Originally from Dallas, Texas, Jessi is committed to facilitating and documenting creative expression through arts-based research. An artist, educator, and documentarian, Jessi approaches art-making to create dialogues through and with concepts that ignite social curiosity and civic responsibility. Drawing from her backgrounds in Expressive Therapy, Theatre and Dance, Jessi's multimodal artistic practice has brought her into collaboration with a wide range of creative enterprises including Harvard Dance Project, National Parks Service of Boston, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard ArtLab, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and The New Museum.
Jessi is a proud alumna of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA) where she studied Theatre & Dramatic Arts. Here she received formal acting training in the Stansilavski system, Strasburg Method, and Meisner technique. From 2016 - 2017, Jessi studied Theatre & Performance at Emerson College. Her theatrical training includes rigorous performance education such as Advanced Acting, Directing, Costume Construction, Stage Combat, Movement, and Diction. She has studied under various teachers, including Karon Cogdill, Ruth Zapporah, Christie Vela, Charlton Gavitt, Cassie Tunick, and Erin Schwall. She has performed a wide range of works including Stephen Sondheim, Aristophanes, and Thornton Wilder. Along with her stage work, Jessi wrote/directed her own short, Queen Kevin, which was included in the La Vie Theaters Rising Star Film Festival in 2016. For this film, she worked under the mentorship of Italian Cinematographer Raoul Torresi.
Jessi went on to pursue an education in artistic healing. She received her B.S. in Expressive Art Therapy from Lesley University, studying under Expressive Therapists including Shaun McNiff, Nancy Jo Cardillo, Michelle Pate, and Andre Reusch. After graduating, Jessi received formal dance training in Latin/Ballroom, Contemporary Ballet, Modern Dance, and Countertechnique.
In addition to her performance career, Jessi is a visual artist specializing in acrylic painting and mixed media.
Jessi currently works as a Research-Practitioner with the Partnering Lab, an applied research initiative focused on investigating the roots of ethical physical interaction. Jessi uses her experience in dance and creative healing to investigate the relationship between ability and expression in creative practice. While she believes art heals on multiple levels, Jessi's research
focuses on the potential for harm and trauma in artistic process. Jessi also serves as Collaborative Artist and Dancer with Reciprocity Collaborative, where she designs and facilitates community engagement in site-specific performance and activation. Today she works collaboratively with East Coast practitioners including choreographer/researcher Dr. Ilya Vidrin, dancer/educator Jill Johnson, psychologist Dr. Miriam Rowan, social practice artist Kristin Barendregt-Ludwig, and interdisciplinary artist Sue Murad. She currently teaches dance at the Harvard Dance Center.