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  • Writer's pictureJessica L. Wagner

Well, Hello.

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

To kick off the first post of the BEST BLOG YOU'LL EVER READ (no srsly) here's my origin story (be warned it's long-winded):

I grew up in the exact geographic center (it's true we had a sign) of the lower peninsula of the state of Michigan— Saint Louis, Michigan. 

I led a pretty blessed existence, small but mighty town, one heck of a phenomenal family, and big artsy dreams.

Which led me to...

1. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Central Michigan University, jumping ship and moving to Dunedin, New Zealand to study art history and Maori Studies at Otago University, and finishing my degree studying fine art and heaps of pasta in Florence, Italy.

2. Finding my art crew, my art family, at CMU. A fantastical, passionate group of people, of artists, that shaped my life, my goals. Together we founded The One Little Artist, coordinating fellow graduates, BFA students, CMU professors, and local artists to bring a bangarang grassroots art community to the Central Michigan area. The OLA collective held exhibitions, art demonstrations, installations, and art education events.

3. Moving to Honolulu, Hawaii with my entire existence squeezed into two suitcases, and coming onboard with the outreach education department of the Honolulu Museum of Art, working with local non-profits, and establishing a sister collective of the OLA, the "One Little Island Artist". And through the passion and guidance of the greatest of nerdy historian friends, @ramblings_of_a_historian, I also contracted with the Oahu US Military Bases, and WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor, developing educational, special events programming and partnering with the National WII Museum in New Orleans, LA. 

4. Relocating to an entirely different island in 2016, a much colder, much larger island, and finishing my graduate degree in Manchester, United Kingdom with a Master of Arts at the University of Manchester, Centre for Museology: Institute for Cultural Practices. At UoM, I focused on business strategies and advancement within arts and cultural organizations, and through loads of wine, sweat, and tears graduated with distinction honors. With additional wine and additional tears, I also completed history, politics and economics postgraduate coursework with the University of Oxford, Kellogg College. 

5. Coming back to the States in 2017, moving to Denver, Colorado with my then-wonderful-boyfriend now-wonderful-husband, fellow-creator, Kyle @wanderingsixfiveguy. We adopted two wannabe tiger dogs, Lucy and Duke, mutts of the very best kind and now are a family of four.

6. Currently working with the Denver Art Museum as the Development Coordinator, and continuing my academic research continues to explore repatriation controversies and the American museum community.

7. Founding JLWagner, a creative mind dump to share my thoughts, creations, love of cheap wine, strong coffee, and all things artsy fartsy.

Everything creative, always.

#illustration #illustrator #artist #art #artwork #originstory #aboutme #jlwagner

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