Jean Parisi

Artist • Teaching • Visual Arts

Jean Parisi is an artist, performer, and educator. For over 35 years she has developed curriculum integrating the arts (visual and performing) with other core subjects, and has taught arts discipline-specific workshops in classrooms throughout the Chicago area. She is an inter-disciplinary artist frequently combining her diverse skills in her residencies, i.e. folktales from around the world come to life in an improvised performance with painted backdrops and original costumes; creating puppets and painting the stage to dramatize history; printmaking, stamping, and collage in handmade books for student creative writing. She explores with her students diverse artists and artmaking processes related to their classroom learning. Jean has led professional development workshops in the arts, inter-disciplinary practices, and collaborative processes for teachers and artists, and has taught Physical Theater at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jean is a performer in the improvised physical tradition of Commedia dell’Arte, presenting her work throughout Chicago, the US, and Italy. She worked with Lionel Bottari on an interactive live call-in children’s television series cablecast for 20 years on CAN TV, including the lively ‘couch potato puppets’. She is a promoter of Italian culture, bringing the Befana tradition to Italian Language programs and presenting traditional puppet shows and cantastorie at cultural festivals. Her illustrations for Bottari’s Folktale series are a monthly feature in the Fra Noi, a national Italian American Magazine.

Jean is a visual artist who exhibits annually at Pilsen Open Studios, creating large-scale site-specific installations. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist’s Fellowship, a Public/Community Service Award from the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education, and several Neighborhood Arts Project grants from the City of Chicago. In 1978 she co-founded the Pros Arts Studio, now known as ElevArte, a community based arts organization in Pilsen where she taught and worked as Executive Director until 2008. Jean Parisi has an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art.


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