Pablo Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up"
Nothing could be more true in the case of my journey. My childhood self was a dreamer, a believer and an artist. When I became an adult, life faced me with adversity in many proportions that as a result, meant much of my artistic freedom and identity was lost.
As a little girl, I could watch movies and listen to music, dreaming about how one day I would be an actress and performer living in Hollywood. In 2004, that dream became a reality and I ventured across the other side of the world to do just that. Young, alone, and an immigrant to the country, there was nothing I wanted more than my American Dream. My confidence and determination was at its highest and the image of my future so real I could taste it. The trials and tribulations I survived to obtain my VISA, and the 20 years of experience as a working child actor from a showbiz family had prepared me for what I thought would be an exciting journey. Unfortunately the road paved ahead was far from what I had imagined. Instead of being greeted with my dream, I was challenged by the truth of who I was.
Until recently and my experience through Covid I never really understood how profound this impact was on my existence and my future. For the demons that surfaced within me then, as a woman, artist and creative, inhibited and limited myself from truly realising my potential and stepping into my rightful role that I now have the privilege to stand in. Demons included Self Doubt; Self Sabotage; Fear of Success; Fear of Failure, Body Dysmorphia, #metoo movement; Sexuality identifying as a Bi-Sexual woman; Gender Equality; Mental Health; the importance of Mindset; Battling my Addictions and most importantly Self Worth & Self Esteem. The battles that a true artist and creative must overcome in order for them to really live in their inner child and never be afraid of their imagination, challenges and the unknown.
Now after 18 years of living here in the United States, I look back to who I was and who I am now and I am beyond grateful. For I have battled, and continue to battle, each and every demon to be the best version of myself. Most importantly, so I can live in my inner child's artistic freedom and imagination. That is where true artists belong. Living in a place where anything is possible, and the demons we face build us up to be stronger. If it weren't for my journey to the United States I never would have discovered this. For that I am thankful. This has turned out to be my American Dream. Now its time to give back...
The J.O. Arts Scholarship will be a full year scholarship and mentorship to an artist with a dream. We encourage applicants with entrepreneurial vision and imagination, passion and purpose, most of all applicants who have felt restricted from following their true artistic dreams. Regardless of where you come from or how you identify, this scholarships will be open to any artist located in the Americas & worldwide who is looking to transform their lives and break into the industry.
OPEN TO US & WORLDWIDE APPLICANTS
2024 YOUTH WINNER:
TOTAL VALUE: $5954.00USD
2024 ADULT WINNER:
TOTAL VALUE: $12307.00USD
Living in a John Hughes & Stephen Spielberg world, Jessica is a diverse storyteller in search of adventure & hope. Her professional career began at age 4 as an actor on Australian TV show Richmond Hill, and over 35 years has been an actress/performer and filmmaker on various TV & Film Productions, Theatre & Stage Productions, Music Videos and more. Her vast experience, entrepreneurial skills and dedication to help provide better education practises, positive mental health and creative opportunities for performing artists and filmmakers working in Film, Television & Theatre has led to public speaking, mentoring and hosting to even launching her podcast ArtArtistBiz, which is to be turned into an online talk show for 2025.
Combining an artistic & philanthropic voice with humour, imagination & heart; whilst supporting multiple charities including Focus On Ability Short Film Festival, Special Olympics Australia and the Carmen Duncan Foundation - Jessica has single handedly produced theatre, film, international and nation wide events, competitions, festivals/expos, workshops, shows (including “On Broadway” and Don’t Dis Disabilities Dance Extravaganza”) that support inclusion & diversity within the performing arts. After running multiple businesses including The American Arts Film & Television Academy (AAFTA), Jessica is a leading trailblazer and curator in vocational arts education. Now CEO of Diversity Entertainment/Diversity Pictures and Diversity Creative Management, she's dedicated to innovative projects/stories reflective of inclusive and diverse worlds, whilst representing, mentoring and providing resources for artists and creatives with collaborative opportunities in content creation and productions that span across the USA and Australia and aide in offering education and insight into many business practices including visas & immigration.
Her project success includes “A Death Perspective” selected for ARTISTS EMERGING INITIATIVE with Ermantourage. Associate producer on Australian feature “Unsound” with WiseGoat Productions, winning MELBOURNE QUEER FESTIVAL and rated 3RD FOR TOP 10 AUSTRALIAN FILMS OF 2020, now streaming on NETFLIX. “Enigma” Best Cinematography at COLOUR OF LOVE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Best LGBTQ Film for HOLLYWOOD GOLD with Honourable Mention for Best Director. It also took home awards for writing at SYDNEY WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL and TORONTO INTERNATIONAL WOMENS FILM FESTIVAL. Most recently winning Best Female Director at CANNES WORLDWIDE FILM FESTIVAL and Honourable mention at RED MOVIE AWARDS for “After Roe Falls” plus… Best Director at LOS ANGELES FILM AWARDS for “Starry Eyed”. Jessica also produced Australian Play “Dead Skin” which won Hollywood Fringe ENCORE PRODUCERS AWARD and was nominated for Best International Play and Best Drama in 2022. Her upcoming feature film “Reverie” was a semi-ﬁnalist at SCRIPTAPOOLOOZA and YOUR SCRIPT PRODUCED.
Jessica has recently joined Asteria, a media and production company housing XTR, XTR STUDIOS, DOC + and ROCKWELL MOTION PICTURES. She has a number of projects on her slate for 2024 & 2025 including SPIRAL, REVERIE and ALPHABETAS.