Resident Artist Jessica Forrestal

May 26-August 26, 2017
Solo exhibition August 3-25, 2017

Studio open to the public: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 12-5 pm. See the evolution of a sketch at 1 pm every Saturday in June.


Artist Occupied South Gallery welcomes its third resident artist.

The Firehouse Art Center is pleased to announce the third resident artist to take over the South Gallery. After two successful sessions with Heather Kegel (Spring 2016) and Sean Faling (winter 2016) the South Gallery at the Firehouse will once again be transformed into a working artist studio. Starting May 26, Denver resident, Jessica Forrestal will be working Thursday-Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm until the end of her residency on August 25. The Firehouse is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday 12-5 pm.

Jessica Forrestal is a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York, where she received her MFA. She has been exhibiting her work nationally since 2010. Her work was included in the “Artist Showcase” exhibition at the Firehouse in 2013. Her residency includes a solo exhibition August 3-25 of work created during her time as a resident artist.

One of the main goals of the residency is to offer visitors a chance to wander into a working studio, explore, and talk to the artist. Visitors get a first-hand look at an artist at work and with repeated visits can see the work develop and change.

As a former art teacher, Forrestal is excited about the interaction that the residency provides. “I create large-scale, hand-drawn diagrammatic drawings that span the walls and floors of a space. My drawings address concepts of mass-consumerism, biology, and symbolism. Prior to producing the installations, I create numerous small hand drawings on paper and hang them on my studio walls. I look forward to discussions about the drawings prior to installation so I may have the opportunity to push their conceptual content on paper.”

The sketches Forrestal produces are inspired by found items that most of us throw away. She intends to scour the local neighborhoods for inspiration and will happily accept objects of interest from visitors.

Behind her work is a message about our “throw-away society”, citing the phenomenon of throw-away furniture made possible by IKEA. Forrestal comments, “My goal is to present viewers with an opportunity to rethink the manner in which consumers are conditioned. From the way in which one consumes mass-produced objects to the manner in which he or she consumes art. Through the use of humor, I hope my drawings can ignite curiosity and interest to look at the world through a different lens; considering the impact of consumption on others and the environment.”

In addition to studio space, visitor feedback and a solo exhibition, artists participate in peer-oriented critiques, and enjoy exposure at Firehouse events. Thanks in part to the support of the Can’d Aid Foundation, resident artists also receive a stipend.

In 1986, the first artists started creating within the walls of the Firehouse and we see this program as both a return to the initial impulse as well as a response to a community need. Studio space for artists–emerging or established—is often hard to find and costly. For the general community, the creative process is often a bit of a mystery and not understood. The Artist Occupied South Gallery provides a unique interaction between artist and viewer, while providing the artist an opportunity to thrive.

Curator: Jessica Kooiman Parker,, 605.939.1008