New Semester, New Students: Meet Jen Ferry


As another semester approaches, we prepare to embark on another 4-month journey with new members of the LEAP family! The first course all LEAP students must complete is LEAP 500 – Leadership in the Arts, which covers theoretical and applied knowledge about concepts of leadership. The course serves as a foundation for the program, teaching students different leadership styles as applied to arts related organizations and encouraging them to explore their own leadership style as they prepare for a new career in the arts.

The 2019 Spring semester cohort includes individuals from all artistic backgrounds. Meet Jen Ferry, a former graphic designer, self-taught painter and mixed media artist. She’ll be attending the program online from Rhode Island where she lives with her family. When chatting about the program, Jen already had a very insightful view of leadership. She explained “most people think a leader is a person who takes charge by telling others what to do, but I find the opposite, a good leader listens to others then acts on their recommendations.”

Jen received her BA in Journalism at Arizona State University. After graduating she started working for a publication, only to realize that she truly enjoyed working on the design of the newspaper layout as opposed to writing the articles. Therefore, she went back to school at Collins College in Tempe, Arizona to receive her Associates Degree in Graphic Design. She worked for several years at ad agencies in and around Boston before starting her own freelance business. In her free time she taught herself how to paint and is now an exhibiting artist that shows her work throughout Rhode Island.

Pears by Jen Ferry

However, despite her success, Jen continued to crave more from the art field — she wanted to find “her tribe”. In 2016, she was elected to the Art League Rhode Island’s Board of Directors. When the president’s term ended that year, she volunteered to fill the role.

“As an nonprofit arts organization without staff,” she explained, “the board president was essentially the Executive Director. With the board members so accepting of my leadership style, I gained the confidence to know that I wanted to take a larger role that would influence how the arts affect our culture. My mission is twofold, advocacy for artists and public appreciation for the arts.”

Therefore, when the Executive Director job came up at the South County Art Association, she applied. Although she wasn’t awarded the position, she was hired as the Assistant Director shortly thereafter, which she will continue to work while attending LEAP. She hopes her degree will propel her into a nonprofit arts organization Executive Director position that she knows she is capable of!

Although LEAP students come from all different artistic and professional backgrounds, one thing they all tend to have in common is the drive to take the wheel and steer their lives in the direction they want. Sometimes you don’t know you’re good at something until you try it — until you take the LEAP!

Robin’s Egg Nest by Jen Ferry