Jessica GarzProgram Officer, Thriving Cultures – With Surdna since February 2013

Jessica Garz is a Program Officer for Thriving Cultures at the Surdna Foundation. In this role, Jess collaborates with colleagues in philanthropy and those on the ground, to support artists, architects and designers working towards imagining, and creating, more just and sustainable communities.

Prior to joining the foundation, Jess was a member of Transforma, a collective that supported artists and cultural practices that impacted the social and physical environment, and assisted with research projects at the Urban Institute, a policy think-tank based in Washington DC.

Jess has often worked directly with artists in contexts beyond the traditional cultural sector, and is generally interested in the intersection, and tension, between the pragmatic and poetic aspects of cultural work. Jess is grateful that through her current role at Surdna, and her adjunct teaching position at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, she can continue to explore such interests.

Jess completed a graduate degree in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her studies were primarily motivated by her experiences in New Orleans working with artists, planners, residents, and community-based organizations during the post-Katrina recovery process.

Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.