Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community
Member Spotlight: Jessica Kincaid
by Samantha McCall, Kansas City Women in Technology
If you’ve ever attended a Coding and Cocktails workshop or Tech Talk presentation, you know the women involved with Kansas City Women in Technology are subject matter experts in many aspects of technology. But for a lot of them, that’s just one aspect of their lives.
Jessica Kincaid is one of those multifaceted women who makes KCWiT such a dynamic organization. In addition to being a Coding and Cocktails mentor and LaunchCode student, Jessica is a Resident Artist in the Charlotte Street Foundation Studios and a part-time instructor in the Continuing Education Arts program at Johnson County Community College.
Through Jessica’s association with Charlotte Street, her works “Day” and “Night” are currently displayed on the double-sided Mobank Artboards located at 125 Southwest Boulevard. These billboards have rotated Kansas City-area artists’ work approximately every three months since 2008. Jessica’s work will be on display there through February 2019.
Jessica was inspired to create “Day” and “Night” by her developer work. Here’s a brief excerpt from her project narrative:
“I matched keywords in the code with colored areas on the screen. When I tested my code, the shapes moved in relation to each other. Red shapes positioned themselves near the top of the screen, and the blue ones often deferred to the other shapes. I began to internalize the logic while doodling with the code.”
On her website, jessicakincaid.com, she includes videos, images, and commentary that help explain how she interprets technology. “Artists often are attuned to changes in culture, and as in insider in tech I am observing those things,” Jessica says.
The Mobank billboards are just one of Jessica’s recent exhibits. Her beadwork was displayed at the Oak Park branch of the Johnson County Library in December 2018. Jessica was also featured in the FlatFiles Exhibition at H&R Block Artspace in tandem with last year’s Open Spaces project, which brought together the works of local and national artists in a variety of cultural, mixed-media installation and cutting-edge performance.
Given Jessica’s extended association with technology (she recalled her first web page in 1996 featured blue text on a magenta background), it’s not surprising that her art reflects her dev side. Jessica’s road to becoming a developer has included earning a web development certificate from JCCC. She also took Experience Design and CompTIA A+ courses, which gave her the opportunity to work with hardware and piqued her interest in incorporating physical computing in her art as the next stage beyond working with digital imagery.
Retaining a creative outlet is one piece of advice Jessica would give women of any age considering a development-oriented education or career. “If I wake up in the morning and I can’t remember what I dreamed because I was using all my brain to internalize a new programming language, then I get concerned,” Jessica says.
While some tech insiders insist that becoming a good developer requires absolute code immersion in every aspect of your life, Jessica attributes her success and longevity in the field to just the opposite. “Make sure you keep your mind and body flexible, through exercise and taking in art and culture; have a variety of activities in your life,” Jessica says. She adds, “Writing code and solving problems is a creative activity, and everyone needs time for dreaming.”
With her successes in teaching, technology, and art, Jessica seems to be on the right track.