Photo: Mitchell Kearney
J E S S I C A G A Y N E L L E M O S S, B.F.A., M.A., M.S.L.
As an ardent advocate for artists, communities of color and accessible arts education, Jessica Gaynelle Moss is the Founder and Director of The Roll Up, a national network of art incubators embedded in neighborhoods mired in persistent poverty and concentrated disadvantage. Much of her work is centered on reclaiming land through ownership, developing affordable housing strategies and putting an end to concentrated poverty in Black communities through the arts.
Jessica’s creative practice has explored real estate development and affordable housing since 2006, when she purchased one of three properties that she still owns and manages in the historic Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA. Stemming from the redevelopment work that began in the Hill, in 2016 Jessica purchased a previously abandoned space and began rehabilitation to convert it into an artist residency in Charlotte, NC's Camp Greene community, a historic turn of the century army compound facing threats of gentrification.
In addition to her projects that engage art and real property as a strategy of community revival, Jessica is an educator, legal scholar and independent consultant. As a fervent arts administrator, Jessica has assumed many senior leadership roles with organizations like Theaster Gate’s Rebuild Foundation in Chicago, IL, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, NC, and with Mel Chin’s FUNDRED Dollar Bill Project in Pittsburgh, PA. Her exhibition experience has ranged from curating 2018’s ‘Black Blooded’ at the New Gallery of Modern Art, to 2017’s “Chris Watts: Blahk on Blahk on Blak” at Gallery Twenty Two, to her role on the curatorial teams of 2016’s ‘Noah Davis: 1975 Paintings’ at the Stony Island Arts Bank and ‘MONSTER ROSTER: EXISTENTIALIST ART IN POSTWAR CHICAGO’ at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago.
In April 2019, her project The Roll Up CLT was named Best Residency by Charlotte Magazine. Earlier in January, Scoop Magazine named her one of the 'Women to Watch in 2019'. In 2018, she was named third on Charlotte Agenda’s '15 Women to Know in the Arts' list and she received the unique distinction of being awarded the 2018 YWCA 'Women of Achievement: Emerging Leader’ award alongside civil rights leader Dorothy Counts-Scoggin.
Advocating beyond geographical borders, Jessica actively contributes to art and cultural institutions through her project-based work, jury and admission panel participation, extensive lecturing and through dedicated membership. Since 2015, Jessica has managed the annual Black Artists Retreat, initiated by artist Theaster Gates. She is a ten year member of the Carnegie Mellon University Admission Council, a director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh’s Black Law Student Association, a three year member of The National Coalition Black Women’s Roundtable (NCBWR), and a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Jessica received a bachelors in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking from Carnegie Mellon University; a masters in Arts Administration, Policy and Management from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a masters in Studies of the Law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Her interests in the arts, activism and collaboration continue to influence her projects today.