Jessica Kallista is an artist working in collage, video, sound, poetry, and performance. She is also an educator, curator, and activist. She received her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry from George Mason University in 2002. In November 2014 she founded Olly Olly, an alternative art space, in Fairfax, Virginia. Jessica has taught collage at Corcoran School of the Arts & Design and poetry, critical theory, aesthetics, and writing for artists at George Mason University. In 2020 she became Curator and Head Moderator of CVPA's Arts in Context Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group at George Mason University. She has served on the George Mason University Presidential Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force Research Committee, and continues to serve on the CVPA DEIB Senior Advisory Council.
Jessica is the 2022 recipient of George Mason University's Margaret C. Howell Outstanding Achievement Award. In 2023 she received George Mason University's Sojourner Truth Faculty Award which recognizes an instructional faculty member whose scholarship, teaching, and activism are at the intersections of race and gender.
Through an embodied knowing that is activated at the intersections of her lived experience as a Black, queer, autistic woman, as well as her eco-cosmic collaborations with trees and the earth, Jessica seeks to disrupt the passive nihilism intrinsic in much of everyday life by creating situations of healing, play, pleasure, and experimentation while instigating dialogue and experience around somatic knowledge, neurodivergence, race, sexuality, feminism, and inter-connectivity.
Jessica has exhibited work at a variety of venues including Tempus Projects, Galerie Kritiku Prague, Rhizome, VisArts, Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, Watergate Gallery, Target Gallery, Gillespie Gallery, Mason Exhibitions Arlington, The Torpedo Factory Art Center, The Fridge, Fenwick Gallery at George Mason University, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, and the Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery.