Abstract artist Jessica Wachter was introduced to art in the third grade when her teacher implemented it into the curriculum. She immediately fell in love with the subject and felt as if something clicked inside.

“I wanted to be in any art camp or anything involved with the arts,” Jessica said. “Saturday mornings I’d wake up and go to a local art gallery for art classes when everyone else was sleeping in or watching cartoons.”

Over the years, Jessica began to appreciate different forms of art and even started teaching art to children. She observed that as people got older, they were often hesitant to let their feelings guide the creation of their art, so when working with kids, she encouraged them to explore how they felt when they were creating something rather try to explain and make sense of it.

“I love teaching children art,” Jessica said. “You can give them blank sheets of paper and tell them they don’t have to stay within the lines and they’re not afraid.”

Jessica has a deep appreciation that everyone has an artistic side, whether it manifests through writing, film, song or some other medium. The art of creating is one way to share life experiences, thoughts and emotions.

“It’s a courageous thing to share,” Jessica said.

Being surrounded by 99 other artists at the Celebration of Fine Art has been especially exciting for Jessica, because typically she works alone at her studio in Bismarck, North Dakota. And in her first year at the Celebration of Fine Art, she’s made fast friends and gained mentors.

“You are who you surround yourself with,” Jessica said. “We all have something different to learn and teach. There’s completely different mediums and styles here, and I’ve learned tips and new ways to look at things.”