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About Mia McEldowney

Mia McEldowney was born in Oklahoma City. She studied ceramics at the University of Colorado Boulder and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1972. After travel to Indonesia to study textiles, she moved to Seattle to study art history and anthropology at the University of Washington. She received a master of arts degree, and continued her studies in the museology program. She then taught fashion and textile history at Edmonds Community College.

In late 1984, McEldowney presented her first commercial gallery exhibition Textiles from the Island of Sumba, in a small space in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. It was soon followed by her exhibitions traditional bags by Native American women of the Columbia Plateau tribes and Haitian vodou flags. In May of 1985, she moved MIA Gallery to Pioneer Square, presenting up to 12 exhibitions every year. In addition to folk and ethnographic works, she featured more than 75 artists working in ceramics, jewelry, painting, and mixed media. Many of these artists lived and worked in the Northwest. In May 1997, she closed her gallery with the exhibition So Long Salon.

She continually invested her time and effort in improving the artist community. She was a founding board of trustee member of Artist Trust and would later serve as president. McEldowney was also a founding member of the Seattle Art Dealers Association. She served on the Craft Emergency Relief Fund and frequently was asked to be a juror for grant selection committees for the Visual Arts Councils of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana as well as the Flintridge Foundation. The Seattle Metals Guild honored her with their most prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Artist Trust honored her with a Creative Catalyst Award in 2012.

The exhibition Lessons from the Heart at Vashon Island’s VALISE Gallery in 2013 was her last exhibition she curated.