Mary Jane Pories

Mary Jane Pories, M.A.T. is a member of the Actors Equity Association, a Certified Practitioner in Applied Improvisation, and an award-winning actor/improviser, a former main stage cast member of the The Second City - Detroit, entrepreneur, writer and painter.

Entrepreneur -Fishladder Inc., the company she founded in 1999, serves national and international clients ranging from Fortune 100 to non-profits and, among other awards, received recognition as a Top Women Owned Business and a Local First Good for Michigan business. She currently serves as secretary to the board for the Applied Improvisation Network.

Artist - Mary Jane paints primarily in acrylics and oils. Her improvisational approach to life and art results in works that are energetic, surprising, and emotional. A colorist by nature, her bold use of hue and playful approach to form, reveal her influences from Abstract Expressionism and Fauvism. 


Nonfiction - In her book, Yes, And! Harnessing the Power of Improvisation to Transform Your Life and Work, Mary Jane shares her knowledge of how to be ready for the unexpected and "yes and" your way to creative opportunities and more fun.


With undergraduate degrees in Art and English, Mary Jane first worked as the Art Director/Graphic Designer for a small magazine. She then returned to school for a Master of Arts degree in teaching and taught art for several years at the high school level, growing the program from one semester of art to three full years of course offerings. She’s served as an adjunct instructor at Kendall College of Art and Design and is currently a member of Grand Valley Artists.

Over the years, she seized opportunities to study art at Bennington College, Savannah College of Art and Design, exhibited work at Shibui Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI  and learned from masters such as Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Carolyn Fehsenfeld and Tony Couch. An Artist-In-Residence in Petosky, MI in 2015, she's also exhibited locally at the Franciscan Center, Celebration of the Arts, ArtPrize, All Art Works and Salaan Magazine.

“A fixed attitude is a closed door" Viola Spolin