Cary Esser’s sculptures indulge the materiality of ceramics and draw on the history of architectural terra cotta, producing artworks ranging from single tiles to large-scale installations. She has served as chair of the Kansas City Art Institute ceramics department since 1996. During her 30-year career in the arts, Esser has also taught at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and Louisiana State University (LSU). She has been a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, the International Ceramics Studio in Hungary, and other venues.

Esser has recently exhibited at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Northern Clay Center. She is featured in the March 2013 issue of Ceramics: Art and Perception and received the 2013 Kansas City Art Institute Distinguished Achievement Award. Esser and her KCAI students and colleagues were presented in Season Two of the PBS “Craft In America” television series, broadcast in 2009. She holds an M.F.A. degree from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and a B.F.A. degree from KCAI.