The most recent addition to our residency program has been Polly Wood, MFA, MA an accomplished singer, songwriter, drummer, artist, actor and independent scholar. In her various areas of expertise and representative media, Polly strives to focus on the “preservation of the sacred feminine.” Through her residency, you will come to see her passion for her art, her community, her love for family and her vivacious spirit.
Polly began her artistic journey through fifteen years of dance training and performance in the styles of tap, jazz, ballet, acrobatics. Dance and youth theatre led her to study performing and visual arts in college, where her focus shifted towards Acting. Prior to graduating, she took a hiatus to grow as a musician and artist, gaining performance experience and inspiration from creative collaboration within her community. It was also during this time she explored her passion for the female experience of pregnancy and birth. Building up a career as a doula– a non-medical professional child-birth assistant- she provided support to women and families throughout their pregnancy, and the process of labor, delivery, and early post-childbirth experiences. She also led mother-baby movement classes, birth-art-workshops, artfully created plaster belly casts for over 50 beautiful pregnant bellies, and produced and choreographed A Birth Dance–a modern dance performance and community birth celebration.
Almost a decade after dropping out of performing arts school, Polly returned to college with a toddler in tow to complete her Bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Integral Studies. From there she earned a Master’s degree in Women’s Spirituality, and an M.F.A. in Creative Inquiry, both from New College of California. She focused on global economics & the sacred feminine; cross-cultural rites-of-passage; ritual performance and art as a sacred practice. Her master’s thesis The Menstrual Origins of Money was published in 2006. As a singer-songwriter-drummer Polly has performed her original music across the United States and bit in Canada. Much of her visual art over the years followed the themes of pregnancy, birth and the divine feminine in the embodiment of whom she calls Radwoman.
Above are samples of Polly’s visual artistic works. From left to right: Radwoman Placenta Power (1), Radwoman Fire Songs (2), Radwoman Earth Mother (3), Miss River’s Moon (4), Birds of Change 2 (5), Into the Nest (6), Birds of Change (7), Tree of Life of Instillation (8 & 9).
As a multi-disciplinary artist, Polly’s creative work goes where she feels most lit up. Most recently her passions have come full circle to a creative pursuit of her youth: Acting. This past year offered her baby steps into entering the film & television industry. She is represented by the talent agency Phirgun Mair Worldwide. Feeling grateful for her agent and loving the auditions that come her way, she looks forward to booking future gigs.
This is Polly’s third engagement with the Museum of Motherhood. In early 2010 she curated a 12-week Sacred Feminine exhibit online and later that year was a guest artist for the Mamapalooza/M.O.M. Conference in New York City.
After nearly two decades of birth & postpartum work; visual/performing arts and scholarship focused on themes of mothering, the sacred feminine and rites-of-passage, Polly comes to the M.O.M residency to create What Is Left in an Empty Nest?
Inspired by a recent phone conversation wherein she offered (both ‘good’ and embarrassingly, ‘bad’) advice to her daughter regarding one of her college assignments, Polly envisioned what would happen if she were able to take and apply her own advice as easily as it was for her to dish it out. The next step became evident, and applying for the M.O.M residency was a part of that.
Polly is looking forward to being Artist-in-Residence at the M.O.M Art Annex, as well as experiencing what unfolds as she engages both her personal community and the Museum of Motherhood community in offering their ‘advice’ towards her creation. In addition to using this collective advice the help stitch and weave the nest together, Polly will be working with themes of grief, emptiness and expansion that can arise when children leave home -whether to spread their wings on their own, or to spend time with another parent- as well as the theme of invisibility that can accompany the gift of being in a step-parent role. Polly will be building an ‘empty nest’ for the Museum of Motherhood, both highlighting a common experience and as a personal rite-of-passage.
We can’t wait to have Polly back as a returning resident artist and are so grateful to have her fantastic contribution to M.O.M.’s archives.
To learn more about Polly, her amazing works, and any additional publications, please check out these links to her personal website, additional Resume, and projects:
Also be sure to follow her on Insta and FB for updates as well as more of her thoughts on our residency!
Facebook: Polly Wood
If you are interested in applying for a residency here at MOM, please go to our website HERE: https://bit.ly/3uRgugm to find out more. BE SURE TO HURRY! Spots have been filling FAST! We hope that future tours of the space will be available soon, but they are by appointment only in Artist Enclave Historic Kenwood: “where art lives.”