[image-1]Jessie Bower is one of the profiles in our cover story for this week, on the subject of giving in recognition of National Philanthropy Week. The idea here is there are many people — often very young people — who have the ability to go into the private sector, to become lawyers and accountants and such, but who decide to serve, usually on the cash-strapped staffs of nonprofits. My purview is, obviously, is the arts — and an arts group gunning for profit is a rare bird.
The thing about Jessie is that she’s determined. You discern that within five minutes of talking to her. She conceived a vision of her life from a very early age and she has doggedly realized that vision in a very short period of time. She’s done a bunch of internships, including one with the indie-rock label, K Records. She’s worked with Theatre 99, with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and with Charleston composers’ group, the New Music Collective. Now she’s the education coordinator at the Redux Contemporary Art Center, something she calls her “dream job.” She’s just getting stared: She hasn’t graduated from college yet.
As with most precocious, gifted, and driven people, Jessie has her eccentricities. One I’m aware of is her robots. She told me about them with a mixture of embarrassment and pride. She has a thing for rendering robots in all media — paint, graphite, paper, whatever. She even leaves robots for others to find. She’s the house manager over at Theatre 99. She cashes out the register every weekend. On the backs of receipts she leaves little surprises: “There’s always a little robot in there,” said Brandy Sullivan, co-founder of the theater.
I asked Jessie if she would make a robot for me. She blushed but conceded. I thought she would. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room in the paper for a robot but with this here internet do-dad, there’s room a-plenty. So here you go, a robot just for you, courtesy of Jessie Bower. Get used to them. She’ll be running this place sooner or later. — JS