For as long as she can remember, Jennifer Kennedy has been interested in art. However, her trip to UTSA’s art program took a circuitous route.

Initially, the Hawaii native moved to California and began working in the film industry. She started at the bottom as a production assistant, “also known as a coffee gopher,” she adds, laughing. But eventually she rose in the ranks to location manager.

However, shortly thereafter, Kennedy left show business and enrolled in a community college in Mission Viejo, California. Unsure of a major, the decision became clear after she took a beginning drawing class.

“The class was just so amazing,” she recalls. “And the stuff I was producing – I was so surprised that that could happen, because I had never taken any instruction before. So I chose art as my major from that one class.”

After a year in Mission Viejo, Kennedy came to UTSA to begin her degree. Set to graduate in May, Kennedy has been working diligently on her Honors College Capstone Project, an untitled sculpture that will be on display at the UTSA Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Showcase, to be held April 24.

“Every year the Honors College puts on a symposium of the thesis projects, but this year they’ve decided to combine forces with this colloquium.”

Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research Dr. Donovan Fogt created the showcase to help develop new relationships between research students in different colleges.

“I like to include sculpture and the interaction of space and the people who are viewing the work to become a part of the work itself.”

More than just an expo for Kennedy’s art, the showcase has a direct connection with her sculpture’s focus.

“I like the idea of breaking the boundary of the fourth wall, which is much more of a film term, but that still somewhat exists with art when you think of museums and moving in and out of exhibits.”

Aside from sharing her work with other research students, Kennedy hopes to gain valuable lessons from the showcase. “I think it’s all preparation for the same types of experiences you hope to expect in your professional life. It seems like a good preparation for considering the next step.”

Drawings and sculptures are not the only media Kennedy works with. She loves to paint and has created an impasto representation of UTSA’s Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute’s logo. In addition to the untitled sculpture that will be exhibited at the showcase, Kennedy will also display a couple of paintings.

“I’m excited because it’s a whole series of works, and they’re going to be part of the UTSA collections,” she said. “That’s such a huge honor and I’m so grateful to the president’s office for approving that.”

Despite her love of painting, her works will not be sold in stores specializing in home decor.

“(My art) is not just about creating a work of art for aesthetic pleasure purposes,” she said. “The work that I do is intended to communicate deeply and not be simply a decoration to a space.”

In addition to her artwork, Kennedy has also received several scholarships and is a member of the Honors College, Honors Alliance and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Kennedy’s sculpture and paintings will be in the H-E-B UC building April 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following the showcase, the sculpture will hang in the atrium of UTSA’s Applied Engineering and Technology building. For more information on Kennedy and her art, check out her website at jakennedyart.com.

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