Artist Statement:

 Cat Peña’s artwork seeks to incite social change in hopes of bringing self awareness to the viewer and to our surrounding social structures. The essence of her work is situated in art happenings, installations, collaborations, performances, and social sculptures that intersect art, the everyday, and public space. Peña’s creative process includes concept driven research, collaboration and creative problem solving to set the perimeters of what is possible prior to determining how a piece may look or function. In the past five years her artwork has largely extended outside of gallery and museum settings in pieces that range from ephemeral, participatory, large temporary public artworks to creating platforms that explore collaborative practices within new genre public art. 


Recent subjects of interest are; tactics of play, generosity and reciprocity, sustainability,  humans relationship to the natural world, social justice, and public engagement.  



Cat Peña (BFA/MFA) is a working artist, art administrator, and independent public art consultant living in Memphis Tennessee. Her artwork seeks to incite social change in hopes of bringing self awareness to the viewer and to our surrounding social structures. Peña’s artwork has been exhibited in Seattle, New York, Chicago, Memphis, St. Louis, Boulder, Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Milwaukee.

Peña has received public art commissions from the Downtown Memphis Commission, UrbanArt Commission, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. In addition she was selected to attend an artist residency in New York City called City as Site at the School of Visual Arts.  In 2014 Peña founded a public art creative platform called Collabortory that expands public art practices through collaborative and social practices.


Curriculum Vitae:


- Memphis College of Art, Tennessee, M.F.A., 2006 - May 2008 

- University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri, B.F.A., 2000-2004




- 2017 ArtsAccelerator Grantee Exhibition, Memphis, TN, TBA 


- Your Light, Public Performance, The High Line, New York, NY, June 17th, 2016

- de | constructing home (exhibition take away), Clough-Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis TN,   Jan 2016


- Threshold, Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, Nov. 2015

- Public/Art/ists: Part I, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN, Feb. 2015


- Memphis Pulse: 2013 ArtsAccelerator Finalists, University of Memphis’ Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art, Nov. 2014


- Street Trash 2013, Traveling Truck show, Memphis, TN, May 10, 2013

- Present Tense: The Art of Memphis from 2001-Now, Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN


- The Car Show, Word of Mouth Detailing, Memphis, TN

- Invitational: Twenty Jurors, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL


- Fracking: Art and Activism Against the Drill, Exit Art, New York, NY 


- From the Center Now, hosted by the Women’s Caucus for Art, Juror: Lucy Lippard, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL 


- Faculty Exhibition, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN

- Interactive, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL 


- Green, Haven Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY

- External Structure, Caladan Gallery, Online Show 

- One Good Chair, Sustainable Furnishings Council, Las Vegas Market, Las Vegas, NV 

- Sculpted Green, Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition, City Hall concourse, Bellevue, WA 

- Solitary Tracks Stretched Out Upon the World, MFA Thesis Exhibition, On The Street Gallery, Memphis, TN 


- The Best Artworks of the Year-Class of 07’, Lantana Projects, Memphis, TN

- The Unfinished Journey of Carl Linnaeus, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO

- Fallen From View, Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis, TN 

- Selected Graduate Work, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN



- City as Site, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, June 2016 


Public Art Commissions

- There’s More To Be Proud Of, The Downtown Memphis Commission, Memphis, TN, Feb 2017-Feb. 2018

- How will you treat me?, Present Tense: The Art of Memphis from 2001-Now, Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN

- One Person, One Choice, Our Planet, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commission, 

  Clear the Air Champaign, Memphis, TN, April 28- June 3 2011

- Duv-tal, Interactions/ Interpretations, Urban Art Commissions, Memphis, TN, 2007- 2008


Professional Experience

- Creator/ Organizer of Collabortory, Nov. 2014- Present, Memphis, TN 

- Public Art Consultant for the South Main Mosaic Public Art Program, Downtown Memphis Commission, Feb. 2014  - Oct. 2014 

- Coordinator of Exhibitions and Lectures, Memphis College of Art, Aug. 2012 – June 2014 

- Co-producer of Park(ing) Day Memphis, 2011 and 2012

- Contributing Writer, Number INC - Issue No. 69: Memphis Regional Update, Nov. 2011

- Coordinator of Public Programs, Memphis College of Art, Oct. 2011 - Aug. 2012

- Community Art Workshop Coordinator, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Oct. 2009 – Dec. 2010 

- Adjunt Professor, Made Public, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN Fall 2009- Present

 - Adjunct Professor, 3-D Design, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN, Fall 2010 

- Adjunt Professor, Art Appreciation, Northwest Mississippi Community Collage, DeSoto, MS, Fall 2008 – Spring 2010 

- Administrative Assistant, the UrbanArt Commission, June 2008 - July 2009

- Personal Assistant to sculptor Roy Tamboli, Memphis, TN. May 2007 - Aug. 2008 

- Teaching Assistant, Idea, Process, and Criticism. Fall 2007 

- Teaching Assistant, Made Public, Memphis College of Art. Spring Semester 2007

- City of Columbia, Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Intern. Oct. 2004 - Aug. 2006



-  Survey 2: The Boundaries of Normal, Art Museum at the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, March- May   2017

- Blurring Dimensions, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN Aug. 15-Sept. 20, 2013

- Singular Masses: An examination of Racial Identity, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN  Jan. 23 – March 9, 2013

- The American Dream: a Juxtaposition, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, Jan. 21- Feb. 24


Public Speaking

- What is Public Art?, Memphis Art and Place Conference, The Memphis Center at Rhodes College, Feb. 2016

- Tactical Urbanism Salon, Memphis, TN. Sept. 22, 2012

- Artist Lecture, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. Nov. 2011 

- Artist Lecture, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN. Oct. 2008 

- Interactions/ Interruptions panel discussion, Memphis College of Art. May 2008

- Artist Lecture, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN. March 2008 

- Environmental Art Lecture, Memphis College of Art. Feb. 2007



- 2017 ArtsAccelerator Grantee, ArtsMemphis, Memphis, TN

- One Good Chair Design Competition, Runner up, Sponsored by the Sustainable Furnishings Council. July 2008

- Presidential Purchase Award, Memphis College of Art. May 2008 

- Hohenberg Merit Scholarship, Memphis College of Art. Fall 2007 and Spring 2008

- Emerging Artist Grant, ArtsMemphis, Memphis, TN. Sept. 2007

- Portfolio Merit Scholarship, Memphis College of Art. Fall 2006 —Spring 2008



- It Does Whats its suspose to do (Life in Jeans: Keeping Things Casual blog, March 18, 2017) 

Edge district's latest public art installation is all shimmery (The Commercial Appeal, March 8, 2017)

The Art of Now (Memphis Magazine, March 2013)

More Than One Good Chair, Lance Hosey (Metropolis P/O/V, Oct. 14th 2008) 

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