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Jill Wells, an Iowa-based multi-disciplinary artist, advocate, and mentor, brings a truly unique approach to her narrative-driven work. Fueled by lived and shared experiences, her art critically examines accessibility, disability inequality, racism, and history. What sets Wells apart is her innovative use of public art, universal design and multisensory works, particularly tactile objects and Braille. These not only prompt awareness but also provide various levels of access to art for people of all abilities, sparking a new and intriguing conversation in the art world.

As a socially engaged artist, Jill Wells uses her art to dismantle systems of oppression and foster inclusion and community. Her impact is tangible, as seen in her creation of the first multisensory, tactile mural and 3D tactile mural model plaque in Iowa for the Martin Luther King Elementary School in 2023. These works, which can be experienced through touch, sight, and sound, are a testament to her commitment to making art inclusive. The multisensory, tactile mural is a large-scale artwork that incorporates various textures and materials, inviting viewers to engage with it through touch. The 3D tactile mural model plaque is a smaller, portable version of the mural that allows for a more intimate and detailed exploration of the artwork.


As the first artist and fellow of color at The Harkin Institute (2022–23), Wells represented the United States and Iowa on a panel at the United Nations in Austria, advocating for inclusive public arts. Her work is not only represented in public and private collections nationally and internationally but also in the hearts and minds of the community she serves. She operates a full-time art practice and an annual paid youth and young adult mentorship program, ARTIST X ADVOCACY (AXA), which she founded in 2020 to guide the next generation of artists and advocates in Iowa.

"My work explores intersectional social issues of racism, unequal opportunity, disability discrimination, and inaccessible design and seeks solutions in and through art. In creating, I can experience clarity and access the past and the present to increase the quality of life for others, leading to better social integration for others and myself now and into the future. I make paintings, murals, immersive/interactive installations incorporating sound and light, and tactile/touch-based art to prompt dialogue around diversity, accessibility, and unity. I choose to make art more accessible to marginalized audiences through its physical composition, its placement in skywalk systems, public schools, and city buildings, and with narratives of inclusivity and collaboration. My artistic representations of marginalized cultures, populations, and communities are, within themselves, acts of resistance against systems of oppression. Through my practice as an artist, advocate, and mentor, I aspire to dismantle these systems by elevating the power of accessibility through art and exhibiting the social changes that occur as a result."




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