MFA  1999 Sculpture School of the Art Institute of Chicago

BS 1992 Theater Northwestern University


Community Art, Puppetry and Parades.


Molly Ross founded Nana Projects in 1993 and has directed all the major projects & designed all educational programs. Nana Projects is a company of lanterneers and visual alchemists inventing innovative artwork that draws people together in public spaces, strengthening their sense of community identity through shared cultural experience.  Ross’ eclectic background includes training in theater, puppetry, circus arts as well as sculpture and she brings this multidisciplinary approach to the classroom. 


Nana Projects Studio,Director & Principal Artist  1993-present

Recent Projects 

  • Projected Theater Artisphere Arlington, VA (2011)
  • The Great Halloween Lantern Parade, Baltimore, MD (2000-2010)
  • How to Grow a Pickle Baltimore, MD  (2010)
  • Luminaria-SA Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, TX (2009
  • Anansi Georgetown University Washington DC (2008)
  • Parade School Baltimore, MD (2007-present)
  • Gumdrops & the Funny Uncle Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Tour (2006 & 2007)
  • Lantern Towers & Magic Shadows, John Michael Kohler Art Center (2007)

Artists U Facilitator  2012-2013

The mission of Artists U provides individual artists with planning and professional development programs that are comprehensive, local, long-term, and artist-run.

Maryland Institute College of Art Adjunct Faculty 2006-2012

 Courses Developed &  Taught

  • Finding Baltimore: Community Art Course exploring urban issues.
  • Sculptural Forms: Foundation course in 3D materials and techniques.
  • Puppets & Prosthetics: Explores extensions of the body through puppetry
  • Performance, Action Event: Studio Lab to explore performance expression.
  • Super Pride Studio: Design Build Course with Exhibition at Contemporary Museum.
  • Senior Studio: Sculpture Independent Seminar for seniors


Nana Projects collaborations have been funded in part by grants from NEA, Maryland State Arts Council, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, William G. Baker, Jr. Fund, Wisconsin State Arts Board and many others.


  • Union Internationale de la Marionette-USA Citation of Excellence in Puppetry 2010
  • Henson Foundation: Puppetry Grant, 2007 & 2009
  • MICA Brenner Faculty Grant 2009 and 2011
  • Maryland State Artist in Education 2001 -2011
  • NEA Artist & Communities: America Creates For The Millennium SHORT-LIST, 1999



Hybrid of Shadow Puppetry & Slide Performance creating Live Animation

Eureka inspired by the little known prose poem of the same name. This show explores Edgar Allen Poe’s curious philosophy of the universe. Upcoming Premiers New Orleans (Nov 2011) Washington DC (Jan 2012)

How to Grow a Pickle  inspired by urban community gardening and toured to green spaces throughout Baltimore City as well as to national conferences in North Carolina and DC.  Funded by a grant from the William G Baker Fund and Puppeteers of America Endowment Fund Completed 2010 (30 minutes)

Alonzo’s Lullaby inspired by the Hagenback-Wallace circus train wreck of 1918.  Set to an original score composed and performed by ellen cherry and Nicholas Sjostrom. Funded by a Grant from Jim Henson Company and awarded the Union Internationale de la Marionette-USA Citation of Excellence in Puppetry 2010.  Completed 2009 (30 minutes)

Danny the Diver based on the unpublished 1930’s comic strip by Mary Nohl Commissioned by the John Michael Kohler Art Center and set to an original score by Anne Watts & Boister. Completed 2007 (20 minutes)

Luna based on Grimm’s fairytale “The Moon.  Funded in part by a Jim Henson Foundation Grant and set to an original score by Chris Pumphrey. Completed 2007 (20 minutes)

From Out My Heart inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s Raven.  Set to original music by Anne Watts & Boister the production weaves the architecture of Baltimore with the gripping Poe classic.  Completed 2006 (20 minutes)

When Night Comes is inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale Ole Lukoie and featured original music by Chris Pumphrey.  Completed 2005 (20 minutes)

Performance Venues Include

Detroit Institute of Arts, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Luminaria San Antonio, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Gallaudet University, New Orleans Fringe Festival, Orlando Puppetry Festival, Puppeteers of American National Festival, Theater Project, Patterson Park, Artisphere Dome Theater and Morgan State University.

Cultural Performance & Parades

2011 Nanadu, Artscape Commission, Baltimore, MD

Series of Parades followed by finale performances each day of festival.

2000 -2011 The Great Halloween Lantern Parade, Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD

Direct annual Halloween Lantern Parade in an urban park with hundreds of community members, dozens of musicians and a spectacular illuminated finale.

2007 Lantern Towers & Magic Shadows, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI

An interactive exhibition, spectacle parade and magic lantern show inspired by the work of self taught artists.

200 1Launch, Columbia Festival of the Arts, Columbia MD

Opening Ceremony on lakefront with fireworks, floating pyrotechnic sculptures, parade of kayaks and a procession of handmade lanterns.

1999 Millennium Panorama, Inglewood Plantation, Alexandria, LA

Outdoor Installation and spectacle for Millennium New Years Eve on the Keller Family Plantation in Louisiana.

1993-1999The Wisconsin Polka Trilogy

Community art events incorporating lanterns, puppets, parades and pageantry to celebrate the art and life of self taught artists in rural Wisconsin.

The Great Grandview Lantern Parade, PEC Foundation, Hollandale, WI

Fred Smith Polka Party and Puppet Show, Friends of Fred Smith, Phillips, WI

Paul and Matilda Wegner Celebration, Monroe Historical Society, Cataract, WI

1995 Redmoon Halloween Lantern Parade, Chicago, IL

Devised annual lantern parade for Redmoon Theater that was attended by over 300 community members in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Object Commissions & Solo Exhibitions

2011Projected Theater, Exhibition Nana Projects Puppetry, Artisphere, Arlington VA.

2009 & 2010   Lanterns,Artscape Semi-permanent Public Art Project Charles St Baltimore, MD

2006Woods, Solo Exhibition University of Arkansas, Monticello

Installation inspired by historic photographs of Arkansas Forestry & Agriculture.

2003Classroom, Longfellow Elementary School, Columbia, MD

Concrete outdoor sculpture created during Maryland State Arts Council Artist in Education residency.

2002 Rising Relics, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington, VA

Series of five concrete sculptures created with high school apprentices as part of ArtsWork job training program.

2001Luminare, Fourth of July Installation, Greenbelt Arts Center, Greenbelt, MD

2000Millennium Arch, Kramer School Artist Cooperative, Little Rock, AR

Concrete and glass outdoor sculpture created during residency at Kramer School Cooperative supported with grant from Arkansas Arts Council.


Lavanya Ramanathan, “Creativity’s in the Air” Washington Post 2012

Alex Ball, "Let there be Lights"  Baltimore Magazine October 2007

David Dudley "Joy Division: the healing power of collective merriment" Urbanite Magazine July 2007

Linell Smith, “Something fishy this way comes”  The Sun October 23, 2005

Wendy Kaufman, “Night Lights” The Washington Post October 22, 2004

Kai Jackson, “On Time” WJZ-TV, May 27, 2001

Little Rock Free Press Vol. 8, Issue 8, July 12-25, 2000.

Rita Hasburgh “Grandview gets artist in residence” The Monroe Times October 20, 1998.

Jessica Thebus, “The Redmoon Winter Pageant: puppetry in the community.”  P-form Journal    No. 41 fall 1996,

Heather D. Czaja “The ninth annual Wisconsin Concrete Park Celebration” The Bee    August 17, 1995.

Hedy Weiss “Winter Pageant Warms the Heart” Chicago Sun-Times December 14, 1995.


“Rumor Mill” co-authored with Jeffrey Kent Urbanite Magazine 2009

“Community Spectacle: A Place of Magic” Nathan Cummings Convening Community Arts Network 2008 republished by Community Arts Network 2008

Taking the Road Less Traveled John Michael Kohler Arts Center “Friend raising and the work of Nana Projects.”  2007

“The Winter Pageant Process Documentation” co-authored with Jessica Thebus, PHD Puppetry Arts Journal 1996, Ohio


Network on Ensemble Theaters Summit University of San Francisco “Parade Laboratory”  2009

Alternate Roots, Arden NC  “Parade Laboratory and StiltaCon”  2008 & 2009

UNIMA-USA Annual Meeting Symposium University of Maryland College Park "Puppetry and the Projection Screen." 2008

Parade School Nana Projects training program & gathering of parade professionals 2007-2009 

Taking the Road Less Traveled John Michael Kohler Arts Center “Friend raising and the work of Nana Projects.”  2007

Arkansas Art Educators Conference Key Note Speaker Little Rock AR 2007


2013  Towson University, Towson University  Graduate Thesis Advisor MFA THEATER

2008-2010 Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington DC, Visiting Artist                        

Community Art-Parades and Community Festivals.

2008 Georgetown University, Washington DC, Visiting Artist

Shadow Puppetry Workshop for undergraduate students in Theater.

2008 & 2007 Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore MD Visiting Critic

  Fiber Department

2003 Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore MD Summer MFA

“Where is the community in Community Art?”

2004 Towson University, Towson University  Graduate Thesis Advisor MFA THEATER

1994   University of Arkansas at Monticello, Dept of Visual Arts

   “Puppets, masks and Wisconsin folk art.”


  • Hong Kong 2010
  • *United Kingdom 2009 (Professional Research on Carnival Arts)
  • Shanghai, China 2001, 2004, 2006
  • Tokyo, Japan 2006
  • Hua hin, Thailand 2004
  • *Rotterdam, Netherlands 2004 (Professional trip for Baltimore Sister City Program Arts in Education)
  • Yunan, Province China 2001
  • Italy 2000


  • Nana Projects Studio, Board of Directors, Baltimore, MD 2006-present
  • Art on Purpose, Program Committee, Baltimore, MD 2006-2009
  • Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Committee on Community Arts 2007

Maryland Institute College of Art

  • •Community Art Partnerships Advisory Board 2006-2011
  • •Foundation Dept Grade Appeal Faculty Panel 2010
  • •Selection Committee for the Director of Community Art Partnerships 2007
  • •Masters of Community Art Advisory Committee/Focus Group 2003


  • Puppeteers of America
  • Alternate Roots