Mara Holt Skov is an educator, author and curator of 20th and 21st-century art, craft and design. She is particularly interested in rising macrotrends in design and visual culture, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and design for human needs especially health, wellness and end of life issues.
As an educator, Mara specializes in the historical grounding and contemporary context of the creative arts because when students understand both, they begin to realize the relevance and potential impacts of their own work. Mara has been teaching at CCA since 2006 in Industrial Design, Graduate Design and Critical Studies programs. She has also served as the Industrial Design advisor and chair of the college-wide Curriculum Committee.
As an author, she strives for "user-friendliness" in her work and encourages her students to use writing as an essential part of the creative process and to clearly communicate their ideas to others. Her books include Manufractured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects (2008) and Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design (2005) both co-authored with her late husband Steven Skov Holt (CCA Distinguished Professor of Design). She has contributed essays to Object Focus: The Bowl at Portland's Museum of Contemporary Craft (2013), Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity (2006) and Selections: The Permanent Collection of the San Jose Museum of Art (2004) and authored articles for I.D. Magazine, ARTNews and Art & Antiques.
As a curator, she has argued that what matters most at this juncture is not the medium or discipline of artists, craftspeople and designers, but the message their work conveys. This was evident in the past three three faculty exhibitions that she curated at CCA's Oliver Gallery: Working Title (2013), Making ( ) that Matters (2014) and Expanding Dimensions (2015). All three included a wide range of interdisciplinary art, craft, design and writing from faculty across the college to show students the possibilities open to them at CCA. Other independent curatorial projects include three different iterations of Manufractured at Portland's Museum of Contemporary Craft (2008), San Jose State's Thompson Gallery (2009) and CCA's Oliver Gallery (2011). She also co-curated Blobjects & Beyond (2005) and Contemporary Devotion both at the San Jose Museum of Art (2001).
For Mara, the most meaningful aspects of teaching at CCA are the collaboration with colleagues and guiding the next generation of artists, craftspeople and designers toward using their talents and energy to make positive change in the world.