Window Artist Feature with Jennalee Whiting
When you look at the outside of our building, the first thing you notice are the beautiful painted windows. We had originally thought of showcasing our events, programs, and general marketing, however we wanted to make sure it was something the public could enjoy. What better way than to activate the space by working with local artists to create vibrancy and a piece of art for all to enjoy. Our first installation is Olourcay Ibevay and was created by Jennalee Whiting and below is her story.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Well, my name is Jennalee Whiting and my favorite color is neon red. The hue runs deep. It has the tendency to find its way into most of my paintings. I love hip-hop and alternative dance music. Um, dogs for sure. A lot. DIYs, art, traveling west, Earth, space and puns are totally my jam. I’m a born and raised Rochesterite who married a born and raised Rochesterite. Go Rockets. We have two kids – a 4 month old human child named Driver and a rescued fur child named Gretzky. They are the bee’s knees, and if you let me, I could probably talk about them for a while.
We know you have a passion for art, but what made you want to get involved with this project specifically?
So, I am a closet creator. Those that know me know I can make a few things. But, I’m a bit shy too. When the project to paint the window came about, I thought it would be a great opportunity to step outside a little and wave. And now I’m here out in the open. Hi there! That aside, I also wanted to be a part of Rochester’s growing arts community. The city is brimming with talent. Being a part of that and leaving a colorful mark in town for someone else to enjoy puts a big smile on my face. Another component of my mini creations is maintaining a sense of child-like wonder. Do you remember what the world around you was like when you were a kid? It was the best, wasn’t it? I want my art to make you feel similar to scoring a snow day (PTO for the rest of us). Giddy and fun.
You mentioned the growing arts community, but why do you think it’s important to have art in the heart of Downtown Rochester?
I think there are a few answers to this question. First off, I could argue that art is almost as crucial as breathing. The thing about Rochester is the majority of traffic Downtown are people traveling to Mayo Clinic from all over seeking treatment and answers. Art has a healing component to it. These displays are a therapeutic way to take the focus off what is happening behind clinic walls, and focus on the beauty that surrounds them. Second and simply put, art is created to evoke feelings. It gives people the ability to target their emotions and pour them into a work of art. Because everyone is unique, and no two people are the same, having various types of mediums and art styles splashed throughout Rochester will reach more of the community. And the more people it reaches, the more impactful it becomes.
Olourcay Ibevay is an interesting name; how did you come up with it?
I came up with color vibe from the feeling I get when engaging in Downtown Rochester events. It’s a fantastic melding of unique individuals, gathering together and being there for the exact same reason – to have fun. There’s some solid vibing going on, and aren’t we all a little colorful in one way or another? It was only fitting to pay homage to my childhood growing up here in Rochester by adding a Pig Latin twist.
Your art is very playful and fun; what inspires you?
“You can be serious when you’re dead.” A direct quote from me, that I just made up. But I totally believe it. There will always be sad stories and somber times in our world. It’s human nature, unfortunately. I guess I would rather create something that makes people feel happy and good, even for a moment, rather than focusing on the darker things. There’s enough of that in the world. Every once in a while you gotta toss something uplifting into the mix.