Discipline: Visual Art – mixed media, Visual Art – painting

Ellen Lesperance

Discipline: Visual Art – mixed media, Visual Art – painting
Region: Portland, OR
MacDowell Fellowships: 2010, 2017, 2023

Ellen Lesperance is an American artist and archivist, known for her gouache paintings that pattern the hand-knit garments of female activists engaged in Direct Action protests. She is a 2022-2023 Fulbright Global Scholar examining the protest knitwear practices of 1980s-era peace, anti-nuclear and feminist separatist encampments in the UK, Australia and Italy. Her paintings and textiles are included in multiple museum collections including: the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne.

At MacDowell in 2010, Lesperance completed an essay The Fine Art of Protest: The Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, 1981-2000 for PAJ Journal as well as two paintings in her ongoing series of activist-worn sweaters. During her 2023 Fellowship, she worked on paintings and knit sculptures for her upcoming solo show at Hollybush Gardens, London in May of 2024.



Ellen Lesperance worked in the Mixter studio.

Built in 1927–1930, the Florence Kilpatrick Mixter Studio was funded by its namesake and designed by the architect F. Winsor, Jr., who also designed MacDowell's original Savidge Library in 1925. Mixter Studio, solidly built of yellow and grey-hued granite, once had sweeping views of Pack Monadnock to the east. The lush forest has now grown…

Learn more