Lee Emma Running’s visual art embraces the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Guided by the direct observation and manipulation of organic material, her sculptures, installations and performance work are deeply connected to place.

Running was awarded the 2017 Iowa Arts Council fellowship for her delicate sculptures using polished roadkill deer bones, gold and glass as the primary materials. In 2018, she completed a major permanent installation in the Edgar Fine Art Building at Upper Iowa University, and a 6 month temporary installation in the Governor’s Office at the Iowa State Capitol using botanical specimens of prairie plants from 1800’s Iowa herbaria as inspiration. In 2018/19 she has exhibited her work at the Morris Graves Museum, Eureka CA, Western Carolina Museum of Fine Art in North Carolina, the Front Gallery, New Orleans LA, The Dubuque Museum, Dubuque IA, and the National Taiwan University of the Arts. She has been an Artist-In-Residence at the Jentel Foundation, Sheridan WY and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT.

Since 2013, she has created artists books in collaboration with Denise Bookwalter at Small Craft Advisory Press at the Facility for Arts Research in Tallahassee FL. They have also produced  large-scale installations in residencies at Penland School of Crafts, Penland NC, and Constellation Studios, Lincoln NE. Their most recent book, Fashioning will debut at the Codex Artists Book Fair in San Francisco in January 2019.  

Running’s work is in international public and private collections, and she is represented by Olsen Larson Galleries in Des Moines IA, where she lives. She was born in Minnesota and grew up in Colorado, received her BFA from Pratt Institute, and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Studio Art Department at Grinnell College.

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