Molly Cranch

Art form(s): Painting and Illustration

CAPE Teaching Artist since 2011


Master of Fine Arts Degree, University of Illinois Chicago, School of Art and Design, 1997

Post Baccalaureate Certificate, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1995

Bachelor of Arts Degree (Studio Arts, European History) Connecticut College, 1993


Molly Cranch received a BFA in painting from Washington University in St. Louis and a K-12 certificate in Art Education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has taught art and yoga in public schools, private schools, online, and in museums and art centers for over 20 years including: The Chicago Public Schools, The American School of Madrid, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also a certified (200 hour) yoga instructor with a 95 hour children’s yoga specialty. Alongside her teaching practice, she has maintained a steady studio practice. Her paintings can be seen in various galleries across the United States. Past exhibitions include: The Grand Hand in St. Paul, MN, New Morning Gallery in Asheville, NC, Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, PA, The Tiny Finch in San Antonio, TX, and The Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently preparing for an exhibition at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, IL. In 2019 Molly Cranch illustrated her first children’s book titled “Little Seed’s Journey.” A member of SCBWI and 12 x 12 Writing Challenge, she is currently writing and illustrating her own picture books incorporating STEM and SEL concepts. Molly Cranch is passionate about arts integration, as it mirrors her journey as an artist. Arts integration is at it’s core about curiosity and finding connections in a rich and diverse world.

Artist Statement:

Nature is a place of refuge and a source of healing for me, and I explore this connection through my work, both as a painter and illustrator. Focusing on pattern, light and movement, I create images and stories of birds, botanicals, and other small creatures. Examples include: a mother bird caring for her young, a butterfly touching down on a branch, or a seed pod unraveling. My work is characterized by gestural marks, soft colors, and a sense of light and atmosphere. When creating, I employ a scientific and observational mindset with a more open and responsive approach that I learned through meditation.