Meet 2018 Artfest Featured Artist Jes McMillan

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Meet 2018 Artfest Featured Artist Jes McMillan

Meet 2018 Artfest Featured Artist Jes McMillan
by Samantha Mang, ArtFest Co-chair

The Dayton art scene has been exploding over the past few years in both the city and suburbs. The 3rd annual ArtFest of the Miami Valley will bring us "CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS".

Meet 2018 Artfest Featured Artist Jes McMillan

Beavercreek’s Community Park is home to ArtFest of the Miami Valley, a festival dedicated to bringing awareness and appreciation for the local art scene. Each year the public is invited to nominate local artists who are dedicated to enhancing the community in which we live through art.  This year the committee received nominations for many talented and worthy artists. One artist received multiple nominations recognizing her artistic abilities as well as her continuous involvement and dedication to enriching our community through sharing her creative mind and strong leadership skills.

The Committee is delighted to announce Jes McMillan as ArtFest’s 2018 Featured Artist. I had the pleasure of meeting with Jes to discuss her many endeavors to improve the community that we call home. 

Born in Columbus, Jes has proudly called Dayton home since she was five. As we discussed her passion for her city, she fondly recalled many memories of living in Dayton.  Jes recalled the first time she cut glass for a high school art project.  Her first project didn’t pan out the way she had envisioned and she felt driven to try again.  This drive led her to her first 2ft x 4ft mosaic.  Her experience of cutting, grinding and laying glass to create mosaics sealed the deal for Jes’ blossoming career in the arts.

Jes attended The Art Institute of Pittsburg earning a degree in Industrial Design and Engineering.  She was quickly offered a position representing her school working booths at festivals and teaching people to create mosaic coasters.  She went on to direct a large summer camp with the YMCA, before deciding it was time to return home to Ohio.

Back in Dayton, Jes continued to create her own work and accepted a position at K-12 & TEJAS Gallery where she headed a community mosaic project.  The large collaborative project took over a year to complete.  It was during this project that Jes feels her career as an artist shifted towards fostering community through art.  “You can do basically anything if you join people together, and art is a really great way to do that.”

Jes is the founder of Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton. MI is currently working on painting a mural on the Keowee and First Street train overpass.  This mural welcomes folks to the East Dayton Art District.  Jes and her fellow artists are dedicated to branding the East Dayton Art District in order to create awareness of the local talent in the area.   Their goal is to support economic growth and a sense of community, through art. “My heart is definitely with the community,” says Jes.

Jes recently received a grant and a group of volunteers from UpDayton to kick-start a community mosaic project named “The Wall of Perseverance.”  The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the Dayton’s opioid crisis and honor those our community has lost to this tragic epidemic.  Jes will once again collaborate with community members, inviting those whose lives have been impacted to join in. 

Crane Studio Market, currently comprised of 13 artist studios, celebrated its first birthday August 11th. Jes opened the space last year with the intention of grouping like-minded artist together.  Jes works on both community and individual projects in Mosaic Institute's space inside Crane Studio Market.  Her future plans include getting her work into galleries and to continue growing as an artist.  For now (and I suspect for a long time to come), her heart and passion belong to Dayton.  Jes’ fierce enthusiasm for establishing community through her many endeavors is what lead the ArtFest committee to honor her as this year’s featured artist.   Be sure to visit Jes at her booth where you can congratulate her and shop her artwork.   You can learn more about what she is up to by visiting   

ArtFest is about bringing a love for art and all things creative to the community in an interactive fashion. Over 40 local artists and artisans will showcase a wide variety of methods. Artists’ spend much time, skill, and energy creating many types of art that will be available to observe and purchase. Enjoy a variety of opportunities to get hands-on and create.  With live music and performances all day, you can expect to be entertained, while you shop and visit with local artists.  Please join us September 16, 2018, from 11 AM-6 PM to shop, create, and meet local artists and congratulate Jes McMillian on her achievements.