Jessie Houff is a nomadic, young adult artist. She graduated with an Art and Theatre major from Bridgewater College in 2013. Her degree allowed her to explore the book arts, which is her main art medium. As the college library purged old, deteriorating, unwanted books, she snatched them up and gave them new life in the form of sculpture. Jessie also takes old books and turns them into reusable items, such as lamps, journals, boxes, and bookmarks. In addition to the book arts, Jessie also enjoys making art and reusable items from stuff that would otherwise go in the trash, like old t-shirts, bottle caps, and scraps of wood.
In addition to her art making, Jessie has a passion for service. After graduating from college, she enrolled in Brethren Volunteer Service, an organization that provides a year long, full time volunteer assignment with a non profit organization. She chose to go to New York State to work with a youth empowerment program called the Youth Economic Group. She was there for a year working with underprivileged youth in rural Sullivan County helping to grow their youth run business called Bags for Justice. In 2016, she moved to Elgin, Illinois to work in the Brethren Volunteer Service office on the BVS orientation leadership team.
Since then, Jessie has worked for other non-profit organizations over the past year and a half: Rural and Migrant Ministry, helping to run the New York Farmworker Justice March from Long Island to Albany, and the International Rescue Committee and Artists Striving to End Poverty teaching arts classes to refugee students of all ages helping them acclimate to the American school system. She has traveled to eight countries, including her recent mission trip to Nepal where she and a group of 15 others partnered with Heifer International. She assisted in rebuilding schools in two villages in the Dhading District after the destruction of the 2015 earthquake. This fall, Jessie will be attending the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore to obtain her Masters of Fine Arts in Community Arts.
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