Rachel Merrill was an athlete once. Her Toe-touch-reach won her an achievement award and a certified document from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness in 1992. After winning this high achievement, she’s continued with a competitive edge. Exploring themes of spectacle, American sport, and competition, Rachel Merrill’s interdisciplinary approach integrates textiles, sculpture, and performance into HIIT-like video projections and installations. 

Merrill received her BA from Northwestern University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and earned her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. She serves as an Associate Professor of Art at Grand View University in Des Moines, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. She is the recipient of the prestigious Iowa Fellowship Grant (2019) made possible by the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts. Her It’s Always A Competition series won several awards in selected group exhibitions, continuing her reach.  

It’s Always a Competition.