Marie T. Cochran

Fall 2020–Spring 2021 Lehman Brady Professor

Born and raised in Toccoa, Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Marie T. Cochran is an artist, educator and writer. As a self-described cultural pollinator, she uses visual art to convene partnerships that ignite collaboration. Cochran is the founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project,  which celebrates the intersection of cultures in Appalachia and nurtures a network of individuals and organizations committed to the sustainability of a diverse region.

Cochran received degrees from the University of Georgia (BFA) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA). While pursuing her studio degree she was a graduate assistant in the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism as well as news editor for the award-winning student publication, F magazine. Cochran received a post-graduate NEA fellowship in museum education at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Cochran has been an art faculty member at educational institutions in Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina. Her Fall 2020 undergraduate and graduate course as the Lehman Brady Professor is “Arts & Culture of Black Appalachia: Race, Place, Community and Resilience.” Cochran will be teaching the course at Duke University (Center for Documentary Studies) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Department of American Studies) as part of the joint professorship.

As a visual artist, she creates mixed media pieces that address community history and are often grounded in interdisciplinary dialogues focused on social justice. Cochran has exhibited extensively throughout the Southeast and nationally. Selected venues include the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library & Museum, Austin, Texas; the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; and the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York City. Her work was recently included in the exhibition Appalachia Now! as part of the inaugural reopening of the Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, North Carolina.

Cochran's awards include a Georgia Council for the Arts individual artist's grant; a Mid-Atlantic Arts Council's "Artist as Catalyst" grant; NEA/Southern Arts Federation Sculpture Fellowship, NEA Fast-Track Challenge Grant and a grant from the “We Shall Overcome Fund” under the auspices of the Highlander Center for Research and Education, New Market, Tennessee.

Through her work, Cochran is actively involved in arts advocacy. She has been a featured speaker and artist-in-residence at numerous universities and conferences and has served on peer-review grant panels for the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Council and the Center for Craft in Asheville, North Carolina. Cochran's autobiographical essay, “I Pledge Allegiance to Affrilachia,” was a part of the Appalachia Reporting Project from the online publication Rewire.News, and she is included in Southern Women: More than 100 Stories of Innovators, Artists, and Icons, from the editors of Garden & Gun magazine (2019, Harper Wave/HarperCollins).

Photo credit: Sara Spivey Mills 

Marie Cochran standing behind a table. Photo credit: Sara Spivey Mills .