Jen Delos Reyes was born in the city of Winnipeg, and educated first in its local music scene of the mid-90’s infused with the energy of Riot grrrl and DIY, and then in its university. [1] How she works today is rooted in what she learned in her formative years as a show organizer, listener, creator of zines, and band member. Graduate work at the University of Regina made the space possible for her to see her work as an organizer as a key component of her continued creative work. 


[1] Credit to Saul Alinsky in form, and for the reminder that often the most formative educational experiences happen outside of the classroom.

Jen Delos Reyes is a creative laborer, educator, writer, and radical community arts organizer. Her practice is as much about working with institutions as it is about creating and supporting sustainable artist-led culture. Delos Reyes worked within Portland State University from 2008-2014 to create the first flexible residency Art and Social Practice MFA program in the United States and devised the curriculum that focused on place, engagement, and dialogue. The flexible residency program allows for artists embedded in their communities to remain on site throughout their course of study.

She worked with the Portland Art Museum from 2009-14 to on a series of programs and integrated systems that allow artists to rethink

what can happen in a museum, and reinvigorate the idea of the museum as a public space.

She is the director and founder of Open Engagement, an international annual conference on socially engaged art that has been active since 2007 and hosted conferences in two countries at locations including the Queens Museum in New York.

She is the author of I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song: How Artists Make and Live Lives of Meaning, a book exploring the artist impetus toward art and everyday life.

Delos Reyes currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she is the Associate Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago.