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Interact Gallery
755 Prior Avenue North
Saint Paul, MN
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This is a Picture that Janice Made: Solo exhibition by Janice Essick highlights the painter’s seventeen-year career at Interact

 Creating art that challenges perceptions of disability.

 Interact is pleased to present This is a Picture that Janice Made, the first solo exhibition by Janice Essick (b. 1958), a painter whose deeply emotive work captures the vigor and resolve of her subjects. Essick, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has practiced at Interact since 2005. Drawn from personal history as well as invention Essick’s work is simultaneously boundless and expressive, intimate and compelling. She is an ardent recorder of people, both in groups and alone, showing dramatic faces and personal style. Working intuitively and incessantly, Essick adds layers of medium until a piece looks right. In the studio, she surrounds herself with reference books, markers, and paints, a spread of images and media to choose from. 

Essick, who identifies as a Black woman, includes in the exhibition excerpts from a series of drawings that she made in Summer 2020, responding to the murder of George Floyd. Her paintings of men in orange clothing and tan uniforms revisit the artist’s personal experience in Milwaukee years ago, where she survived police brutality. n, her paintings of women, men, horses, cityscapes, and color compose a personal iconography that spans her seventeen-year career at Interact. This is a Picture that Janice Made features 35 drawings and paintings from her extensive archive.

Alongside these scenes of violence and social unrest, Essick inserts moments of hope. Riders and horses represent liberation, a rider being untouchable by the police. Images of people on horseback and portraits of horses also hold personal significance: years ago, when she lived in Wisconsin, Essick loved to ride a horse named Pony.

Essick paints fearlessly and hopes that viewers will feel “happy, pretty, and all of that” when experiencing her work. “I think I did a good job,” she says of the exhibition. “I hope people like it.”

Interact Gallery

755 Prior Avenue North, Suite #002D

Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

(651) 756-1246


About Interact Center for Visual & Performing Arts

Interact is a progressive visual arts studio and theater company whose work challenges perceptions of disability. Since 1996, Interact has worked to advance the recognition of over 120 professional working artists, uniting disparate artistic identities, abilities, and backgrounds in the spirit of radical inclusion.


Interact strives to make its programs a welcoming and accessible experience for all.  If there is something that we can do to make it easier to experience an exhibition, please contact us at . We welcome all suggestions and requests.

Accessibility Notice

Our website has been optimized to be fully accessible to every person. If you’re having trouble using this site, please email Advancement Director Raleigh Wolpert at or call 651-209-3575.

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