We Are Nowhere And It's Now, 2010, Headlands Center for the Arts
Jennilie Brewster is an artist who works in various forms and in community. With college students, museum guests, seniors and campers, she's created installations from discarded things. Her Newspaper Series inspired the multi-media theater piece 64 (2012 Spring Artist Lodge, HERE Arts Center, NYC). Her writing on landscape, art and trauma has appeared in Catapult, The Rumpus, Armchair/Shotgun and other places. Her awards include residencies from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Ucross and Djerassi Foundations, Headlands Center for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Vermont Studio Center (2016 Swann Fellowship for a writer who is also a painter).
Jennilie holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2002), an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School at Bard College (2007) and a Foundations Certificate from the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (2015).
Through her training with NYZCCC, Jennilie volunteered at Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center on Roosevelt Island. At Coler she connected with a group of gun violence survivors. In 2015 she started a writing workshop for these individuals who wanted to share their stories with young people. The workshop evolved into the arts-and-justice initiative OPEN DOORS NYC. During her tenure as director, OPEN DOORS published a poetry anthology, produced a play, released an album, began work on a documentary film, and generated many other creative projects and events around gun violence prevention, community building and disability justice.
Jennilie has been recognized for her community leadership by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Congressperson Carolyn Maloney. She's a producer on the film Fire Through Dry Grass which documents OPEN DOORS members (aka the Reality Poets) harrowing year on lockdown inside their NYC nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic. The film's supporters include the Sundance Documentary Fund, Just Films Ford Foundation, Field of Vision, Fork Films, IDA Enterprise and Working Films. Fire will have its broadcast premiere on PBS in Fall 2023.
Jennilie grew up on a farm in Maryland. She lived in NYC for 23 years and is now based in Ithaca, NY.