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Home » Staff Directory » Carolyn Henne

Carolyn Henne

Published August 10, 2015

MFA Director and Professor
Department of Art


Office: FAB408


Comma Box

Carolyn Henne is a sculptor. Henne’s sculpture is largely informed by anatomical studies and her interest in low-tech interactive works. Her work ranges from large, complex interactive installations to more straightforward, discrete objects. “Suspended Self Portrait”, is in the permanent collection at the National Museum of Health and Medicine and was featured in the NIH’s exhibition, Dream Anatomy. Henne is the Co-Director of Comma and she is the Head of the Sculpture Area in FSU’s Department of Art.

Henne’s work has long contended with personal versus public states of being. Science connections are always there – starting with the use of anatomy to reflect on internal versus external evidence of lived experience (illness, pain, shame).

She is rerouting her path to focus on external issues, some quite evident and many veiled. (This is Madness, Sea Stars, and future project plans involving aquaculture). In her lifetime, an oligarchy has strategically undermined those striving for climatic, health, economic, racial and democratic justice. The pandemic crystallized how capitalist supremacy requires sacrifice from the most vulnerable. Means of survival will emerge when local, national and global communities work together. Artists can work with scientists to make tools for the future to grow, build and coexist with nature. Sea Stars and future aquaculture projects challenge the methods currently used in aquaculture, shoreline protection, and resource enhancement by using material designed as an environmentally positive alternative.

Making art via aquaculture allows Henne to address a broad swath of toxicities in our environment(s) and deliver a call to action in cheeky disguise. Simultaneously, the sculptures yield to the oysters for positive environmental and economic impact. They are to be designed for the shallow waters, low in profile but broad in scope to maximize visual and structural impact. Oyster reefs stabilize shorelines, filter polluted water, create habitats for sea life and boost the supply of oysters. Coastal economies benefit from healthy, clean waters and protected shorelines.


  • 1990 M.F.A. Sculpture, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
  • 1985 Study Abroad, Lacoste School of the Arts, Lacoste, France
  • 1983 B.A. Fine Arts/Economics, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Research & Teaching Areas of Interests & Expertise

  • Sculpture
  • Sculpture Area Head
  • Co-Director of Comma

Notable Accomplishments

  • 2021 (contracted) Installation of prototype sculpture reef, ‘Sea Stars’, Newport River estuary, Beaufort, NC.
  • 2020 Installation of small test prototype, ‘Star’, Newport River, Beaufort, NC.
  • 2019 ‘This is Madness: A Proof’, Unrequited Leisure Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee. [SOLO]
  • 2014 Curator, Making Now: Open for Exchange
  • Suspended Self Portrait in the National Museum of Health and Medicine
  • 2020 ‘Luminous’, 2nd Annual Installation Show, C3: Contemporary Curators Collective, West Palm Beach, Florida.
  • 2006 Anatomy Lessons and Ugly Facts, Carole Garmon and Carolyn Henne, KunstOffice Gallery, Berlin, Germany
  • 2005 Ugly Facts, Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia
  • 2004 New Works, ADA Gallery, Richmond, Virginia
  • 2004 Rahal, VCU School of the Arts – Qatar, Doha, Qatar
  • 2002 There’s Here, site specific installation, Artspace, Richmond, Virginia
  • 2000 I Could’ve Gone Dancing After Dinner, Project Room, Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, New York
  • 2021 Planning Grant, FSU Council on Research and Creativity (CRC), $16,000.
  • 2013 Arts & Humanities Program Enhancement Award, FSU Council on Research and Creativity (CRC), $16,000.
  • 2008 Award of Fellow, International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD), Leadership Institute 2008, Rising Leadership.
  • 2004 Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University, University Leadership Program.
  • 2003 Award of Sculpture Fellow, Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA), Richmond, Virginia.
  • 2003 Artist Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Mt. San Angelo, Virginia.

Watch “There’s Here” video