Women’s History Month – Ms. Jessica Maria Hopkins
Women’s History Month
Jessica Maria Hopkins
My name is Jessica Maria Hopkins. I am an artist. I am woman. I am UDC.
Every semester, UDC’s Bookstore was full of anxious students waiting to purchase books and, of course, to grab some quick snacks—my go-to was always a Snickers and graphite pencils. I had two siblings who had attended UDC (the late John A. Hopkins, Esq., graduate of the David A. Clarke School of Law, and Alexcia Hopkins, graduate in Music Education). Their memory and the small yet nurturing campus made my time at UDC feel like home.
Growing up with an amazing mother and father, in addition to eight siblings, has taught me that it truly “takes a village” to be successful. At UDC, I had the pleasure of studying under the late Professor Meredith Rode, in addition to Professor Daniel Venne and Professor George Smith, to name just a few of the gifted instructors in the art program. Art critiques were tough, and painting sessions were endless, but all the feedback nourished my talent and allowed me to discover layers of myself that I did not know existed. With Professor Venne’s support, I was commissioned by the Office of the Registrar to paint some of the brilliant faces that represent UDC. These portraits of my proud classmates are still on display in the Registrar’s office suite. More than a decade later, I still use the lessons and pedagogies of my professors, and I am honored to say they are a part of my village.
After my time at UDC, I went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Howard University. During my second year in the program, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With faith in God and support from my family and friends, I was able to complete my courses on time while receiving treatment.
Like a true UDC Firebird, I rose from the ashes. I use my journey as an African American, a cancer survivor, and a woman to paint my most authentic self.
In 2018 I was commissioned by Founding Farmers to paint historical figure Sally Hemings. My artwork was displayed in “Academy 2018,” Washington, D.C.; “Art Miami,” Miami, FL; “Art on the Vine,” Edgartown, MA; and in publications such as the journal Image and SurfaceMagazine.com.
Currently, I am represented by the Connersmith Gallery here in Washington, D.C., and teach art at a public charter school.
I am an artist. I am woman. I am UDC.