Mia Merlin is an Atlanta native who currently lives in Savannah, GA and teaches at the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University. Merlin has been teaching for over 20 years at various Universities including Georgia State University, Spelman College, Emory University, SCAD Atlanta and Kennesaw State University. Merlin studied Psychology and Comparative religion as an undergraduate at Hampshire College. But it was years after graduating that the importance of art making in her life became apparent, as she realized the self taught sketchbook drawings and paintings she made were the things she identified with the most. Through great serendipity, she met Ralph Gilbert, the teacher who would become her mentor. He believed in her long before she or anyone else did.
Merlin's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in juried and museum shows, including the Telfair in Savannah, and the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama, as well as two international exhibits as a part of the U.S. Art in Embassy's program in Vatican City and Bahrain. Solo exhibitions include University of West Georgia, The River Gallery in Chattanooga, TN, Emory University, Georgia State University, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and Fay Gold Gallery. Collections include Katherine Porter, daughter of Fairfield Porter, King and Spalding, James Beard award winning Chef Steven Satterfield, and the Fulton County Public Library. This year Merlin had two paintings exhibited in the Every Woman Biennial in London.
A career highlight was the creation and execution of the 49 Portraits Project, in response to the Pulse night club attacks of June 2016. After putting out a national call, Merlin curated and organized a group of artists to make portraits of the victims. The portraits were then displayed at Orlando City Hall as part of a memorial tribute that were then donated to the respective families.