Born in Norwalk, Connecticut / Lives and works in metropolitan Kansas City
Art McSweeney was born on the East Coast and moved to the Midwest at the age of seven. The fourth of five children, he is the son of second-generation, Irish-American Catholics whose social conscience was formed by their experiences during The Great Depression, World War II, and the social reforms of the 1950’s and 60’s. Art was raised to be aware of what was happening in the world and to act to correct injustice wherever possible. For the first fifteen years of his art career, he used drawing, painting, and printmaking to explore his own sense of self in the building chaos he felt in the world around him. With the increasing responsibility of work and family life, his expressive focus gradually turned outward. He has spent the last twenty years making eccentric pictures that cut through the fog of his own privilege, exposing for him the violence and injustice of our power based economy and political system.
Art began the serious study and practice of visual art during his sophomore year at Boston College. In drawing and painting classes—team-taught by Andrew Tavarelli and Toni Dove—he was introduced to the expressive possibilities of visual form. At the same time, he was enrolled in Art History Survey and saw the confluence of the social, cultural, and political currents he was studying in all his other courses. This made a profound impression on him. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983, he went on for further study at the University of Kansas, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1985. From the fall of 1988 through the spring of 1990, Art was a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas, where he taught beginning drawing and figure drawing, earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in1990.
For the past twenty-one years—concurrent with his studio practice—Art has worked for Mid-America Arts Alliance, managing the fabrication and preparation of hundreds of art and humanities exhibitions. In that capacity, he has helped numerous artists, curators, and collectors design solutions to better display and ship artwork.