We Are Nowhere And It's Now, 2010, Headlands Center for the Arts
Jennilie Brewster grew up on a farm in Maryland and became an artist in New York City and the open spaces of Nebraska, Nevada, Wyoming and California. Intrigued by our individual and collective processes of culling meaning from the wreckage of our pasts, she has collaborated with communities on artwork made from discarded things and stories. Her paintings and installations have been shown in galleries and museums; her Newspaper Series was featured in the theater piece 64, which she produced for the 2012 Spring Artist Lodge at HERE Arts Center in New York City; her writing on landscape, art and trauma has appeared in literary magazines, such as Catapult, The Rumpus and Armchair/Shotgun.
In 2019 her New York State Assembly member recognized Jennilie as a "Woman of Distinction" for her work with OPEN DOORS, the arts-and-justice initiative she launched in 2016—to invest in the creativity and leadership of Black and brown people who use wheelchairs and inspire action for safer, more just communities. Jennilie is producing a documentary film about OPEN DOORS members' survival and activism inside a New York City nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic. The film has received grants from Field of Vision, Fork Films, IDA Enterprise and Working Films. It will appear on PBS in 2023.
For her painting, writing and curating, Jennilie has been awarded fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center and the Ucross, Djerassi and Puffin Foundations, among others. She 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).
For the last ten years, she has been writing a memoir that weaves together scenes from her traumatic adolescence with her experiences as an adult artist exploring the natural and industrial landscapes of the American West.