feel like I’m coming back and looking at things. I was a great artist while I was in school [at CCAD]inspired by the landscape, but not traditional, still very experimental.

I moved on to small prefabricated parts and experimented with different techniques, and now I’m back and just painting again. I think part of that is that I nurture whatever that little creative spark is in me; whatever helps me get it out.

I’m really intrigued by trees, birds and nature, but I also love old photos – juxtaposing these really beautiful settings with other elements that don’t quite fit, or that can generate a bit of storytelling.

Work of Mary Ann Krago
Work of Mary Ann Krago
Work of Mary Ann Krago
The artist Mary Ann Krago will be the seller of Summer Jam West on July 9.

Data: When you are trying to collect things that do not quite fit, what are you looking for
Mary Ann: I think it’s just experimenting and researching what happens when it’s like, “What if I put this thing on this piece,” and then I just do it; to follow this and not listen to “Oh, that would be weird” or “This isn’t going to look that great”, but just do it and see what happens. And my favorite thing is when you do it and when you’re just like, “Oh, my God.” I don’t know how to describe this moment, but when something really works or is super interesting, you just know it.

Data: What do you hope retirement will mean for your art?
Mary Ann: I love the idea of ​​being able to create whenever I want, without limiting myself to a certain number of hours during the day or week. I’m also excited to have enough time to let ideas build and develop. This impulse – sometimes I feel like I have a limited amount of time, ideas can’t be developed in any way – can be built into this even bigger thing, so I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m excited about being able to do more shows, maybe take lessons, try media I’ve never tried before.

Data: What is the best thing about Columbus’ art scene right now?
Mary Ann: It’s so active. There are so many people who make things happen. I feel like we live in a community that supports the arts – people go to shows, go to festivals and events, buy art. I feel that Columbus is very supportive of his artists and creators.

Hilltop Arts Collective is a non-profit organization dedicated to the transfer of art and the promotion of the arts in Hilltop. Summer Jam West, its annual festival of arts and music, will be held at Westgate Park on July 9 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s free and welcome to all!

Columbus makes gifts of art is a two-week column provided to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and developing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus Campaign, which tells inspiring stories of the people and organizations that make Columbus’ art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at

Leave a Comment