Self Portrait in Daghestani Berikaoba Mask, from the collection of anthropologist, Robert Chenciner, photograph, 22 x 30.”

Melissa Hilliard Potter is a feminist interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator whose work has been exhibited in numerous venues including White Columns, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, to name a few. Her films have been screened at international film festivals, such as the Cinneffable and the Reeling International LGBT Film Festival. 

Potter has been the recipient of three Fulbright Scholar grants, as well as funding from CEC ArtsLink, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Soros Fund for Arts and Culture, all of which enabled her to build two papermaking studios at university art departments in Serbia and Bosnia & Hercegovina. In addition, she  collaborated with women felt artisans and activists from Georgia through her project, “Craft Power,” with Miriam Schaer. 

Melissa developed research, documentary and advocacy projects with ethnographers and intangible heritage experts to protect, interpret and archive endangered women’s handicrafts and social customs. In Chicago, this work extends to the history of the Hull-House arts and crafts movement and its contemporary influence in crafts media including hand papermaking and artists’ books.

As a curator, Potter’s exhibitions include “Social Paper: Hand Papermaking in the Context of Socially Engaged Art” with Jessica Cochran and “Revolution at Point Zero: Feminist Social Practice” with Neysa Page Lieberman. Her curatorial and recent hand papermaking projects, including “Seeds InService” with Maggie Puckett, have been funded by the Crafts Research Fund, Clinton Hill Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation & Jane M. Saks, and the MAKER Grant.

A prolific writer, her critical essays have been printed in BOMB, Art Papers, Flash Art, Metropolis M, Hand Papermaking, and AfterImage among others. 

Potter is an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago and collaborates with artists in the medium of hand papermaking. She travels throughout the country teaching, lecturing, and conducting interviews. 

Melissa lives and works in Chicago, IL.