Jessica Borusky is UNF’s new gallery director and instructor in Art, Art History, and Design in the College of Arts and Sciences. Borusky has a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies through the MIT Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium. Currently teaching Gallery Practices, Borusky is working with the department on other courses that reflect a diverse background in arts and social justice, queer-feminist art and theory, new media in art, and arts administration.
Get to Know Jessica Borusky
What research are you doing?
As a curator and educator, what is unique to my position is that it is praxis: what I research within the field can be materialized on campus, benefiting the campus and local community, student learning initiatives, artistic research and practice. As a writer, I am working on how to navigate writing art reviews and interviews during a time in which experiential practices have changed so drastically during the pandemic, and the socio-economic, cultural and racial issues in our nation are newly highlighted. As an artist, I am beginning research on a project connecting the Florida housing crisis from the 2000s, to housing schemes in South Florida from the turn of the 20th century, to memoir and queer theory dealing with domesticity.
What’s one thing in your field of study that people might not know?
While the field is certainly capitalist-driven (who pays for what to be seen and circulated, for example), the methods, practices, and engagement within art are quite prismatic. In short, there are many art worlds: many ways to cultivate cultural practice, work within different organizational approaches to art, myriad forms of audience engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration. Art is not a fixed and dislocated field; it is a product, and reflection, of a rich assemblage of its current conditions ― a thick and detailed tapestry of influences, forms, reactions/responses, identifications, media, politics and history. Art engages the simultaneity of the corners of a/the world in which the work was made and shown, alongside and within the viewers’ present condition and all the externalities that envelop them.
What is your personal philosophy?
“What you pay attention to grows” is a quote from writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown. Recently, this thought has enmeshed itself into, not only an understanding of my personal resilience, but as a consideration for my academic and creative practices. For, this action can materialize through negative or positive forces ― it can be applied to ways in which we try to improve ourselves, learn, grow; show empathy and compassion toward ourselves and others; examine the world around us. In an economy that buys and sells our attention at rapid pace, this idea becomes critical and vital to our personal and collective capacities.
What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate?
Advice a mentor offered me: When you sail, you may understand you have a destination, but you never get there in a straight path. Rather, in order to achieve this task, you must work with your vessel and realize that you will ebb and flow, you will ride with and against the tide, you will capsize, you will have to cut back and forth ― zigzag ― in order to keep moving toward that destination; at times, your journey will feel cyclical, circular, not linear. As long as you know your destination (your purpose) and you work with your vessel (your toolbox, resilience, resources within and around you) you will reach the space/place you need to.