Mags Harries was born in Barry, Wales. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the Leicester College of Art & Design, UK, she attained her MFA at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL. After graduation she came to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design and settled in the New England area. She served on the board of First Night Boston from 2003 to 2009 and is chair of the Cambridge Public Art Commission. Harries formed Harries/Héder Collaborative, a public art design team with her husband Lajos Héder in 1990, since then they have worked together on over 25 major public commissions. Harries observes small things that, like DNA, reveal what is important to know about a place. She uses surprise and sometimes humor to energize public places and communities. Her projects Asaroton and Glove Cycle have become icons of the Boston area. Many of her temporary projects involve community participation and social action, including: Winding Down the Charles, where community members helped to physically wind the length of the Charles River into a ball of string; Speed of Light, for which she organized with her students a twenty-mile bicycle ride to bring attention to a planned transportation 'Urban Ring' around Boston; and One Legged Table, an artwork that catalyzed social dialogue on climate change.
Harries has exhibited across the region, the country, and internationally, including at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a retrospective of her work at the Decordova Museum, in Lincoln, MA. She has received a fellowship and residency from The Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy, and attended residencies at the Baer Art Center (Hofsos, Iceland), Civitella Ranieri (Italy), and The American Academy (Rome, Italy). Her awards include the AICA Award, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Sculpture/Installation, a Marshall Cogan Visiting Artist Fellowship, a Massachusetts Governor's Design Awards, a Design Excellence Award for Public Art in Transportation, The Grand Bostonian, and a Bunting Institute Fellowship at Radcliffe College, Harvard University.
Currently, she teaches courses on sculpture, installation, and public art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
There is nothing more exhilarating than creating projects that become part of public space. Creating environments that affect people’s lives. I like the challenge, to create something that grows out of the place and each project takes me into new areas of research and discovery.