Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Rogers.
Hi Jessica, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I am a native of South Florida and received my BFA in Fibers from Savannah College of Art & Design. I unexpectedly arrived in KC in 2010 and only know one person. I immediately set out on a personal quest to share my creativity and create a community around the small biz buzz I saw beginning to brew in KC. I started the “CartWheel Bus” in the fall of 2010, a mobile retail and art space while I was working as a server at The Genessee Royale in the West Bottoms. In 2011 I teamed with the owner, Todd Shulte, and we created The Gypsy Market Royale in the parking lot between Gennessee Royale and Amigoni Winery (Now fancy lofts), The Gypsy market Royale was a free monthly local maker’s market which gave artists and small biz owners an outlet to sell their wares and expand their businesses. This market last for about 5 years and led me to organize many other local and national artist/maker-based events including; Crafts n Drafts, Boulevardia, and Roost Market. During this time the CartWheel Bus expanded my view of what art-making could look like and I began to dive into the world of Social Practice, art that is collaborative often participatory, and involves people as the medium or material of the work. Which led to many public murals and community-based art projects like “Lots of Love” and the “NAR Residency” through the Charlotte Street Foundation. I began to become known in the local community as a serial community-preneuer using my background in the arts as a catalyst for connecting people and creating community.
After having my two children (Sonny & Mars) I began to focus on my personal fine art practice by manipulating my education in traditional textile processes to create unique works of art, one-of-a-kind garments, and handmade functional objects. My latest garment series “Cosmosphere” was featured in the W 18th Street Fashion Show 2021. And I am currently working on a large-scale collaborative mural in Roeland Park, KS.
I now spend most of my time outside of the studio with my two young sons and in my professional role as the Marketing & Studios Director at the Kansas City Artist Coalition. This role allows me to continue my passion for providing new experiences and opportunities for my local arts community.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
OOOOOF! I think smooth roads are boring and often lack adventure, and when you are paving roads for the first time there will definitely be some bumps you have to navigate around. I remember when I brought the CartWheel Bus to First Fridays in the Crossroads for the first time in 2010 and people were mystified and kinda terrified to interact, it was so funny to me but it took a lot of convincing for people to engage with this new weird concept and now our city is thriving with all sorts of mobile businesses.
My art career and community work are constantly full of new challenges and often provides me with opportunity to evolve and grow. But I am a firm believer in community over competition and wholeheartedly believe that if we all lift each other up then we all succeed. I also believe to be a career artist you must be a hustler, so not only do you have to create beautiful and dynamic artwork but you also MUST be a business person and have the ability to promote and sell your work, this is something I wish they taught more in art school!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a multi-disciplinary artist focusing on Fiber and Textile design. I am mostly known for the CartWheel Bus, being an arts community organizer, and my public art projects. I am most proud of my ability to collaborate and lift others up. And I believe what sets me apart from others is my ability to see potential in any opportunity.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The biggest shift with the art community came with the pandemic. Many artists, performers, and creatives were completely out of work for 1.5y with the cancellation of art fairs, concerts, festivals, gallery exhibitions, etc. I am excited that events have begun to start up again and I think a lot of artists are in a place of re-build and reevaluating their priorities and what their next steps are.
- Denim Weaving $800
- Indigo Quilted Jacket $275
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.cartwheeljess.com/new-page-1
- Instagram: @studio_jessicarogers @cartwheeljess
The Pitch Magazine