Jes Reyes is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and arts administrator living and working in the Twin Cities. Her photography and video art have exhibited with Artists in Storefronts, Altered Esthetics, Feminist Video Quarterly, Made Here, and the Walker Art Center. Her mixed media visual art has exhibited at the The Show Gallery, MacRostie Art Center, Altered Esthetics, and the Hennepin County Library. Jes is the founder of the Altered Esthetics Film Festival and coordinates programming for Avivo ArtWorks (formerly Spectrum ArtWorks), a multifaceted art studio for artists living with mental illness. Jes also works as an Artist Career Consultant for Springboard for the Arts.
In 2005, Jes moved to the Twin Cities from Southern California, a year after graduating from California State University, Long Beach with a double major in Women’s Studies and Film and Electronic Arts. Jes now holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree (focusing in creative writing, feminist theory, and film studies) from the University of Minnesota, with a minor in Museum Studies (focusing in curatorial studies and community arts).
Since 2004, Jes has been building a significant career in community-based services, which art has often been part of. This work began while working in residential care as a child care worker in Westminster, California, supporting 7 to 14-year-old boys experiencing significant behavioral challenges. She also worked as a Women's Advocate from 2005-2008 with Women of Nations in their domestic violence shelter in St. Paul, Minnesota. She provided supportive counseling to women and children while also assisting with pet and art therapy services. Since 2008, Jes has been with Avivo (formerly RESOURCE) working in the organization's Community Support Programs. She first started as a Young Adult Outreach Worker, specifically supporting 18 to 26-year-olds living with serious and persistent mental illness, and eventually transitioning to full-time mental health case management, working with many adults challenged with court commitment. Jes is now the Coordinator of Avivo ArtWorks (formerly Spectrum ArtWorks), a multi-faceted art studio for artists living with mental illness. She facilitates the goals of the program through a community-focused and recovery-based approach. She plans, organizes, and executes ArtWorks annual group exhibitions, markets, and group/recreational activities while also working to uphold its mission to break down stigmas associated with mental illness. Although an artist at heart, she has proven to be a notable leader, curator, manager, advocate, and innovator.
I am an artist who is curious about exploring the lived experience. Through filmmaking, painting, and drawing, I explore moments, emotions, and places to express the strength found in vulnerability. Poetry and creative writing are also essential to this process. I started this work in 2005 and haven't stopped since.