The annual Distinguished Alumni Reception recognizes the accomplishments of an exemplary alum from each of the academic programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Those honored are nominated by department chairs, faculty and staff, based on criteria that includes professional accomplishments, awards, philanthropy, service and contributions to the college and university community. In Fall 2017, the MFA in Creative Writing honored Jessica Kallista ‘02.
Jessica is an artist, teacher, and curator. She received her master of fine arts degree 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, and she serves as a business representative on the City of Fairfax Commission on the Arts. Jessica has taught the technique of collage at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design at the George Washington University. She is gallery director of Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at Mason’s Hylton Performing Arts Center.
Through her work as a collage artist, teacher, and curator, Jessica seeks to disrupt the isolation of those living in suburbia and elsewhere by creating situations of surprise, play, and experimentation while instigating dialogue about gender, sexuality, feminism, embodiment, decolonization, commodity fetishism, and interconnectivity. Jessica’s work has been shown at a variety of venues including Target Gallery in Alexandria; the Greater Reston Arts Center; The Fridge gallery in Washington, D.C.; Tempus Projects in Tampa, Florida; NoMüNoMü, a Washington, D.C.-based arts collective; Fenwick Gallery at Mason; and the Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery.