Mary Lou Dauray


Steadfast Support for Appalachian Voices 

By Adam Wagner 

At the heart of Mary Lou Dauray’s art lies a profound concern for social and environmental justice. Her series “Coal” serves as a poignant testament to her dedication to raising awareness about the perils of fossil fuel consumption — particularly coal mining, burning and transportation. Through her art, Dauray gives voice to the landscapes scarred by industrial exploitation. 

Dauray’s journey toward joining Appalachian Voices began with a stark realization in 2014. Witnessing a freight train laden with coal in Idaho, she couldn’t ignore the potential ecological catastrophes such transport posed to pristine environments. Her concerns deepened during firsthand encounters with the fallout of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, where consequences like toxic water contamination left an indelible mark on her conscience. 

Driven by a desire to effect change, Dauray channeled her emotions onto canvas, creating art that serves as a reminder of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. Last fall, Mary Lou and her husband Alan Davis graciously agreed to display art from her series “Coal” at the Gefen Gallery in San Francisco to raise funds and awareness of Appalachian Voices’ work. The event, which had over 100 guests in attendance, amplified the voices of those affected by coal-related environmental degradation and raised thousands of dollars to support Appalachian Voices’ relentless advocacy for sustainable alternatives. 

A piece from the series “Coal” by Mary Lou Dauray.

Beyond her artistic endeavors, Dauray’s connection to Appalachia runs deep. Her yearly extended visits to family in Floyd, Virginia, provide her with strong ties to the region’s cultural richness and creative vitality. Fond memories of spending nights on the Appalachian Trail and savoring makeshift “ice cream” made from orange-flavored Tang powder and snow evoke a nostalgia that fuels her commitment to preserving the region’s natural beauty. 

When asked about the importance of protecting Appalachia, Dauray speaks with reverence, emphasizing the need for collective action to safeguard the mountains and valleys’ vital spirit and the people who call the region home. Through her art and advocacy, Mary Lou Dauray exemplifies a steadfast dedication to preserving Appalachia’s heritage and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. 

More information about Mary Lou Dauray’s art can be found at

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