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Katie Grace McGowan explores empathy and affect through a variety of media. In addition to her individual practice, which is often essayistic in nature, she is a co-founding member of an amorphous education collective called FREE @RT Sch001.
McGowan is engaged in genre-bending performance, writing creative nonfiction, and working as an amateur private eye. Her practice is rooted in participatory observation, or what Katie calls invisible theater, through which she explores the boundaries of mind/body discipline and ideology. By conducting invisible theatre experiments—whether posing as the next cosmetic surgery victim or a hapless traveler looking for God —she is given entrée into cultures far removed from her own. These inquiries are then processed through a variety of media.
McGowan earned an M.F.A. from The University of Iowa in Intermedia and M.A./B.A. degrees from Wayne State University (Detroit) in Creative Writing and English, respectively. Recent residencies include Craft Advanced Research Projects Agency | CARPA, (Joshua Tree, CA); Udruga Filmaktiv (Rijeka, Croatia); and Prostor Plus (Rijeka, Croatia).
From the summer of 2011 through early ‘14, McGowan worked as Curator of Education & Public Engagement at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), where she was also program coordinator for the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead. In the last few years, McGowan taught sculpture at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, with Chido Johnson, lead a graduate seminar in creative writing at Eastern Michigan University, and co-founded an art services firm. She currently works as Associate Director of Programs at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America.