The Appalachian Center for the Arts

Instructor Bio

Jessica Salyer

Mix Media Artist
Director/Teaching Artist: Art Positive Project, Inc.
Director/Curator/ Teaching Artist: Main Street Art Studios, Inc.
Renaissance Art Guild Board Member/Curator: Salyersville Renaissance on Main
Podcaster: Weird Appalachia Podcast

Eastern Kentucky based award winning mix media artist, Jessica Salyer, has been honing her skills in the therapeutic and healing practices that creating works of art can have on the human experience. Her distinctive personal style emanates the vibrance that the mental and physical experiences we have can affect us greatly. Through an array of colors, you can see an emotional experience throughout most of her work that comes out through symbolism. Jessica works with a multitude of different mediums, such as, acrylics, oil, spray paints, canvases, wood work, and crafting supplies in her art work. Jessica has been exhibiting her personal work since 2014 were she started out with just 2 pieces at the Mountain Art Center as a part of a group showing with the Kentucky Art Tribe curated by artist Thea Donna and fellow podcaster Erin Conley. From there she has exhibited her work at the Mountain Art Center many times, Grayson Art Gallery, many art festivals, and got her first solo exhibition Internal Universe at City Perk coffeehouse in downtown Prestonsburg Kentucky owned by Jen Lafferty-Kopecky. In recent years, during the 2020 pandemic her work was acknowledged on The Mountain Art Centers social media during quarantine, Then in May of 2021, she had her second solo show called Year Two Thousand Twenty, were she complied a series of work depicting her own experience during the pandemic, using bright pinks, black, and gold leaf. Jessica won boards choice award at the Grayson Art Gallery in 2018 with her work Destroyer of Worlds. Later in that same year she would go on to win 1st place in mix media show case at the Grayson Art Festival with her work Drowning. Again, in 2019 Jessica won at the Grayson Art Festival 1st and 2nd in mix media art show case with works Bull and Roses and Awaken Spirit.

During 2021 Jessica used her studio Main Street Art Studio, Inc. to build up the art community in her town of Salyersville Kentucky by using another one of her passions, to curate shows for artists in Eastern Kentucky, In August of 2021 Jessica curated her first exhibit called Salyersville Artist, in which the exhibition celebrated her home town’s talent of all ages. Also, in September of that same year she would take on curating an exhibit for one of Appalachia’s greatest artists, Tom J. Whitaker. This exhibition not only showcased Tom’s beautiful art work but even included a biography side to the exhibit so visitors could learn more in-depth about Whitaker’s life. Whitaker’s exhibit is now a traveling exhibit and will be shown at numerous galleries across Kentucky.

Originally a mix media painter, Jessica blended her painting skills with her own therapeutic practices of 10 years, bringing about her new passion Art Positive Project, Inc. Established in 2018, officially became a nonprofit organization in 2019. Jessica’s evolution into teaching the healing properties that creating can have, allowed her to introduce another element to this union and extended this experience to east Kentucky communities. Her use of teaching through her own experiences allows Jessica to challenge the boundaries of people’s perception of art and mental health. She utilizes guided meditation to which each participant can explore the depths of their own internal mental health and release any blocks that may otherwise go unnoticed or unresolved. Art Positive Project’s mission is to help spread mental health awareness and help give everyone an out of the box way of thinking about what we can do for ourselves to heal through the process of art. Jessica is excited about the future of Art Positive Project and hopes to further this experience to more regions in Kentucky and else where.

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