Meet Jessica Collins: An Artist on a Mission
By Joann Jordan
Jessica Collins is an artist with a mission. When she isn’t creating ceramics in the Visual Arts department at KSU, she works with kids at summer camp and does volunteer work. Last spring she traveled with three other KSU art students to Washington, D.C. for Arts Advocacy Day to help influence legislators to fund programs for the arts. A member of the KSU Arts Leadership Initiative, Jessica also values the importance of being a leader. “I like the idea of artists being leaders. I want to be an energizing force,” she said.
Jessica’s most recent volunteer project is with artists’ nonprofit service group, Wonderroot. “It’s a cool way to meet people and change things through art,” she said. Jessica, and fellow KSU artists Tonya Grant, Brandon Aust, Deanna Roland, and Jeremy Berggren got permission from the residents of historic Reynoldstown in Atlanta to paint murals over the graffiti that defaces some of the area buildings. The results inspired the neighborhood to ask the group to continue their work.
Jessica’s original ambition was to study biology at Kennesaw and to be a nurse. She was inspired to become an art major during a KSU summer study trip to Mexico. She took Assistant Professor Charlotte Collins’ class, drawing for non-art majors, and was hooked both by the class and the vivid color of the Mexican folk art in Oaxaca. Jessica remembers that she was a bit tentative at first, since she had never really seen herself as an “artist.” But when she took a three-dimensional art course with Adjunct Professor Chris Wilson, “I knew this was for me. I absolutely found my niche.”