Mary Milelzcik was born and raised Chicopee Massachusetts. Mary has a B.A. degree from Sonoma State University’s School of Expressive Arts in California, a radical two-year upper division interdisciplinary experimental program that existed for several years in the 70’s. Students, in consultation with faculty advisors and colleagues, designed their own course of study and were free to choose both the subjects and the media for their personal expression. She immersed herself in the world of printmaking at SSU and assisted Shane Weare in teaching etching, and later assisting master printer Daniel Freeman at Freeman Studios. Mary also was one of two teaching assistants at SSU in the papermaking program, working with visiting papermakers.
In the mid 1970’s she and her ohana lived on Oahu for a few years. Family matriarch Hawaiian quilt maker Jenny Montgomery, whose unique Hawaiian quilts are in the collection at the Kauai Museum, taught Mary about Hawaiian and family history, Hawaiian arts and culture, and the `aina.
Her transformative education and life experiences set the path for an interesting career as a mixed media artist, photographer and teacher. Mary also spent 10 years as the curator at Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In 2016 she returned to live full time in Hawaii, and spends time at Arts Asylum, her Pahoa studio in the Big Island, immersed in creating experimental mixed media art, using traditional materials.