Janeil Engelstad is an artist, curator, educator and producer. Independently and collaboratively, she has produced exhibitions and multiform projects throughout the world. Her creative practice and community advocacy work have often dovetailed into projects that address concerns such as youth and gang violence, homelessness, peace, and ecology. Her process for this work involves embedding herself in communities, extensive research, and building coalitions between universities, government agencies, NGOs, and others. These projects often create a place for individuals and groups who do not have access to art making opportunities or a voice in the media to express their identity, experiences, and points of view.
Engelstad’s work has been exhibited internationally and featured in media outlets, such as Art News, Metropolis, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Timeout Chicago, NBC Nightly News, and NBC Today Show. Visualizing Violence, a national project that addressed youth gun violence, which she co-produced with World Studio Foundation was selected for the prestigious “ID Forty” award, an annual listing of leading innovators in design by ID: The Magazine of International Design. She has received project support from The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, Neiman Marcus, Polaroid Corporation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Central European Foundation, Chicago Public Art Group, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and other foundations and corporations.
In 2010 Engelstad founded Make Art With Purpose (MAP) an organization and virtual resource center for creative projects that are shaping and transforming our world in positive ways. The MAP website is an open-source, interactive, virtual resource center that includes how-to plans for people to replicate similar projects in their own communities. MAP partners with artists, NGOs, scientists, and others to produce projects, exhibitions, conferences, and other public programs that are rooted in consciousness and include ideas for positive environmental and social change.
Engelstad has taught and lectured at universities throughout North America and Europe and in 2006 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. She has a MFA in photography from a joint program between New York University and the International Center of Photography and BAs in English and Political Science from the University of Washington, Seattle.