Mary Billingsley was born and educated in Darien, CT. During her high school years she took art courses at the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan, CT. The summer before entering college was spent painting and teaching at the Art Center, Chautauqua Institute, in upper New York State. She spent her freshman and sophomore years at Washington University, School of Fine Arts, St. Louis, MO; and her junior and senior years at Syracuse University, School of Art as a painting major, where she received her BFA. She earned her MFA from Boston University, School of Fine and Applied Arts. Mary Billingsley had a graduate teaching assistantship there in drawing and received the C. Comstock Clayton Award in Painting. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine.
She married John Matt, a sculptor; and they spent a year in Florence, Italy. She had a studio there, worked primarily in collage, and was invited by U.S.I. S. to participate in "Young Americans, 1963."
Upon their return to the United States, they set up studios in Killingworth, CT, started a family, and have two sons, Andy and Tom.
Mary continued with collage, also with acrylic painting, and exhibited in shows in Minnesota, Hartford, Boston, New Haven, Silvermine, and in a four-man show at Barnard College, N.Y.C., that received fine reviews in The New York Times.
John Matt received the Rome Prize to the American Academy and the family lived in Rome, Italy, for two years. Returning to the United States, they bought a home in Chester, CT, and continued their work. Mary began working with fabric as a natural melding of her great interest in color, in collage-like construction and in sewing. In addition to exhibiting this work throughout New England, in Pennsylvania and New York, she completed many private commissions.
Mary Billingsley taught courses in New Haven at the Creative Arts Workshop, both in painting and drawing. She also was an art instructor at the Foote School, New Haven.