ABOUT JESSICA GRAY
Dr. Jessica Gray is a creative force. As Artistic and Education Director of the Imaginorium Educational Collective, a nonprofit that offers events for children and youth based on fantasy and imagination, she regularly writes curricula and directs events based on pop culture, theatre, and the wisdom of world literature. She has published two nonfiction books, a middle grade novel “Imagine the Key,” five curricula, a collection of plays called “Dramatic Wizardry,” and a deck of meditation cards with her independent small imprint PRISMagical press.
Jessica Zebrine Gray earned her PhD in theatre at Louisiana State University, her masters in theatre from Florida State, and her bachelor of arts in theatre from the University of North Carolina. She is certified to teach English and theatre in the state of Rhode Island and Massachusetts and teaches at an alternative high school.
I could say that I am a theatre and visual artist, a writer, craftsperson, and educator. I am all of those things. But in trying to determine a full answer to your question about my work as an artist/maker, I was reminded of Ray Croc, the founder of McDonalds. He once asked a group of business students “What business am I in?” They all expected the answer to be “restaurants.” But no. His answer was “real estate.” In my minimal business training, I was also asked to consider what business I am in, and I think my answer applies to my work as an artist as well. I create portals to other worlds. Seriously. For more than fifteen years I have created and directed innovative programs that incorporate literature and pop culture into educational experiences. Theatre, art, science, visual arts, cosplay, writing, music, games… I include something for all learning styles in my work. My goal is to extend stories beyond the page. The creation of the physical environment is one part of my art. Cosplay, character development, and acting is another piece. Writing and then teaching the curriculum is a third. But ideally it all comes together to create a portal into another world, a fantasy, an illusion for a child to live their dreams while learning and growing in their own wisdom and wonder. That is my work as an artist.