The Art of Jessica Park


photo of Jessica Park  Jessica Park, 2004 (photograph by Jessica Bonzek)

Established in 2004, the Jessica Park Project at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is a multiyear educational endeavor to study, display and publish the art of Jessica Park. A 2016 Raw Vision article underscored Park’s reputation as an exceptional artist and the role of the Project in promoting her career. Over the past few years the Project has embraced the work of other artists on the autism spectrum as well as those on the broader spectrum of Outsider Art. Click here to view the project's Mission and Purpose.

The Books

Exploring Nirvana: The Art of Jessica Park

Edited by Tony Gengarelly and Adria Weatherbee, this 98 page book is replete with 86 full color illustrations of Park’s art. Along with 26 catalog entries by MCLA students, the book also contains essays from experts in the fields of autism and Outsider Art (including Professor Gengarelly, Clara Claiborne Park and Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass). Oliver Sacks wrote the book’s Foreword. Exploring Nirvana has received critical acclaim and has been distributed through bookstores, museums and online to national and international readers.

A World Transformed: The Art of Jessica Park

This 48 page, fully illustrated art biography written by Tony Gengarelly, edited by MCLA Education Professor Dale Borman Fink with illustrations by Danielle Christensen (MCLA 2011), reveals an artist whose autism and creativity work together to create unusual and extraordinary works of art. Pamala Rogers, Director of the Shield Institute Pure Vision Arts Studio, who contributed the Foreword, sums up the book’s intention: "Many of the artists [on the autism spectrum such as Jessica Park] have led amazing lives. The sheer power and uniqueness of their expression adds greatly to our humanity and helps society advance by breaking down negative stereotypes and misperceptions about people with autism and other disabilities."


Art on the Spectrum

Art on the Spectrum

By Michael McManmon, Ed.D and Tony Gengarelly, Ph.D.

Featured Artsts: 
Michael McManmon 
Jessica Park 
Andrew Novis 
Kevin Hosseini 

Art on the Spectrum inspires and guides us through an exploration of pathways to success.  The book features four case histories of artists with ASD whose struggles and triumphs have left important signposts along the way. From their first lines and color applications, through early training and personal struggles, to recognition as visual artists with viable careers, the book’s four artists blaze their paths into an expanding world of contemporary art. The book also spotlights models of institutional support and other resources available to these artists. Use this link to locate and review the book on KDP Amazon’s website.

Another World: Poetry and Art by Young People

Another World: Poetry and Art by Young People from The Poetry Studio

By Ann and Tony Gengarelly

Another World
This must be another world
far from the blood and the violence
sheltered from pain and death.
Poppy, scarlet chalice
can have nothing to do with our blood-stained newsprint.
These gentle flowers, white-frilled trumpets
have no relation to our drums of war.
The beauty of a purple iris,
tall and stately,
stands unconnected to hate
unshadowed by murder or disease.
The unmarked purity
of a white peony, petals tightly knotted,
shielding leaves beginning
to curl slowly away
is not related to anger or guns,
and the daylilies,
tender golden trumpets,
do not voice 
the harsh call of war.
Hannah Christensen
Written at The Poetry Studio at age 10

“This must be another world.”  These opening lines of Hannah Christensen’s poem introduce us to Another World, an extraordinary book of poetry and art by young people, ages 7 to 16, from The Poetry Studio.

The Poetry Studio, founded in 1995 by Ann Gengarelly, is indeed “another world” that inspires imagination and discovery. These students’ poems, in original and exceptional ways, invite us to remember the creative spirit and the importance of meeting with that part of oneself that is so often neglected. According to prizewinning poet/professor, Bruce Smith: These poems. . . are cracks in the construction, cures for the hurt, color for the bleakness, and challenges to the system.  These poems of love and rage are counterforces to unfeeling and silence.  They are maps to be consulted when navigating the world. . .

The unfettered imagination of the poets is also represented in their compelling drawings and the artful presentation of their writing.  Visual communication as part of the process of creation is integral to their work facilitating a multifaceted expression where word and image often come together in the creation of a work of art.

This book also includes comment and insightful discussion from its authors about their creative process and teaching philosophies. Chard DeNiord, Vermont Poet Laureate, writes the introduction to this very special edition of an aesthetically crafted and compelling anthology of poetry.

Another World is a testament to the wisdom and insight, the joy and compassion expressed by these young poets and artists.


Tony Gengarelly
Director of the Jessica Park Project 
(MCLA Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts)

Jessica Park
Artist and Inspiration for the Jessica Park Project

Paul, Katharine and Rachel Park
Brother and Sisters of Jessica Park

Lisa Donovan
MCLA Professor (Arts Management)

Greg Scheckler
MCLA Professor (Art)

Dale Borman Fink
MCLA  Professor Emeritus (Education)

Laura Christensen

Anna Saldo-Burke
Teacher and Education Specialist, Sullivan School, North Adams

Jamie Franklin
Curator of Collections, Bennington Museum

Renee Bouchard
Artist and Art Educator

Michael McManmon
Founder and Director of the College Internship Program, Pittsfield MA

Ann Oppenhimer
Executive Director, The Folk Art Society of America

Mara Williams 
Curator and Former Director, BMAC